Influential office design insights to improve productivity and employee collaboration

It’s not hard to see that the modern workplace is a very different landscape compared to a few decades ago. The integration of new technology and a focus on perfecting the work/life balance is an ever-growing consideration for many organisations. As too, is the wellbeing of employees.

Surprisingly, even though there are noticeable changes afoot in modern organisations, a survey conducted by research agency Ipsos highlighted that in fact, 85% are unhappy with their workplace. Furthermore, lack of concentration and disruption were some of the main reasons for this dissatisfaction and poor employee collaboration.

employee collaborationOver the past few years, open-plan workspaces have become a popular way to design collaborative offices. However, last year, a study identified that employees isolated themselves more in an open-plan setting. Plus, employees spent 73% less time in face-to-face engagement, but in contrast, the use of instant messaging increased by over 67%. So, while open-plan workspaces in concept sound like a great way to improve interaction, they could, in fact, be hindering quality contact and collaboration, thus affecting productivity.

Studies show that happy employees are productive employees, and as a bonus, they’re less likely to call in sick, plus more likely to stay in a job twice as long. To strike the right balance, and reap the benefits of improved productivity, you need to first look at office design.

To give you an insight, here are some of the top influential concepts to streamline your operations.

Wellbeing in the workplace initiatives

It’s crucial that employees feel happy. Organisations such as Google and Facebook have already taken steps to focus on wellbeing in the workplace, but it’s often a cost consideration for smaller entities. Some ideas to think about, include:

  • Introducing onsite yoga or fitness classes.
  • Promoting exercise or fitness during the working day.
  • Encourage walking or cycling to work.
  • Promoting healthy eating and providing nutritious snack options.
  • Mindfulness training for all staff.

Utilising space effectively

If space is limited in your office, designing the area to maximise its impact is vital. Areas focus on include:

  • Eliminating clutter, after all, we should be striving for a paperless environment.
  • Consider the layout and size of desks – employees should have enough room to enjoy privacy but not so much space they are alienated from others.
  • Avoid bulky furniture and opt for modern styles to streamline branding.
  • Create a quiet zone if possible, so employees can work privately without distraction.

Colours to match your company culture

Nobody likes a boring office, and whether you’re promoting a creative space or are looking to create a sleek, contemporary vibe – there are plenty of ways to inject some personality into the design.

Understanding your company culture is key to getting the colour scheme and décor right for the office. Uninspiring spaces often lead to unmotivated staff, so opting for welcoming interiors is key to improving productivity levels.

Flexible workspaces

No one wants to feel tied to their desk, so designing an agile work environment is crucial to support employee collaboration and productivity. Creating an office that fits the diverse needs of your team will help them, in both collaborative projects and individual tasks. Central hubs are also a vital workspace option as this provides people with natural socialisation throughout the day.

Utilise natural light

Optimising natural light helps improve mood and wellbeing in the office, even on a gloomy day. People that don’t sit near a window or have limited access to sunlight will often be less productive. The simple reason, natural light lifts your mood and wellbeing. Not only that, but a study conducted by Cornell University also suggested that workers who sit by a window reported an 84 per cent drop in symptoms such as eye strain and headaches caused by prolonged computer use.

As office design and fit out specialists, Morgan Lovell, also point out, natural light will also benefit your business by reducing energy costs.

Of course, it’s not possible to sit everyone in a window seat, but encouraging small breaks during the day to get outside can have significant benefits on motivation. To make the most of natural light in your office, Morgan Lovell advises: “consider redirecting systems, which can extend daylight deeper into the building.”

Accessibility and inclusion

Accessibility and inclusion is something every company should factor in to office design. Ease of access and technical support are just some of the areas to consider when designing an inclusive space. Companies such as Microsoft are already taking significant steps to build inclusivity into everything they do.

Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft, recently said: “Accessibility is cool. If you design for every single person, you’ll create things that work brilliantly for someone with a disability but have massive implications for everyone else.”

By moving forward on inclusivity, you are helping to create a safe and accommodating environment to make your employees feel valued and improve employee collaboration.