Many organizations are making the change from closed off cubicle work spaces to open-concept. This is a trend that is being driven by the millennial generation and was widely adopted by Silicon Valley startups. The theory is to create a more collaborative environment by taking down the walls that silo people. But many companies have gone beyond that theory and have also made their workplaces more fun and productive.
When considering changes to make to your work environment, there are 3 key objectives that you want to achieve. You want to make the space as functional as possible, to inspire creativity and collaboration, and promote wellness. Here are some ideas that help promote those goals.
1) Use Space to Improve Focus
- Provide desks that offer enough work space surface and allow employees to spread out.
- Spacing out desks and furniture can give an office a cleaner more organized atmosphere. When too many things are occupying a space it can lead to a more disorganized and stressed mindset.
2) Standing is the New Sitting
- Sitting for long periods of time is bad for your health. Provide standing desks. Although they can be quite expensive they are well worth the investment. When my company got everyone standing desks, the difference of how one felt by the end of the day was amazing. Everyone felt less drained and more energized, which helped to boost the energy and productivity of the team.
3) Provide comfort in many forms
- Provide several options of ergo-friendly chairs. Everyone’s body is different and therefore forcing everyone to sit in the same chair is silly. It’s also like wearing the same pair of shoes all the time. It’s good to swap out here and there.
4) Lessen distractions
- Give workers the option to add privacy screens to their desks, which are still low, but provide a little buffer.
5) Create an open look to nurture an open culture
- Design with glass. You can still block out sound for certain rooms by using glass, but the area will feel a lot more open. By having everything exposed and open it mirrors an open and trusting culture.
6) Wireless Phones
- Bluetooth headsets are great because they allow you to be on a call and use both hands to still work, as well as not be tied to your desk. This helps to keep a strong culture of communication because the conversation can continue by leaving workers mobile and hands-free.
7) Storage as Seating
- Having file cabinets for storage with cushions on top is a great multi-purpose solution that invites a culture of collaboration and communication.
8) Bring Remote Offices Closer
- If you have co-located teams, bring them closer together by having a long lens camera project the other office onto a wall. The other team is no longer out of site, out of mind.
9) Displays Invite Conversations
- If you want to promote that you are a data driven culture, then put analytics screens up by the coffee station. Every time someone grabs a cup of coffee, they can engage with the data and converse about it with their colleagues out in the open.
10) Expressive Walls
- Glass (recommend frosted) or white board walls are great to have throughout the space as it allows a free flow of ideas to be shared with the community and shows the team’s personality and nurtures culture. Use the walls to put up quotes or funny phrases that came from team members, posting team pictures, allow employees to share outside opportunities or events as well as have leaderboards for friendly competitions.
What other ideas have you seen at offices that you feel make it a great space to work? Comments welcome!
Studio Desks image by Juhan Sonin
Whitewall-steel-whiteboard-walls image by Magnatag
Modern Architectural Details- brightcove Glass Dry Marker Panel System by Phil Manker (7349701020).jpg
Glass Partition Wall image By MaarsLivingWalls (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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