In the last few years, the idea of personal offices and closed doors has begun to disappear along with flip phones and the old-fashioned pen and paper. The new trends in office space design are said to increase productivity and comfort among employees while creating a team environment between individuals in related departments.
These four trends are now being seen in office spaces both locally and beyond; the ideas may help to improve productivity and innovation in your business, too.
1. Rethinking the Office Break Room
Up until recent years, office kitchens were kept out of sight from the public and remained undesirable to employees in an attempt to ensure that workers didn’t linger on their breaks. But now, companies are beginning to see the office kitchen as a gathering place such as in our homes. A large portion of interaction in our homes occurs in the kitchen and around the dinner table- so why can’t that setting continue in the work place? By creating a more inviting break room, employees are given more freedom and time away from their desk without sacrificing time devoted to work.
DJ recently worked with two clients who expanded their kitchen areas to feel more like a gathering space similar to what would be found in a large home. A more comfortable and inviting kitchen area may pay off through increasing collaboration and impromptu meetings between co-workers.
Other businesses have also stocked their break room with barista tables bar stools, a coffee bar, and healthy snacks in hopes of encouraging fellowship among employees.
2. Making Room for Play
Most people tend to ditch their playful nature on their way to work, taking on a more serious persona as they enter their workplace. Playfulness in the workplace helps to break down self-conscious barriers which in turn can result in new ideas with much more creativity. This playful spark is why we are seeing larger companies incorporate amenities such as basketball courts or ping pong tables within office space.
Another popular option is to create spaces for exercise and wellness activities.
3. Creating Team Work Spaces
Team work spaces really isn’t new; however, the concept was abandoned for a time but is re-appearing on the scene. Leadership, equipped with better understanding in how to guide the collaborative process, creates office space with the goal of encouraging teamwork, group think, and synergy.
Not only are work spaces popping up in the work place, they’re popping up in other areas as well.
Consider the library: What once was a place that would glean a librarian’s stare to quiet a flock of seagulls is now creating group work zones for student groups to meet.
Some libraries are even building technology zones or extra meeting rooms for non-library groups to meet or for tutoring. DJ Construction’s Service Group, led by Robb Huber, recently had the opportunity to renovate the Syracuse Public Library in such a way as to honor these types of collaborative areas.
4. Bringing Nature Indoors
While staying warm and out of the rain is important, we can’t forget how one’s disposition can be changed immediately with a little bit of fresh air. Ron Friedman, author of The Best Place to Work, which tells of the art and science behind creating an extraordinary workplace, explains that an employee’s overall satisfaction may be a result of very basic needs, such as an abundance of natural lighting, a beautiful landscape, and even a potted plant.
Exposing employees to nature, whether you bring the outdoors in or increase natural lighting throughout the office, can raise productivity as much as 12 percent due to the higher concentration and productivity, says Friedman.