Driving office productivity rates upwards is a major priority for businesses large and small, and in recent years optimised office design has increasingly been used to leverage the true potential of employees.
But it is not as simple as moving two desks together, or requiring executives to sit opposite their line managers. It is a complex equation, and one that requires creativity, flexibility, vision and a little bit of science to crack.
The focus on re-evaluating office layout also comes at a time when the atmosphere businesses are creating within their offices is shifting.
While they remain a place of work and professionalism, they are morphing into creative hubs with fluid working areas where colleagues connect both in-person and via laptops/smartphones and social media platforms. In short, they are becoming more fun. Businesses are living organisms and each one has a unique culture, set of values, ways of working and people and personalities within them.
The space you create has to fit the business and also the people in it.
According to the University of Warwick, happy employees are 12% more productive. So how do you keep your employees motivated and happy? These are the key things to consider:
Recreation areas are becoming increasingly important. Employers are filling these ‘break out’ spaces with soft furnishings, sofas and beanbags to help employees take a few minutes out of their day to switch off physically and mentally.
Some of the world’s most successful companies are famous for their creative breakout areas. The Google office in London is home to the ‘Velourmptious’ room, a floor to ceiling velour padded snug. Deliveroo’s new London office is also filled with a number of ‘quiet zones’.
Google believes their perks are part of the innovation process and help keep an employee loyal to the company.
Nelson Mattos, Vice President for Product and Engineering said: “We hire the brightest and best engineers in the UK and put them together in a highly creative, relaxed and exciting environment. We don’t see these perks as distractions. They’re a fundamental part of the innovation process here.”
If you invest in a breakout zone, you should see an improvement in employee satisfaction, productivity and social interactions.
Stimulate the senses of your employees with colour. Research has shown that the colour you paint your office can have a huge impact on the way your employees feel.
The most productive colour depends on the nature of the work involved. Colour psychologist Angela Write explains that the level of intensity matters too: “a strong bright colour will stimulate, and a colour with low saturation will soothe.”
If you are a design office, for example, a bright yellow will enhance creativity while for accountancy firms blue can help employees concentrate on all those numbers.
Over the past few years, more and more research has gone into the connection between nature and our well-being, leading to many trying to bring the outside in, especially in the workplace.
Maximising natural light, purchasing indoor plants and taking meetings outside will make a huge difference to your employees’ moods. Don’t worry if you work in the middle of a busy city or have a small amount of space as there are still ways you can harness natural elements.
Try changing your lights or incorporating natural materials into your decor, for example.
Ensuring natural daylight can flow through the office can have a direct impact on how people work together. Research indicates that better workplace lighting has a positive impact on employee’s well-being, which in turn has a positive impact on workplace collaboration.
In areas where light is restricted, consider using glass to maximise what you do have or install a mixture of different artificial lights.
Providing access to refreshments including water and hot drinks leaves employees feeling satisfied, and shows you are committed to their wellbeing. Consider offering fresh fruit too, as this helps encourage a healthy lifestyle and encourages employees to make better snacking choices.
By making these simple changes to your office environment, you will see an improvement in workforce satisfaction, as well making employees feel valued. These few simple steps, what-ever your budget, will help motivate employees allowing the workforce to be more productive and committed.
It’s a win-win for your business, and the people that make it.
Article by Building Interiors Group