Office design has come a long way over the last few decades...
Companies have traded dark, wood-paneled walls, thick carpet, and fluorescent lighting for sleek, minimalist decor, collaborative workspaces, and tons of natural light. Not to mention, workplace technology has received quite an upgrade as well.
In this article, we’re taking a look at why workplace design matters and how the right design can foster an environment fit for creativity, productivity, and collaboration.
Why is workplace design important?
Evolving workplace design is more than just a sign of the changing times—it’s a sign that the way people are working is changing, too.
As workplace culture moves towards one that prioritizes work-life balance, and technology enables the infrastructure for remote work, employees are beginning to expect different things from their employer. Namely, a workplace that caters to employee needs.
A well-designed office isn’t just crucial for existing employees—it may have an impact on your revenue and hiring process, too.
A study from YouGov, found that 85% of the 2,000+ employees surveyed agree that visitors and clients typically make a judgment based on a company’s workplace. What’s more, 79% say that if they’re looking for a new job, a well-designed workplace will make them more likely to want the position. In other words, the design of your office could mean the difference between landing new business and hiring your industry’s top talent.
The bottom line: workplace design has evolved based on future generations’ needs and work styles, and companies need to adapt to stay competitive.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the top benefits of excellent workplace design.
What are the benefits of great workplace design?
There are tons of benefits to great workplace design. Employees are the lifeblood of any business, and if they’re happy and healthy at work, their performance will reflect that.
Increased employee efficiency and satisfaction
According to Talent Works International, exceptional office design can increase employee happiness by 33%. Therefore, if employees feel like they have what they need to succeed, they most likely will. Happy employees mean productive employees.
Improved workplace atmosphere and culture
An office that makes employees feel inspired, motivated, and stress-free creates a positive environment. Elements like natural light, better air ventilation, ergonomic furniture, and collaborative workspaces make for the ultimate space to tackle any to-do list.
Better employee retention rates
A report from Steelcase Global found a strong correlation between high workplace satisfaction and employee engagement. Specifically, this was the case with employees that had more control over their physical workspace, like access to quiet spaces. Plus, the same study from YouGov found that 36% of employees would be less likely to take sick days if they worked in an inspiring workplace. If employees are engaged in the workplace, the likelihood that they will stay with an employer and produce better work increases.
But the benefits don’t just work in favor of your employees. They also boost your company’s bottom line.
Decreased employee absenteeism
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that employee absenteeism costs U.S. employers around $225.8 billion annually—or roughly $1,685 per employee. Employees who want to come to work are empowered and motivated by their environment.
Improved employee health
Healthy employees are happy employees. Taking care of employees should be a top priority for any company, and a well-designed workplace can help you do just that. Workplaces that are designed with ergonomic furniture, quiet workspaces, and community areas aren’t just nice to have—they’re essential for a happy, healthy, and productive office.
“It can be easy to overlook how the design of an office impacts the people within it,” says Nick Pryke, Design Director at Oktra, a leading design and build firm in the United Kingdom. “By conducting a thorough assessment of a workspace, we can begin to understand what works and what is holding back not just the evolution of a business, but the employees’ personal development too.”
Office design isn’t something companies can afford to overlook in today’s world. The success of the company could be at stake.
Emerging trends in workplace design
As the modern workplace changes, there are several trends that have completely changed the way people think about offices, especially in places like Silicon Valley, New York City, and other tech hotspots.
Let’s take a look at a few noteworthy emerging trends in office design.
Ranging from the innovative to the excessive, workplace amenities have come a long way from fake plants and grey cubicles. Often used to attract potential hires and keep existing employees happy, workplace amenities are now considered to be just as crucial as benefits like healthcare plans and 401Ks.
The offices of Booking.com are a great example of evolving amenities at work. Employees can enjoy outdoor spaces, a breakfast bar complete with a variety of refreshments, and private rooms to work in.
As for the more eccentric, nap pods, on-site wellness rooms, puppy therapy days, business hammocks, and even maker spaces are popping up in workplaces all over the world. These perks are often associated with millennial-run companies and work styles.
Data and disruption
Workplace technology has evolved quite a bit over the last few years. With smart devices like sensors, secure data storage systems, and elite software that streamlines company processes, modern offices are fully immersed in the digital age.
Because of this, offices are more efficient than ever, both in building sustainability and employee performance. For example, sensors that gather employee behavior data—like room occupancy trends—can help facilities managers make informed decisions about room and space usage.
In the same vein, automated HVAC systems that detect climate and lighting data and know employee temperature preferences can optimize on their own to fit those parameters.
Beyond and open plan
The right office layout for each company depends on a multitude of factors. These days, there are so many variations to how office space can be configured; it can be overwhelming.
One of the biggest trends in workplace design is the controversial open floor plan. Many companies are finding it is excellent for collaboration and team-building purposes, but it can also result in a lot of disruption.
In response to employee complaints about distractions due to an open office, hot desking—or giving employees the ability to seamlessly work at another desk in a quieter area—is a great solution. Also, the ability to work remotely or during flexible hours is another great alternative.
Noise levels aside, creating open spaces with natural light and biophilic design are important considerations when it comes to designing a space. The goal with biophilic design is to create a space infused with elements of the natural world. This type of design is more sustainable, can help companies save on energy costs, and can be a trackable key performance indicator (KPI) for facilities managers.
The important thing is to adopt the features that help your employees thrive and do their best work. Just because your competitor’s office has a bike-sharing program and an industrial kitchen doesn’t mean you have to, too..
Better design leads the way to a better workplace
Designing an office that fosters productivity and collaboration—plus providing all the technology that employees need to succeed—is a costly investment, but worth every penny. Creating a space that motivates employees to not only do their best work but to be their best selves is the recipe for outstanding company culture.
Article by Darin Herle, OfficeSpace