WORKPLACE TRENDS #8: ENERGIZE YOUR WORKSPACE
HR Project Manager | Sr. Recruiter
As your talent pool begins to change with an influx of new generations of workers, it’s time to also examine your company’s workspace. Employees want flexible furniture, a distraction-free environment, privacy areas, and lounge areas. This decentralization is what employees desire to create a seamless work-life balance. By 2020 the average amount of workspace per employee will shrink to 150 square feet down from 400 square feet in 1985. The pervasive presence of technology, social media, generational preferences, globalization, and collaborative thinking are driving the need for multi-faceted office spaces that give employees options on where to work and collaborate. Let’s examine some key office space trends that can keep you and your employees moving forward.
Some refer to this as the open-office design concept – large open spaces with large workable desks, no cubicles, and multiple people sharing one collaborative area. Tech leaders like Google, Dropbox, and Apple have found that innovation and productivity is best when employees are working as a group. These open spaces promote a broader sense of community and encourage innovation.
Energizing Ideas – Informal lounge areas, utilize vertical space with whiteboards, encourage spur of the moment thinking by using glass and windows as a place to jot down ideas. Place small lounge chairs and tables near each of these workgroups to allow impromptu group meeting areas.
Utilizing open collaboration spaces will generate the need for the intricacies and details of work to be taken into smaller more private areas. These spaces will allow impromptu and confidential meetings to take place in real-time. These spaces are less formal than conference rooms, and are more readily accessible to all employees.
Energizing Ideas – Create pods with glass enclosures, comfortable furniture, and easy access. Carry your brand and ideas by naming or theming these spaces with nomenclature of your company, or inspirational thinking. Design each pod with colors and textures that promote these ideas.
Most people tend to leave their personal nature at home for a more formal representation of themselves. This has traditionally been perceived as more professional, but this can ultimately smother creativity. Creativity is at its peak when a high level of comfort is achieved. Playfulness can break down barriers of shyness, self-consciousness, and bring all personality types onto a level playing field. The goal is to allow employees to recharge their batteries while at work. Statistically this has shown that employee productivity will increase if they have a chance to break-away occasionally from their daily tasks. Larger companies have gone as far as installing basketball courts, sand volleyball, and indoor playgrounds, but there are other ways small companies can offer these recharge stations.
Energizing Ideas – Soften your dress code to allow employees to express their comfortable nature. Design an open community area for eating and mingling. Stock a kitchen and pantry with healthy snacks and beverages. Dedicate a small space to a pinball machine, video play area, or Ping-Pong table. Create a bar-top area with pub-style stools to encourage sharing of meals, drinks, and laughter.
Let’s face it – we would all rather be outside on a beautiful day and not trapped in our office. In creating an extraordinary workspace, an employee’s satisfaction may be increased by very basic needs like an abundance of natural lighting, landscape and plants. Exposing employees to natural elements can improve efficiency by as much as 12%, due to these elements in the workplace.
Energizing Ideas – Transform exterior walls with floor to ceiling windows. Use natural accents like mosaics, reclaimed wood and raw materials. Add large trees and live plants throughout the space. Create space for potted plants at every work area. Create a “living” green wall. If possible, transform an exterior area into a small oasis or park that is easily accessed.
PROMOTE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Employees feel inspired and encouraged when they are surrounded with reminders of not only the achievements of their company, but of their own individual or team efforts. Highlighting successful products or achievements throughout the workspace fosters pride and confidence in your employees. Keeping success stories visual within a workspace will drive innovation, creative thinking, and continued achievement.
Energizing Ideas – Encourage employees to personalize their space with a sense of identity and ownership. Transform team areas or workspaces to reflect the attitude and playfulness of their group. Display handcrafted art from your employees or a local children’s school or center. Offer a craft room where employees can be creative and allow them to display their creations.
Although there is considerable time and money that needs to be invested to make a transformative change, infusing some of these concepts into the human interaction of your employees may quickly payoff with increased productivity, employee happiness, and ultimately profit.
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