- By Stephen
I hesitate to use the words “office design trends” here as the words insinuates a fad or a passing phase.
The office is where you and your staff spend roughly 25% of their life. 25%! Its design is a critical element to your business.
An office is no longer seen as simply a place where people work simply because they have to.
Modern office design must now create a working environment where people choose to work and studies have shown that excellence in office fit out is a key factor in attracting and retaining employees to the organisation as well as maintaining optimal work and focus levels of your staff.
There are 5 key elements in the evolution of office design and fit out:
1. Engagement and collaboration
The findings from an Empirica study showed that investment in workplace design and organisational culture can actually be a more cost effective strategy for talent attraction than higher salaries. It also showed a significant correlation on the extent to which employees connect and identify with their colleagues.
Humans are social, that is a fact. Most humans require socialisation to exist. When an employee sets foot into the office, they don’t simply “turn off” their social genetics, it therefore stands to reason that the workplace should support collaboration and socialisation to enable the workforce to run at optimum levels.
Whether you choose an open plan or a traditional office workspace, a good office design will incorporate areas that promote communication and engagement amongst the workforce. Break out areas, hospitable kitchen and eating areas, meditation rooms and games areas are all examples.
2. Mobility & Connectivity
Good office design must incorporate the audio-visuals and data connectivity required by your workforce.
Strategic and abundant placement of power and data outlets, staff accessibility to technology to allow them to save time within the course of their role. As well as adaptability of technology to provide equal opportunity for staff members who may be hearing or sight impaired.
Other tech considerations in good office design are;
- Smart technology, the use of apps to book rooms and meeting areas
- installation of the highest data speed technology
- integration of office machines to a centralised data network
- placement of printers and copiers
ABS statistics show that Australian workers take 8-9 days of sick leave per year. Ok, so that doesn’t sound too bad.
Let’s extrapolate with a 2015/16 Department of Human Services study that showed that 88Million days are lost each year to sick leave costing Australian employers a staggering $33Billion in expenses and lost productivity.
Hence each sick day costs an employer on average $375.00 per day.
It’s little wonder then that office design has a large focus on the health and well-being of the workforce.
Natural light and ventilation are utilised wherever possible to reduce the effects of poor air quality and harsh artificial lighting.
Green walls and internal garden areas are designed to improve air quality and create a natural calming effect.
Height adjustable work stations and the use of ergonomic chairs offer physical support and mobility within the workplace.
As office spaces are accommodating increasing numbers of contract, freelance and project based staff, as well as flexible working conditions including work from home days, the furniture used in office design must be adaptable.
Modular seating, private conversation or telephone pods, quiet areas, fully equipped hot desks and furniture that can be easily and readily changed or modified to suit the changing daily requirements of the work space are a must in the evolution of good office design and fitout.
Coming full circle on our article and creating a comfortable office space and environment for your workforce is essential.
During an average work week, a workforce will spend more time in the office than they will spend (awake) in their home.
Creature comforts such as prints, artwork, photographs as well as colourful cushions are a low-cost and effective measure to create a homely office space where your workforce genuinely enjoy their time.