Office spaces are almost as important as who is actually in the office because it can affect productivity, creativity and the health of your employees. So finding the right balance between work and play is pivotal. The office needs to be functional more than anything. It may look great to have all ‘stand-up’ desks, but employees will eventually get tired of standing and lose the creativity you’re trying to inspire. However introducing stand-up meeting rooms for 20-minutes-or-less meetings only is likely to provoke fresh, engaging ideas and give employees mini-breaks from sitting down.
When you’re designing an office space it’s good to consult your employees. Ask them what they do and don’t want, what would be best for them and for how they work. Involving new employees in design is also a great way to spark future collaborations. If employees work together to create their own workspace, they’ll have something in common already.
Shared areas are the best way to encourage teamwork. A square office with a round ‘coffee hub’ in the middle, complete with worktops and plug sockets, is a sure fire way to get people engaged and talking. It also gets employees moving. Sitting in one spot for 4 hours can suck the creativity out of some people, so let employees wander and change their workspace frequently. Why work at a desk from 9 to 5 when you could work in a cosy pod for 2 hours, stand for 30 minutes and then set up shop in a repurposed storage container? Why work inside when it’s sunny and you’ve got a roof garden? It’s all re-energising, re-invigorating and different!
Not only does layout of an area affect employees’ productivity and efficiency there are plenty of other factors to consider. Light, colours, plants and spatial design can all be points for change and while you don’t have to think of everything but it’s good to cover the most important bases. Let’s take light for example. Do you work better in a dark, dingy room or an open room with a high-ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows? The correct amount of light can be the difference between creative genius and stagnant ideas.
The style and colour of an office is also conducive to good work, especially when there’s a playful element. The kind of ‘wow, have you seen this?’ conversation that any employees can spark up with each other encourages creativity through group bonding and an eventual lack of self-consciousness, freeing people up to volunteering new ideas.
Combining styles such as industrial rooms featuring exposed brickwork with neon, textured wall installations can be a fab way to inject a fun, youthful feel into a workspace. It works with just about any style! Try combining kitsch or vintage meetings tables with modern chairs to accentuate and highlight the differences in both, it’s a cool talking point too. If you’re not sold on that, try angular, geometric patterns on every wall and place contrasting rounded desks and chairs near by.
The easiest way to re-create your office workspace is to stick with pale coloured walls and go crazy for colours of desks, chairs, posters, and even pens, post-it notes and coffee cups! The contrasting colours will bring fresh, vibrant air and a new motivation and drive to your workforce.