Although feeling appreciated is one of the most significant factors in keeping employees happy, the workplace environment also plays a big part. Renovating your office may seem daunting, but does your current space meet the needs of a changing workforce?
Since the pandemic, health, happiness, and hybrid schedules have become a priority. If you’re receiving complaints about your space, consider an upgrade. It could be the move that helps you retain current employees, attract new talent, boost company culture, and improve productivity.
The Importance of Your Office Layout
Your office layout is the most important decision you will make in a renovation. How well you know the needs of your workforce could mean the difference between a productive environment and one that doesn’t quite reach its potential.
Take stock of how your team works best. Assess your needs by answering the following questions:
- How many employees are in the office each day?
- How often do meetings occur?
- How many people attend each meeting?
- Are there multiple teams/department meetings?
- Who makes essential calls to clients, and how often?
- Who needs total silence to focus on their work?
- Who is working with confidential documents?
- Are there hybrid employees or those with varied schedules?
Let your employees give their input. Once you know everyone’s needs, you can decide on office changes, but be sure to factor in future growth.
In the workplace, there is usually a need for collaboration and concentration. How can your space address both? Consider the following office layouts.
Open Space Office Layout
An open space layout is just as it sounds: an open room with no walls or barriers. The setup can include long worktables with individual docking stations or separated workstations. Both scenarios promote collaboration.
The beauty of this option is that you only need to move furniture to make changes. A negative side-effect can be noise level and lack of privacy, affecting a person’s ability to focus on individual tasks. Open space is a great layout option for startups where the team needs to share ideas.
Cubicle or Modular Office Layout
After the movie “Office Space,” cubicle layouts became a punchline, but they serve an important purpose. Semi-permanent walls partition off each desk space, which gives privacy. Employees get a workstation to call their own, allowing for small personal touches. Modular office workstations are a modern take on the cubicle, offering greater flexibility for layout change with a focus on ergonomics. Modular panels have a sturdy structure but are not bolted down to floors or walls, making them easy to manipulate.
Cellular Office Layout
Cellular layouts are popular among law firms because each partner needs their own office for private client discussions. The cellular layout is typically more expensive than the others due to the construction of several internal offices.
Breakout Rooms for Concentration, Collaboration, and Privacy at the Office
Consider a combination layout if you employ both concentrators and collaborators. Executives can have private offices while teams in an open or cubicle space work on individual tasks, meeting the need for quiet concentration. Add breakout or conference rooms for the sharing of ideas. These custom spaces encourage ideation sessions, fostering teamwork and creativity. If silence and privacy are crucial, consider the addition of privacy booths for 1-2 people.
Comfort and Function at the Office
Accommodating all employees’ need for comfort can be difficult, if not impossible. A great option to end the thermostat battle is the installation of lighting and climate control technology.
Automated climate control systems keep the office temperature at an even, comfortable level, and IoT (Internet of Things) sensors can adjust lighting and temperature based on the number of people in the room. Smart lighting technology can include circadian lighting that mimics the sun by displaying cooler blue tones in the day for alertness and amber lighting in the evening when the body starts to wind down.
Healthier Office Spaces
How often have you or a spouse come home from the office with a cold? Some offices have such poor ventilation systems that illnesses get passed around repeatedly. Sick building syndrome could be to blame. If time spent in the office leads to ongoing illness amongst staff members, take a closer look.
The efficiency of your building’s HVAC system is essential in maintaining indoor air quality. Regular maintenance checks can keep your system running as it should. Air quality monitoring systems can be another level of defense to track the health of your space.
Technology Upgrades for the Office
A sure way to look off your game with a client is when “technical difficulties” arise. Upgrading your technology can enhance productivity, not to mention boost cybersecurity efforts.
If you are renovating the office, technology upgrades are a must. Needs can vary based on the size of the business and industry but can include:
- Hardware and software upgrades
- High-quality audio and video equipment
- Large display monitors or retractable screens
- Smart meeting rooms that combine hardware and software technology to provide seamless collaboration with offsite employees or clients
- Modern tools like Smartboards allow users to provide interactive presentations
- Integrated scheduling systems for break rooms/conference spaces
A Break Room that Provides a Real Break
Employees need to step away from the grind. They must relax, let off steam, or enjoy a meal. There are so many ways to improve the break room experience. Your employees could probably list them for you.
For starters, you can upgrade your coffee and beverage station with built-ins to display flavor options and fixings. Why step out for a coffee run when the best cup of Jo is at the office? Plus, it is a small effort that makes people so happy and productive.
Tables and chairs for dining are a must-have. Comfortable, cushy seating options for casual conversations and a bit of lounging provide a nice break from the upright desk position employees are bound to most of the day.
If your team needs to reset, consider adding brightly colored walls and team photos. As you can imagine, the team bonding possibilities are endless but here are a few fun add-ons: gaming station, ping pong table, foosball, putting green, or television.
Office Bonus – Outdoor Seating, Fitness Center, and Meditation Rooms
The employee experience is a huge factor in today’s working world. If you want to become an employer of choice or create an inspirational environment, here are some bonus options to consider.
Office employees spend much of their time indoors. An outdoor patio and seating area offer fresh air breaks on lovely weather days. The option to soak in some sun and Vitamin D goes a long way.
If you want to incorporate a culture of health and wellness into your business, consider adding a fitness center that employees can use before and after work or during breaks. This contributes to the overall well-being of your team.
Meditation rooms are trending and also lean into the health and wellness culture. Stress and anxiety are at an all-time high. For high-stress workplaces, this can be an excellent office bonus.
The overly structured, stuffy office environment may be a thing of the past. More and more, we, as a society, recognize the need for a balanced life. People are putting their health at the forefront of their daily routines. Downtime and stress relief are a must. We understand that building solid partnerships in the office is at the heart of a company’s success and that, at times, extreme focus is needed to complete tasks. As a business owner, you have the option to create a world where the work gets done, and your employees look forward to another day at the office.
*Work Environment Statistics provided by ZipDo