While many in the tech industry are trending toward exciting new office buildings that feature open plans and plenty of shared space, a recent article from TechRepublic warns that employee needs must be a factor in the design. In particular, the article notes, private spaces, quiet places, and smaller meeting areas need to be included.
According to a 2014 study from The Center for the Built Environment, workers who have their own office tend to be happier and less likely to take sick days, the article stated. An additional new study from Oxford Economics and Plantronics, involving 1,200 global employees and executives, found that millennial employees in particular found it hard to concentrate on work in a noisy environment.
The results of these studies suggest that, although the trendy new open office plans encourage collaboration, balance is best when it comes to worker satisfaction. How to reach that balance? Providing a mix of open and closed spaces is a start. Additionally, the article suggests, the type of materials used in the design can also lend themselves to the creation of good working conditions. Hard surfaces can be replaced with more sound absorbent ones — such as carpet. Barriers between desks can be lowered to enable employees to see and interact with one another in a quieter fashion. Quiet spaces where phone calls can be taken or smaller meeting rooms can help.
While an office space isn’t going to meet every need of every individual employee, the article states, design should allow for flexibility in order to meet as many needs as possible and maximize productivity.
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Research has repeatedly shown that the workplace itself can have a significant impact upon workers’ happiness and performance, affecting everything from productivity and morale to absenteeism and turnover. Therefore, working with an office design company to address issues with your office space planning layout can be well worth the investment.
With that being said, many companies do not have the luxury of spending vast amounts of money on their office space planning and design, which begs the question: Can successful office space planning be achieved on a budget? Here are some ways in which the cost can be kept down, without sacrificing quality.
The Open Plan Option
One of the best ways to save money on your office space planning is to opt for an open plan design, or at least include large open plan areas. Doing so cuts down on the number of fixed partitions needed, saving space in the process. This has a knock-on effect, because the amount of space you actually need will be reduced.
In addition to reduced real estate costs, other open plan benefits include the ability to modify the space easily and improvements to employee collaboration. With that said, the open plan is not for everyone and a study by IPSOS found that the 11 percent of workers who were most happy and most engaged had access to greater privacy.
Nevertheless, the open plan is the dominant design in the west, accounting for around 70 percent of all offices, according to the International Facilities Management Association. Moreover, by having an open plan office, with smaller private areas, you can enjoy the benefits while minimizing the negatives.
Putting the Essentials First
In recent years, much has been made of the likes of Uber including sleeping pods and Google including slides in their office designs. However, when operating on a budget, the focus should always be on getting the essentials right. People need comfortable work areas, social spaces and natural light far more than they need novelty items.
Although comfort and function are important considerations, it is generally okay to opt for classic furniture. After all, this can always be upgraded later. Furthermore, you should consider the nature of your business and think about which elements are necessary. Do you need so many meeting rooms? Do you even need a reception?
“Doing away with reception areas is a trend we’re increasingly seeing,” Chris Booth, managing director for the fit-out company Overbury, told Forbes. “If client visits are infrequent, giving away expensive rental space for that purpose is inefficient. If you’ve got clients coming in all the time, maybe you need one; if not, is it essential?”
Flexibility and Remote Work
Another great way to save money and ensure your space planning is delivered on-budget is to prioritize flexibility and try to include areas that have multiple functions. For example, when meeting rooms are not in use, could they double as quiet working spaces? Thinking in terms of flexibility also offers a chance to get really creative.
A great example of creative flexible thinking can be seen in the Yodle, Inc. company headquarters in New York. As part of their office design, they have a very wide flight of stairs. As well as their traditional function of allowing people to move between floors, the stairs are a designated social space, allowing for workplace collaboration.
Finally, while on the subject of flexibility, it may be worth some companies embracing the idea of remote working in order to save space and revitalize the workforce. Contrary to classic fears, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report claims that employees who work remotely on occasion are the happiest and most engaged of all.
Guest Author Bio:
Reno is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and office design company Enigma Visual Solutions, specializing in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, office space planning, event branding, conference set design and much more. He specializes in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.
Are you wondering how a coworking office space would work for your business and your employees? A recent article from The Almanac provides an example of such a space and what it gives to those who work there.
According to the article, “Spaces” — a 30,000 square-foot coworking facility opened in the Menlo Park area of California in July with an 8,000 square-foot business club as well as additional office space. The business club area provides a coworking area where members, mostly consisting of mobile workers, pay an affordable $380 fee to use desks, cafe tables, and meeting rooms. The area includes a cafe and even a gaming lounge. The offices rent for a starting price of $900 a month and feature plexiglass walls, as well as office furniture. There are about 400 desks available for rent. It was just recently acquired by Regus. The leading provider of flexible workplaces with over 4,000 locations worldwide.
Why Coworking Office Space?
Those who have rented coworking office space in the facility state that they chose to locate their offices there because of the location. As the saying goes in real estate, the three most important attributes are location, location and location. But it does take more than just location to have a successful coworking office space. The other benefits listed for those using the space include the ability for self-employed, work-from-home, and start-up companies to interact and network with one another.
The business evolved out of the notion that success breeds success. That workers who are surrounded by people and ideas are inspired to experience new ideas and growth, as well. Some of their other clients have echoed this sentiment, with testimonials that praise coworking space flexibility and room to expand their business within a coworking facility.
At OfficeFinder, we understand coworking office space. We believe that entrepreneurial performance improves among a community of coworkers. We would love to help you find or create a coworking space that will meet the needs of your workers and of those who work alongside you. For more information, contact us.