When creating future-focused offices, what are you thinking about? Is it what technology to use and what the latest design trends are? Or is it on what your employees are really craving from their workspace and work culture?
With so much experience in office fit outs, we’ve found that the key to developing a great space for your business starts with developing a solid understanding of how your employees work best and reflecting on what they need and want in the future.
In light of the work-from-home era, one of the many appealing factors that returning to the office will have is the opportunity to connect, collaborate and communicate with colleagues in person (reported by 67% of remote employees).
Which poses the question: how can we create offices that allow for more effective collaboration?
Designated Collaborative Spaces
If collaboration is the goal, then it should go without saying that you need to have designated spaces to collaborate in your office such as meeting rooms and bookable workspaces.
At the Glide head office our team recently created a new boardroom that provided a safe and welcoming space for employees to collaborate. Within this office they also had smaller pod-like meeting spaces where pairs and small groups could gather and share ideas in private.
Informal Collaborative Spaces
The social aspect of being at work has been sorely missed while working from home – virtual solutions simply cannot replace the spontaneous and informal collaboration that happens when you bump into someone in the kitchen or overhear someone at their desk.
To successfully reintroduce employees back into the office and support them as they once again re-adjust their working lives, more consideration needs to be put into how to make these informal office collaborations possible.
Throughout your office fit out or refurbishment, you should be looking to create more breakout areas such as clusters of soft chairs and sofas or comfortable places to sit in the kitchen.
During our McColls office fit out project, designed by Field, we created a range of informal spaces where employees could collaborate on projects or simply socialise and form those crucial bonds with each other.
To facilitate collaboration and socialising in the main workspace, you may also want to think about how you set up desks and workbenches – try not to block off eye-contact from others since this can leave employees feeling isolated and alone.
Flexible Collaborative Spaces
We outlined at the start that for your office space to work, you need to understand what employees truly need from it. This means ensuring that you know what everyone needs – not just one department or seniority level. While your board members and management teams may need large meeting tables for everyone to sit and discuss at, more junior members may prefer smaller environments where group members can all scribble on a whiteboard.
Successful office fit outs or refurbishments should result in a range of flexible collaborative spaces that can meet the needs of everyone in your business. You can either achieve this by creating multiple types of collaborative space – or you can provide spaces that can be easily adapted depending on the needs of those occupying them at the time.
With all the varying needs of the Department for Work & Pensions, we created a range of collaborative spaces including smaller meeting tables, private offices and large boardrooms during the fit out of their new Job Centre in Yate.
While many miss the office environment, there is still a large part of the workforce that would like to keep working from home (at least part-time). You should also think about how you can maintain the collaborative atmosphere with employees working remotely – are your meeting rooms set up to accommodate remote and in-person workers with the right tech set up?
The ability to collaborate in person will likely be the selling point of your office for employees who have become accustomed to remote working. Businesses who frame their office as a ‘space to collaborate’ will likely find it easier to bring employees back, grow company culture and improve productivity.
Working culture has evolved massively over the last 18 months and our workspaces need to evolve with it.
Need to get your office up to date? Get in touch with our team to discuss your project.