Does the Design Of Your Office Space Really Matter?

In today's competitive job market, employers are seeking new ways to recruit the top talent, while also retaining their current employees. Redesigning your workplace to provide flexible workspaces that meet the needs of employees at different levels is challenging companies everywhere.

Employees are looking for a workspace that is flexible and allows them different options on how and where to work. It's important for companies to include open spaces, while also creating some heads down areas where employees can work independently. The movement towards an open-concept office space is causing companies to reevaluate how their offices are designed and what type of workers they want to attract and retain.

Companies are moving towards adding more collaborative environments, which could include creating gathering spaces instead of cafeterias, and coffee bars instead of a coffee machine. Health and wellness is also a big draw for employees–we're seeing more wellness and fitness spaces being added to office redesigns. Many of our clients are saying that the working environment is just as important as salary and benefits to their employees.

Fitness and wellness spaces are just one of the amenities being added to office redesigns.

Three Key Elements in a Productive Workspace

1. Acoustics

The sounds and noises in the office can have an impact on an employee's productivity. Creating an environment where employees feel comfortable sitting close to others and hearing coworkers talk is not a negative per se, but it's important to also provide quiet, heads-down places to work. Adding a white noise system can be beneficial in creating the right acoustic environment.

2. Technology

Technology can be one of the biggest factors in creating a productive workspace. Designers can create great collaborative workspaces in an office, but if it isn't a smart space, no one will use it. With so many different spaces to work, it's essential for employees to be mobile with their technology and devices throughout the workplace in order to be productive and utilize all of the smart spaces.

3. Lighting and Access to Daylight

Lighting and access to daylight in the workplace is one area employers might not realize is an important element for employees. Creating space where people have views to the outside and access to natural light makes a difference in their performance. Indirect lighting for heavy computer and monitor use should be thought through carefully. We encourage leadership to consider moving private offices to the center of their space, and away from the perimeter in order to use the areas near windows for workstations, collaboration, or huddle spaces.

Companies are moving towards creating smart spaces where employees can gather and collaborate.

Companies are moving towards creating smart spaces where employees can gather and collaborate.

Challenges Companies Face

As the generations in the workplace are changing, it's causing a shift in the perception of what an effective office space looks like. It's vital for leadership to understand the benefits of what good workplace design can do for both the company and staff. If employees are satisfied with their work environment, they're likely to be more productive and excited about what they're working on. Generally when companies offer varied workspaces, they are creating a workplace that gives them an edge over their competition.

Additionally, capital investment in their workplace is a challenge companies are also facing. It may not be feasible to completely renovate the office from the ground up. Adding some elements of color and branding to the space, and refreshing the furniture are viable options to consider.

Creating spaces with natural light and access to daylight for employees makes a difference in productivity.

Creating spaces with natural light and access to daylight for employees makes a difference in productivity.

It remains to be seen how the push-back to completely open office space is impacting the workplace. We hear complaints about the noise (note the influx of headphone usage) and how the wide-open spaces are detrimental to productivity. Your company culture should dictate how to manage creating an environment that is right for your business. We believe understanding our clients' goals and expectations will drive the design success of their workplace.

  • Tracy Coker
    Tracy Coker
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