The stereotypical corporate office has often been portrayed as a dingy, stuffy, and cubicle-ridden space that drains creativity and prevents collaboration. Thankfully, such traditional corporate offices — with their uninspiring decor and segregation — are in many ways a thing of the past.
Many employers have realized that the office environment directly influences employee satisfaction, creativity, and productivity. This trend gained momentum in the late 90s, with many tech companies being innovators not only in their product development but also in their workspace design.
Tech companies developed a reputation for building amazing workspaces, more like playgrounds that their employees could look forward to working in. And as a result, they attracted the very best and brightest — and got the most out of them, creatively.
But recently, this mini-revolution has spread to many other traditional industries. Many large companies are moving progressively towards open, creative, and collaborative workspaces.
Spaces more often seen in small, creative companies are now becoming commonplace in large corporate surroundings too.
What are the key characteristics of these new space designs?
1. Open Plans
Humans are social animals and want to be able to interact with each other. Studies have shown that an open plan improves the mood of employees. So modern offices are often designed to encourage collaboration, as modern employers understand that employees being able to interact while they work is beneficial — rather than detrimental — to long-term productivity.
2. Hot Desking
Having employees who aren’t chained to their desks translates to reduced office costs and increased networking opportunities. Open spaces have also become more valuable as technological advances now allow workers to work from almost anywhere.
3. Common Spaces
Designing informal areas for ad-hoc meetings and collaboration on larger projects create a community feel to the workplace. Working collectively on tough problems can vastly improve productivity.
4. Functional Buildings
Large corporate office buildings are now increasingly equipped with cafes, restaurants, libraries, bars, and gyms. Google is probably the best at this, the theory being that a happy employee at work is more likely to stay at the office longer. Idea generation is the name of the game, so many employers don’t mind whether a great idea comes from an employee at the office gym or a worker as his desk. So long as the ideas keep coming, both parties will be happy!
Increasingly, green is the new black in office design projects, more businesses want to design their space in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. It’s not just employers; environmentalism is often a key issue for many employees, too.
The bottom line is that if you want top-quality work, you need to give your employees a top-quality office space.