Here’s what we have deemed the top 6 must-haves to increase efficiency, productivity, creativity, collaboration and retention in team members.
#1 – Lighting
Lighting is often overlooked simply because of the costs. If you are considering switching to LED, you may not see the return on your investment for up to 3 years, at times that can be a tough decision to make. However, having said that, having good lighting will immediately change your work environment for the better. With proper lighting people will not feel drained and stressed part way through the day. There will be a decrease in headaches and eye strain. Overall, people will feel energized for a longer period of time, which will result in more productive work habits and even longer work days.
Although you require overhead lighting for general lighting in the workplace, you can also add in different kinds of lighting such as task lighting on workstations and even wall sconces to create more layered solution. This will allow for lighting flexibility when people work at different times of the day and on different tasks throughout the day.
Ideally, you would get a light calculation for each workspace created so that you can make sure that you are choosing the correct type of lighting for the space and work environment. Making sure that you have the correct lighting for the correct spaces, will result in a change of behaviour and productivity. The correct type of lighting will also improve the workplace aesthetics and can push that brand identity.
#2 – Air
Air quality is sometimes not something that you even have control over. If there is the option of opening up some windows and letting some fresh air in, that is always the best option, however it is also not a very common option for businesses.
Some other simple solutions you can implement include making sure the air returns and supplies are cleaned regularly. Make sure that there is both a supply and return in each space, possibly more depending on the size of the workspace. Making sure vents and filters are cleaned on a regular basis will also increase the air quality.
Depending on the workplace, adding in greenery such as a living wall, or trees, or even the correct kind of plant will also clean the air and generally make your space a more welcoming, warm environment.
#3 – Environment
The workspace environment itself is sometimes the easiest and most cost effective change you can make with the most immediate results. Over the years designing offices, we have noticed a very common trend. When businesses move into a new space, or want to update their space, the first thing that they do is put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. That is a great idea, and with little investment, changes the space immediately. However, the decision of paint colours are often the biggest mistake. We see time and time again, people choosing “safe” colours like beige, or sand, or anything neutral that they believe, will feel warm and cozy. This really isn’t necessarily the best approach for an office space environment.
Generally speaking, they do not evoke the creativity and energy required in a workspace and end up making the space feeling dark and dull. And dull office space kills productivity. Going the completely opposite direction and choosing “screaming” bright colours with an overabundance, is not a wise idea either, as this ,might cause stress and uneasiness. Picking the correct colours for a workspace is a tricky thing to do, but when done correctly makes the biggest impact and creates excitement and positivity. Making sure the brand of the company is clear within the space is also critical.
If you walk into your workplace and look around and the feeling you get is that it could be anyone’s office, and that if your company moves out, another company could move in without changing anything, then your brand is non existent and there will most likely be a disconnect within the culture itself.
Making your space your brand, will help engage workers, help them feel a part of the bigger picture and want to help the business grow and excel. They will feel proud to be a part of a successful company and want to put that little bit of extra into their own work so that they can promote and perpetuate the brand.
The workplace environment also reflects the culture of the company. If your business is very compartmentalized and people are segregated from each other, this will affect the culture of the company. Generally speaking, you want the company all working together focused on the same goal and working together to achieve this goal. This doesn’t mean open workstations and shared desking necessarily, this can be achieved in many ways such as different work style areas, collaboration areas, marker boards for idea dumps, mentoring seating at workstations. There are many different ways of achieving this depending on your workspace, and culture.
#4 – Workstations
We would say, of all the changes you can make in your space, making sure everyone has a proper workstation will without a doubt make your office a more productive, happy, less strained office. Over the last few years, we barely even install any desks that are not height adjustable, the flexibility of being able to adjust the way your work throughout the day increases your focus, decreases back strain and pain, helps you lose weight and strengthen your muscles.
Improving the experience people have at work increases positivity, creativity and collaboration. Workplaces are changing, workstations are changing, technology has allowed for a more unique and complimentary style of working. Everyone is productive differently. Providing different styles of workstations throughout your office engages team members to move around, find a more comfortable or effective place to work, collaborate, present, meet or take a break at that moment.
Throughout the day, people may require to work at their own desk, feel connected to the workplace, they may also need to meet with a few colleagues to discuss a project or idea. Potentially set-up a webinar, or video conference, move to a place that is private and silent for maximum concentration. By creating a flexible work environment, you are creating a happier, healthier more collaborative and culture focused workplace.
#5 – Seating
It is impossible to talk about workstations without discussing seating. Although we are trying to get people up and out of their seats, when they are sitting, having an ergonomic, flexible, adjustable, appropriate seat is a must for a healthier place. Provide seating that fits the end users, that fits the work space and work environment. Do not allow people to share seating, as each chair should be customized to the person sitting in it. Once a year have a review of how to properly sit in a chair, how to adjust the chairs and why it is important to focus on the ergonomics of the private workspace. The seating outside of the workspaces should also be considered. If there are training areas or typically long meetings, make sure the seating is comfortable and appropriate for long periods of time in a sitting position, as well as able to fit all kinds of different sized bodies. Make sure that they are made of materials that breathe and that are flexible.
#6 – Lunchroom/Lounge Area
It is important to ensure that your employees have access to a lounge area and kitchen stocked with cold/hot drinks and snacks.
It gives them an opportunity to ‘recharge’, hang out with other people or simply take a break.
Overall having the right pieces: layout, space plan, lighting, seating and workstations, is all very critical in the workplace. Not a single office can be set-up the same way. Every office runs differently, utilizes technology differently, has a different culture and workplace habits. Having a space that looks attractive is important, having a space that speaks to the brand identity is important but having a space that is built for people is most important. The objective is to create a workplace in which spending eight hours a day is not like putting in time.
If you have any questions about improving your workspace, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to come and visit your space, make recommendations and suggestions. Looking forward to connecting. firstname.lastname@example.org
** Please note all projects shown, were projects designed by Studio Forma Interior Design; www.studioforma.ca, photography; www.wanderingeye.ca, Single black chair shown, Herman Miller Embody Chair;www.hermanmiller.com***