The best office layouts support the interaction of your team. Providing the right tools for them to function seamlessly with each other and still perform their individual tasks is an office design challenge that is in a constant state of evolution. In a 2016 workplace innovation survey conducted by Gensler, a statistical link was discovered between the functional design of the workspace and the quality of work and innovation ascribed to it by the employees. Creating a high-performance workplace creates an ecosystem of innovation that is a direct predictor of your staff performance.
Designing a workplace of innovation starts with some thinking ahead of the curve on your office environment and looking at the way your team functions. Bottomline aside, strong correlations between form and function are part of every office. Investing in a more functional workspace and managing the functions as they relate to performance is key. Eliminating distractions, like the sensory overloads of too much light and noise, are also factors. Striving to maintain a balance, with the four identifiable work processes in the average office, will keep your team creating and performing at their peak.
COLLABORATION: The collaborative workstyle has become an important factor in not only talent retention but in the success of the overall office. Employees and executives concur that lack of connection within a teamimpacts the outcome of a task or project. When communication falls short, so does annual revenue. Creating a culture of connection and fostering evolvement through impromptu meeting spaces within each department is a great way to encourage this kind of connection. Since not all departments are on the same timeline, providing touchdown places for communication to happen in the moment will encourage open discussion. Empowering the entire workforce to choose when and where they work and collaborate can be a game changer for connection and productivity.
FOCUS: Focused tasks need a dedicated area, which is a challenge in the open office concept. Studies have concluded that the average employee spends nearly 30% of their day fielding interruptions and regrouping. Providing areas of refuge that can offer some solitude, as well as provide other functions like small meetings spaces or private training, are a great solution. Incorporating sound-absorbing acoustic furniture such as wall panels, room dividers, and modular pods can also extend much-needed privacy to small furniture groupings disbursed around the office.
EDUCATION: Adaptable spaces that encourage the ability for education and training are essential to any business on an upwardly mobile trajectory. This is an opportunity to inject some creativity into your office plan by incorporating areas that can multitask. Diversify beyond the desk includes a variety of group workspaces in and out of the office. Innovative office spaces encourage adaptability and the interchange of ideas. Encouraging your team to constantly advance and learn is important. Creating spaces that can transform to meet the needs of training with furnishings and storage solutions that can adapt quickly will not only maximize your office footprint, but it will foster continual growth opportunities. Informal training areas for self-study can be strategically located alongside the staff lounge or coffee bar, using comfortable seating. Dedicated media learning labs with headphones, integrated tech tables, adjustable height desks or even treadmill desks are other innovative solutions.
SOCIAL INTERACTION: A lack of break in routine causes burnout and contributes to the lack of focus that can cause mistakes which infringe on quality control. Innovative workspaces address this in creative ways that not only encourage their employees to take breaks but provide numerous opportunities for mingling among departments. Breakrooms that become more lounge oriented with small groups of seating and tables can double as a casual meeting space. Providing free wifi to allow personal check-ins is also a bonus. Coffee bars and healthy snacks are a great upgrade to traditional vending machine fare. Creating a coffee bar multiuse environment in your lobby can not only provide a warm welcome for guests but a great staff breakaway space for morning mingling and conversation. The receptionist is often cut off from what the rest of you are doing, so this offers a chance to connect. Accessible technology to visitors is another way to put you lobby to work. Use design to connect your visitors and employees to the mission and vision behind your company.
The Gensler workplace innovation survey found that the most innovative employees had the option to work across a variety of different spaces and functionalities within the office and used them all to their advantage. The survey concluded that the key findings on the habits of top innovators include:
Innovators report spending only 74% of the work week at the office; less innovative employees spend 86% of time at the office
Innovators are at least 2 times more likely to have access to, and use, cafeterias, coffee shops, and outdoor spaces
Innovators report 2 times more access to amenities including specialty coffee, restaurants, gyms, and childcare facilities
Innovators overall report 2 times more choice in when and where to work
Creating an environment of innovation takes some forethought and planning. It is the office design initiative of the future. It begins with connection. Remaining connected to your team through good old fashioned communication is still the best way to determine what the upgrades and changes need to be to create a culture of expansion within your organization.
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