The old-school corporate culture has dominated our society for so long that it’s often hard to imagine it as something different. Even now, when we hear “the office”, our minds immediately conjure up an image of rows upon rows of grey cubicles stuck in a stale-sometimes-Lemon-Pledge-smelling room garishly lit by white fluorescent lights.
This image is starting to be overturned though via a combination of younger generations entering the workforce as well as management everywhere recognising the importance of creating an inviting office space to stimulate creativity. Here are some ways you can change your own office and be ahead of the curve:
Splashes of colour go a long way in breaking up the office drab. You can either customise the palette of your office to match your company brand colours or select colours according to how you want to affect office productivity. Colours can be added either by using accents throughout the office or even putting in colourful furniture.
Not only do large windows let in more natural light, but they also have an added effect of keeping your employees energised. Employees often get restless because they’ve been spending long hours at their desks without getting in touch with the outside world. Even a few minutes of window-gazing makes a big difference in helping them clear their heads.
If your office location doesn’t allow for large windows to be installed, the next important design element is lighting. Get away from the standard overhead fluorescent lights and focus on softer ambient lighting in the common areas. Make sure each work area is adequately lit though with individual desk and/or hanging lamps. You can even add extra pizazz by replacing all the office light fixtures with decorative ones.
Interactive collaboration conference rooms
Nobody likes meetings where they’re talked at without getting any opportunity to express their ideas their own way. By redesigning your office conference rooms into more informal spaces without any seating hierarchies, it’ll foster a more open space to encourage discussion amongst employees. This can be achieved through re-arrangeable furniture, whiteboards on all four walls, and interactive touch-screen displays; all these designs remove the pressure of standing at the front of the room (since that illusion would be gone) while giving different options for employees to present their thoughts in the way they’re most comfortable with. The end result is a much more collaborative work environment.
Quiet zero-disturbance work zones
This is especially important in an open-concept office. Everyone has different work styles depending on their task at hand. Some employees may need space to focus without any disturbances from office chatter, phone calls, or e-mails. This can either be a separate room or simply a partitioned area with desks, chairs, and basic stationery. Having designated areas where they can settle in without interruptions would be a huge show of executive support and recognition of work diversity in the office.
Separate lunch room and break room
Break rooms are not new idea, but you’d be hard pressed to find one that’s organised and encourages relaxation. That’s what break rooms are supposed to be so that you can feel relaxed and revitalised enough for a fresh round of productivity. The reality though is that most break rooms end up being glorified coffee and microwave stations as guerilla warfare is constantly being waged to claim territory up and down the fridge shelves; next to all this, employees sit hunched over their lunches on sad, rickety tables with mismatched chairs. Well, you can reject this reality and substitute your own by separating the people preparing their lunches and coffees from those who just want quiet relaxation by themselves – either turn those areas into different rooms or at least put up a thick partition in between. After all, the relaxation area is the main space where people can truly recharge so you want to focus on making it worthwhile with plenty of comfy chairs, couches, cushions, yoga mats, and most of all, solitude.
The design choices you make for your office ultimately depend on your workplace culture; it’s always a good idea to find out first what your employees need to succeed in their work. Of course, if you’re just looking for a starting point to change it up in your office though, these office design trends are all the spark you need to get you there.