Business News Daily asked Bill Himmelstein about the effectiveness of office designs for small companies. While many small business owners assume that open offices are the top choice for all workers today, it may cause issues in some organizations.
You can read Bill Himmelstein’s commentary here.
Conversations about what future employees want out of office design are no longer just about Millennials. Instead, the focus has changed to the newest members of the workforce: Generation Z. Corporations must begin to think about their future employee’s work styles to help them and their businesses succeed. Here are a few things companies need to consider to cater to the next generation’s office design preferences.
Acoustic Control and Privacy
Gen Z is competitive and determined, which means they work well when given designated areas of privacy for phone calls, meetings or deep focus work. In fact, roughly eight percent of the incoming generation wants an open office design, despite its popularity. (Likely due to the lack of privacy in a potentially disruptive environment.) While collaboration is still important, finding enough privacy to be able to complete work without distractions from colleagues or surroundings is a priority.
Daylight has been found to be the number one natural feature desired in workspaces, and it is vital for all employees, especially Gen Z. Designs that increase the amount of natural light promotes both health and work potential. Several studies indicate that employees who sit next to windows receive a more restful night of sleep than those who do not. Moving common areas next to windows with the most light, rather than containing light to private rooms, allows for maximum exposure for employees.
Financial and Mental Wellness Programs
Generation Z is mindful of what constitutes a healthy employer-employee relationship, which means they gravitate toward organizations that care about their workforce. Since student loan debt is a major focus for this generation, implementing programs that offer financial guidance will be a significant draw. Additionally, mental wellness initiatives will directly impact employee happiness and productivity, as well as attract new talent.
With the new generation comes new trends. Since the next workforce generation is almost here, corporations need to begin preparations now to remain ahead of the trends. Companies that fall behind the trends will lose out on the next wave of talent.
Companies are always tweaking their work environments to boost productivity and employee satisfaction, but are they running out of ways to change the office? Not yet. Businesses are electing to create outdoor office spaces to help staff relax and reconnect with nature. However, are outdoor office spaces a good idea?
A well-designed outdoor office space makes for an effective recruiting tool, attracting top talent to the unique design. It increases employee satisfaction, reduces turnover and boosts productivity. Allowing employees to wander outside to work will give them more of a feeling of freedom, exposing them to much-needed natural lighting and fresh air. It can also contribute to the company culture, as an outdoor workspace offers a relaxed, casual way to connect across departments.
Weather can be unpredictable and sometimes brutal. Outdoor workplaces will be unusable for a large chunk of the year, due to cold, heat, wind, rain, etc. Another downside of an outdoor workspace is it can be more difficult to keep secure. There is also a fine line to walk when creating an outdoor workspace, as it can quickly become a distraction if it is too recreation-centric.
The Right Mix
If executed properly, an outdoor workspace can add a fun, unique dimension to an office. A large majority of the office should remain indoors while still incorporating outdoor elements such as natural lighting and plants. Well-developed indoor spaces will always be necessary, especially for roles that demand an environment with limited noise and distractions.
Corporations are finally thinking outside of the box and creating outdoor workspaces where employees can elect to work in a new setting or simply recharge. With the reversal in workspace design comes a number of benefits and pitfalls. However, as with most office designs, the best layout incorporates a mixture of styles to cater to every unique employee.
Increasing employee productivity has been a challenge faced since the early days of the traditional office space. Unfortunately, many companies overlook a simple yet crucial solution: office layout. Improving the overall design of a space can do wonders in improving corporate culture, leading to better productivity.
Small Changes for Huge Impact
Creating a healthy environment is essential to increasing productivity, as it impacts both the physical and mental health of your employees. The first step is to make sure the office is physically comfortable by maintaining a reasonable temperature, comfortable office furniture and adequate lighting. Consider natural sunlight and plants to make the room more approachable and improve the overall mental health of workers. (Poor lighting can cause people to feel more tired, experience eyestrain and can even amplify the effects of depression.) When planning the design of an office, it’s also important to consider the furniture, as your employees will be using it in a full-time capacity.
To foster a comfortable atmosphere in your office, limit noise in designated areas so employees may concentrate. While the open office layout is feasible for some industries, the best design will incorporate zones dedicated to employees who need to be on the phone as well as workspaces that focus on minimizing distractions. Additionally, place noisy office appliances and equipment in a separate area to decrease noise.
Rather than creating an office that is either all cubicles or one open room, design an environment that incorporates the advantages of both styles. Designated workstations will give your employees the benefit of an organized, private work environment, while an open area will promote collaboration and camaraderie. An adaptive workplace will also allow workers to find an area that best suits their current project to help their individual productivity.
The design, layout and future planning of an office is critical to the success of a business, as it can eliminate a variety of problems and induce stronger results for the company. With so much to consider when searching for a new office, working with a knowledgeable, professional broker can save you time and money, while achieving better results.