Office life is the reality of the world we work in – whether that’s the super snazzy offices of Google or the clean-cut corporate offices inside Manhattan’s high-rises – but what does office design say about the business within?
Gone are the days of offices with identical cubicles, reminiscent of the late 20th century administration aesthetic. Nowadays, perception on exactly what constitutes a productive office space has changed dramatically. With the headline-grabbing offices of Google highlighting the evolving format of the modern workplace, we can see that businesses are more open than ever to designing spaces for workers to not only exist in, but thrive in too.
While the search engine giants might have enviable office spaces, it’s obvious that not all businesses are suited to (or can afford) to follow this famously creative workplace format that continues to catch the attention of workers across the globe – but that doesn’t mean they can’t take steps towards building a brighter future for their business.
In today’s post, the design experts from Tiles Direct will be honing in on office design, offering some insight on what our offices say about the businesses we’re building and how we can take small steps to create a space employees will love to spend time in.
A reflection of culture
With research consistently showing us that workplace culture is the most important factor to take into account when designing office spaces, it makes sense that the overtly colourful and out-of-the-box offices of Google reflect the innovative culture they’ve worked hard to create since its inception in 1998. With culture are the core of an office space, design is best looked at from two angles: 1) the needs of the business and 2) the needs of the workers.
The collaborative and creative approach, often fostered by marketing, design and digital agencies, forms itself around a transparent approach to office design. This translates into open-plan work spaces, a stimulating set of colours and even arcade games – getting workers socialising, thinking creatively and keeping teamwork at the heart of the working day.
Comparatively, workers in accountancy or technical industries will likely require an entirely different space to work most productively. Businesses in sectors like these tend to adopt a noticeably more closed-off approach to their office design, encouraging workers to focus on individual tasks, rather than spend large chunks of time talking and collaborating with others. The concept stems from the premise that a clean-cut workspace will promote order and continuity, rather than free-flow and spontaneity. This workspace works best for both the business and the team, as allowing workers their own space away from the crowd allows them to concentrate on a task-by-task basis and avoid unnecessary distraction – improving productivity and efficiency across the board.
Ultimately, the majority of businesses are likely adopt a hybrid of both, as the above examples represent either end of the modern office design spectrum. A sales environment is a clear example of this, where staff need individual space to administer calls, as well as the opportunity to nurture the competitive aspects of a sales environment with the rest of the team. So, whether you need a space that will impress clients or an office area that will boost employee productivity, you no longer have to choose.
A reflection of management
Though many office workers would enjoy the freedom to customise their workplace, and research suggests staff may even work better as a result, the final decision on design will almost always rest in the hands of top-tier staff – namely managers and directors. Because of this, office design plays a telling tale in the management style of any business, and is a real opportunity for a business to shine.
Throughout their careers, most employees will be met with the ‘distance’ leader, unlikely to be seen anywhere but inside their closed-door office. While alone time is certainly not a bad thing – especially considering the high pressure responsibilities many leadership positions entail – shying away from the rest of the team is something that more modern buildings tend to avoid. An office space that’s been designed with management in mind means you can work more closely with your colleagues – and this can be exceptionally motivating for staff.
Equally, meeting room design has adopted to the changing technological needs and social environment of the workplace in recent years – ensuring businesses have a meeting space that’s suitable for your daily team meetings or monthly client get togethers. If most of your big ideas are sparked in the midst of a brainstorm meeting, then it makes sense to encourage free-thinking and collaboration to draw out the best suggestions. Instead of a stock corporate boardroom, in which the manager takes centre-stage at the head of the table, businesses can do more to stimulate engagement by creating multi-functional and interesting boardrooms with ample natural light, splashes of colour and even some greenery to stimulate meeting productivity and employee happiness.
By waving goodbye to traditional, tired offices and embracing more flexible, open-plan workspaces, businesses could see a boost in collaboration, productivity and job satisfaction.