Why Is Your Office Interior Design Important?
Do you want to attract the best employees to your organization? Do you find yourself competing for top talent in a hot job market? Do you seek to reduce your employee turnover rate? These days, salary or financial compensation alone isn’t the only factor driving employees to a workplace. Today’s best employees demand a workplace that stimulates creativity, collaboration, and communication while also reducing stress and anxiety. This is especially true for millennials but is also true for people in other age groups as well.
Besides employee preference, your office interior design is important for another reason: It directly impacts employee productivity, which directly affects your organization’s bottom line. Ideally, you want a workplace that allows people to focus and concentrate whenever needed, and to collaborate and communicate whenever needed. You also want a workplace that is physically and mentally comfortable so that people can perform and function at their best. This is what today’s modern office design trends are striving to achieve.
This definitive guide is a list of the 7 most important office themes and design concepts that you need to know to attract and retain the best and most qualified employees in your organization. Let’s get started.
Today’s cutting-edge companies are now using an office design plan called Activity-Based Working. What this means is that an employee can work anywhere in the office that suits his or her current activity.
For example, if an employee needs to do something that requires a high level of concentration and focus, he or she can move to an isolated quiet area to reduce distractions from co-workers. On the other hand, if an employee is doing something that requires close collaboration with co-workers, such as learning a new software application or overseeing a new employee, then he or she can sit at a traditional desk located immediately next to other co-workers in an “open communication” type of seating arrangement.
Here is a more extensive list of all the different types of areas in an Activity-Based Work environment:
Open Office Areas – These are areas of the office workspace that have a more traditional type of seating arrangement where workers are seated very close to one another without any walls or cubicle barriers separating them. Typically, instead of each worker has his or her own individual desk, they share entire long workbenches. Each worker has his or her own individual area and items on the workbench, such as a computer monitor, keyboard, mouse, landline phone, and other accessories. Open office areas are suitable for highly collaborative work activities, such as activities where people may need to ask frequent questions of one another. Open office areas are popular among people working in sales and marketing. The biggest disadvantage of open office areas is noise and distractions from co-workers. Open office areas also lack complete privacy, which is not only needed for personal phone calls but also for direct business activities such as confidential phone calls with clients.
Privacy Areas – These are either small, enclosed, sound-proof booths or isolated quiet areas that allow a person to make confidential or private phone calls. These booths or areas may also be used to hold discreet meetings between two employees. Many private phone calls are totally unplanned and unscheduled. In those situations, an employee can quickly move to a private area immediately upon receiving a sensitive phone call from someone.
Quiet Focus Areas – These are areas where people can concentrate deeply without distractions from others. The type of setting can range from an isolated armchair to a tiny room that is sound-proof.
Meeting Areas – These are areas where groups of people can meet to discuss anything they need to discuss. The meeting area can be either an enclosed room or a lounge area. Meeting areas come in different sizes to accommodate different numbers of people. In some organizations, meeting areas are a limited resource, so people need to schedule and reserve time slots in advance for each meeting room. Impromptu meetings between two people can be held in lounge areas or small tables.
Lounge Areas – These are areas with very relaxed and cosy seating and will have such things as sofas, couches, armchairs, pod seats, and coffee tables. These areas are suitable for a variety of different activities including impromptu meetings, group meetings, breaks from work, and activities requiring focused concentration. For activities requiring focused concentration, it is a matter of personal preference whether the employee wants to work in a lounge area or at a traditional desk.
Café Areas – These are areas where people can sit down to eat lunch or snacks. They are ideal places for people to casually brainstorm new ideas, discuss the latest project, or run into old colleagues and find out what they are currently up to.
Activity-Based Working is a new trend that solves many of the problems of the older and more traditional type of office setup called theOpen Office Plan. The Open Office Plan has been around for many decades. With the Open Office Plan, people work very closely together in open spaces with almost no barrier between them. The Open Office Plan was actually the answer to many of the problems of the even older and more traditional cubicles and private offices.
The biggest weakness of the older Open Office Plan is the inevitable distractions and noise from co-workers which can block activities requiring focused concentration. Some people flourish when left alone to concentrate on their task while others flourish in a more social environment. The Activity-Based Working model combines the best of both worlds. It allows individuals to choose the type of work setting that is most suitable to them at any given moment in time.
A hot new design concept that is gaining traction is what is called the flexible workspace. Flexible workspaces feature desks, tables, and chairs that are easily movable and easily resizable. This is in contrast to the more traditional office plan where the locations of desks, chairs, tables, and other resources are fixed and unchanging.
For example, in a flexible workspace plan, a meeting table can be easily and quickly resized by attaching or detaching modular components of the table. These modular components can be easily moved around because they are on wheels. Desks and workstations can also be moved around easily because they are on wheels. This allows the dynamic creation of new teams and boosts collaboration between workers for short-term and long-term tasks.
Some flexible workspaces also feature unassigned seating arrangements. This means that each employee is not assigned to a specific desk or workstation and can choose any desk or workstation on a given workday. This concept is made by possible by today’s modern trend toward a paperless workplace where nearly all information is digitized by a computer. As such, the modern workplace is looking more and more like a simple desk and chair with only a computer, monitor, mouse, and keyboard. Many companies and organizations are also moving toward storing data on networks and remote file systems instead of local computers. These factors allow for unassigned seating arrangements in the workplace to become more practical and easy to implement.
Unassigned seating is thought to enhance collaboration between employees since today’s projects are becoming more dynamic and free-flowing. It is also thought to enhance overall job performance, as some employees would like to work where they can best concentrate and focus on their work.
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