Four Strategies to Design Office that Cut the Time-Wasters
When you design your office environment, there are multiple considerations. Of course you need to consider the cost, but there’s more to it. The layout, design, and amenities you provide can all have a big impact on employee happiness and productivity. Sometimes a little more investment of time or money can deliver a significant payback. Here are four strategies to consider in your office design.
1. OPEN CONFIGURATIONS
The old traditional office design had a circle of offices around the outside of a floor, with cubicles clustered in the middle for the employees. Though executives and managers may enjoy the perk of having an office with a window, there are some drawbacks to this arrangement. Most employees get no natural daylight, which has been shown to detract from productivity and happiness. The prime spaces, like corner offices, benefit only senior executives, not most of the company. It isolates management from staff, which can limit communication. It also isolates managers from each other, which can limit collaboration. Studies have shown that this type of closed configuration can slow the time it takes to develop new products or respond to customer needs.The new trend is toward an open office configuration, which is designed to increase collaboration. By maximizing information sharing, communication and mentoring, your company can become more productive. This often includes eliminating fixed walls, using low panels between spaces which facilitate communication, and providing easy access to spaces where employees can work together. You may also have designated quiet areas, where employees can go when they need to work without distraction.
2. FLEXIBLE SPACES
With this design approach, rather than having spaces which are assigned specific functions, you have spaces which can be adapted for multiple functions. A flexible design approach makes it easy to reconfigure your office as your company grows and your needs change. For instance, in a traditional design you might have a graphic artist’s office designed with multiple large monitors, and a manager’s office designed with a table and chairs for meeting with team members.
When employees change positions, they move from one office space to another. In a flexible design, each work space would be set up so that it can be configured as needed. The same space could be reconfigured to meet the needs of either the graphic designer or the manager. When employees change positions, they don’t need to move, their space is just adjusted as needed. This causes less disruption.
3. CONTROLLING TEMPERATURE AND LIGHT
Office temperatures that are too hot or too cold are the most common employee complaint. This can impact both employee satisfaction and productivity. Before you sign a lease, make sure you know how much control you have over temperature controls, and whether other tenants are happy with this. You may need a strategy for dealing with specific issues, like drafty windows, or one side of the building being consistently warmer than the other.Light can greatly influence productivity. Designing an office so that everyone has access to some natural daylight can improve employee happiness and efficiency. If you can’t do this for every person’s work space, then create common areas like a lunch room or meeting room with natural light.
4. ERGONOMIC OFFICE DESIGN
Ergonomic design considers the effect of the work environment on employees, and tries to maximize comfort and efficiency. You can take advantage of the extensive research which has already been done in this field. There are recommendations about desk height, office chairs, keyboard, monitor and mouse configurations, and more. You can also work with an ergonomics consultant for more targeted recommendations. Configuring the office to fit the employees’ work habits will reduce discomfort and pain, and can make your staff happier and more efficient.
Proper office furniture matters a lot. Employees can’t stay isolated in their cubicles for 8 hours a day anymore. They need people to interact with; shared desks, properly decorated break areas, good coffee, nice interior designs are all key aspects that will help companies thrive without having to invest a lot of money in designing their main offices. There are endless ways to decorate a space on a budget and make it look like a million dollars – you just have be original and think outside the box.
This is a guest post by William Taylor and OfficeFurnitureExpress.co.uk!; photo credits: flickr