As the workplace landscape continues to evolve, businesses are increasingly recognising the advantages of designing their offices to suit a multi-generational, dynamic workforce.
The workplace should be a physical embodiment of your brand, helping to communicate your organisation’s values and to establish an identity that your people can connect with. This means designing an office that meets the shifting workplace expectations of staff. If businesses are to compete for new emerging talent and retain their workforce, they must recognise the power of a work environment that fosters productivity, promotes connectivity and transforms the office into a worthwhile destination.
The workplace should reflect the needs of the user. This means providing flexibility within your office design to give people the choice to use the space in a way that will be most productive for them. Since different tasks will require different work settings, separate spaces that lend themselves to particular working styles should be available for staff to use as and when.
By creating zones within the workplace, you can encourage movement through the office. This benefits employees by encouraging them to interact with the wider space and can promote more interaction between individuals. Agile furniture solutions can also enable areas to be reconfigured and tailored for different needs, allowing businesses to save on office space whilst maximising the ways in which a space can be utilised.
Your office should be designed to provide your people with the space they need to work effectively, in a comfortable and productive environment. The best way to do this is to engage employees in the design process. When staff have a say on how their office environment looks and functions, they are more likely to feel valued and invested in their workplace, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and staff wellbeing. By involving your people in the process of your office move or refurbishment they can better understand how the space is designed to be used, which can ultimately increase productivity and improve workflow.
Today, businesses understand the significance of staff collaboration, with up to 80 percent of businesses using social collaboration tools to enhance business processes according to a study by McKinsey. The most effective way of promoting in-person connections in the workplace is to include easily accessible communal spaces within the office that can draw people together, such as a teapoint or breakout area.
These spaces create opportunities for social interaction within the office and encourage employees to build interpersonal relationships, helping them to feel part of a collective. Community spaces are therefore an essential feature of the modern workplace and are particularly valuable for building a better company culture that will promote wellbeing, boost staff satisfaction and establish an engaged workforce.
When it comes to office design, getting the lighting right is essential. Not only does it play a significant role in the overall aesthetic of the space, but office lighting has a direct impact on employee productivity and wellbeing. Incorporating natural light into your work environment can improve the concentration and productivity of staff. As for artificial lighting, investing in a circadian lighting system can help to regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to enhanced sleep quality and better overall health for your workforce. Additionally, incorporating sustainable lighting options such as LED bulbs can help reduce energy consumption and lower the utility costs of your office space. Ultimately, a well-lit workspace can make all the difference in creating a comfortable and productive environment for your team.
It’s important to question how the layout of your office space will contribute to productivity levels. Every business will have to consider different factors, such as how to promote cross-team collaboration or how to manage effective workflows across the organisation. This will be unique to your organisation and could be dictated by variables such as the architecture of the building or your work styles and policies.
For example, Trainline decided to restructure their office layout as a result of a shift to hybrid working, to maximise their floorplate and create additional collaboration space. Whatever your motivation when considering your office layout, you should ensure there is a minimum of 11m2 per person. Our office space calculator can help you to understand how much additional space you’ll need based on the types of workspaces you require.
Giving staff space to relax and recharge is vital to maintaining productivity and has become a crucial consideration in workplace design. Having the space to step away from your desk and take a moment to reenergise can improve motivation, creativity and overall job satisfaction, but it’s important to recognise that this might look different for each individual.
Whilst some might enjoy socialising at the teapoint, others may require a quiet space for retreat. Giving people the option to choose a space that accommodates their needs will therefore help businesses to create a more inclusive workplace that takes different working styles into consideration.
In today’s world of hybrid working, the office needs to compete with alternative workspaces such as the home. To do this, the office needs to be somewhere people want to work. The design of your office heavily contributes to creating a positive work experience for staff, by providing them with not only the necessary spaces for them to work effectively, but spaces that will inspire and motivate, capitalising on collaborative and social areas. Building additional amenities into your workplace can also help to elevate the employee experience, with some businesses opting to ‘hotelify’ their workplace, drawing on hospitality settings to incorporate coffee shops, lounges and other conveniences into the office with the aim of offering everything staff might need in one location.
A key consideration when planning your office design is thinking about how to embody your brand in the office. There are different ways of incorporating branding in a professional environment. It’s not just about adding your logo or brand colours to the walls but finding ways to integrate your identity into the space in a way that feels authentic.
Whilst DP World chose to use their brand colours sparingly, opting for neutral shades in areas like the client space to create a welcoming front of house, they featured display cases with ship models and other items that reinforce their brand and allow staff and visitors to engage with the company’s heritage. A carefully considered and cohesive branded office will accurately reflect your organisation’s purpose and inspire your workforce.
Remote work has transformed the way the working world operates, even as many businesses return to the office full-time, meaning video calls and virtual meetings have to be better facilitated in the workplace. Technology is therefore a key consideration of your office design, with AV technology taking high priority and helping to elevate the workplace experience in a post-pandemic landscape. It’s important to consider the technology needs of your team. Whether it’s a simple design feature or a complex high-spec solution, integrating technology into the workspace and designing remote first workplaces will help transform the modern office to enhance productivity and fully integrate new ways of working.
Bringing nature indoors is a crucial element of office design, known as biophilic design. Biophilia can refer to the incorporation of elements such as daylight, planting and natural materials such as wood or stone. Biophilic design is proven to have a positive effect on wellbeing and productivity, with studies showing that the presence of plants can relieve stress levels by 37% and boost productivity by 15%.
Square Mile Farms have a developed a vertical planting system that allows workers to harvest their own herbs and greens from hydroponic planters installed in offices. Initiatives like these support businesses’ wider sustainability goals and also serve as incentives for employees to come into the office and engage with their environment, bringing staff together and contributing to their wellbeing and workplace satisfaction.
Whilst the modern workplace often combines a collection of different environments, it’s important they do not feel disconnected from one another. A successful office design will prioritise functionality without compromising on additional workplace needs, such as branding and social spaces, in order to create a seamlessly integrated workspace that will draw workers into the office. Although different organisations will need to prioritise certain aspects of the office more than others, these ten tips are the most common design requirements that we have supported clients with.