The Niche Movement helps young professionals find the work they love. Part of that puzzle includes finding the right office space. This guest post dives into five ways to build an innovative office space for happier employees.
Offices are no longer the dull, lifeless grey cubicles of years gone by. Many companies now employ designers to create individually styled offices that promote creativity, innovation and productivity. Here are a few ideas to help you create a functional, stylish office space that meets the needs of your employees and business.
It is well-known that sitting immobile behind a desk stunts creativity and free thinking, decreases attention spans and productivity and is detrimental to general health. Install ergonomic desks and chairs to minimize back and neck strain, and get your employees moving by promoting the use of foot rockers and saddle seats.
Ban intra-office emails and encourage your staff to get up and walk over to their co-worker’s desk to deliver messages. Direct communication and interaction can spark new ideas as well as improve employee health. Some offices even install side by side treadmills, so that people can discuss projects while exercising.
Clear the Clutter
There is nothing like piles of paperwork covering every surface to ruin the look of even the best fitted-out office. Fortunately, as ecological awareness increases, paper wastage is beginning to decline.
Encourage all your employees to use the appropriate software to reduce their paper consumption. Business software can be used to invoice customers by email, track balances and process credit card payments, manage due dates and pay vendors. You can even use software to keep your customers, contacts, sales and vendors organized – as well as maintain year-round ledgers to easily track the state of your business and pay your bills.
Create Chill Out Spaces and Quiet Zones
Provide an area where small groups can get together for short yoga or stretching sessions during the day. Generating a sense of well-being and team spirit within your team will encourage them to work harder. Also, create “overlap zones” where staff can bump into people from other departments and discuss solutions and ideas.
Studies show that creating an exterior green space where people can get outside, breathe fresh air, and connect with nature can boost your staff’s creativity by up to 15 percent. If you can’t provide a real outdoor space, a room with wallpaper portraying a forest scene can have a similar effect.
Make It Bright and Fun
Thankfully, dull grey office furniture is a thing of the past for most offices. The latest style trends call for bright, bold colours that bring life to office spaces.
Go for contrast and cool combinations. Mix table sizes, heights, and colors for more visual impact. Both employees and visitors will be motivated by the cheerful, modern environment. You could include paintings, sculptures and other artwork by local artists – or even commission an artist to paint a colourful mural extending around the office! Observing other people’s visual creations can inspire inventiveness and originality in your staff’s work.
When you design the atmospheres and ambiance of a new area, consider the unique needs of the work sector and employees. Moveable desks are great for creating large, connected spaces for collaborative projects – and can be returned to individual workspaces when needed.
Let your staff choose the colors they like and encourage their individual expressions – or go one step further and eliminate personal desks. With wireless technology, you might not need to assign a fixed desk to each person – instead, employees can take their work with them wherever they choose.
They can take any desk, open table, or even a comfy couch – a technique that is sometimes known as “hot-desking.” If you feel your business isn’t ready for such liberal seating plans, how about trying “musical chairs”. In this method, teams stay together but move to different assigned seats every few months.
Johanna Cider is a design enthusiast and freelance writer dwelling in New Zealand. When not busy writing, she likes to spend hours reading in the travel and interior design sections of the local bookstore. You can connect with Johanna and read more of her work on Tumblr.