The workplace is ripe for reinvention and there are a number of trends and design ideas developing to help productivity and happiness that we are keen to look into, now that we are moving.
We are officially moving office this summer and we’re very excited about it!
It will be the start of a new chapter and it gives us an opportunity to design a completely new workspace that feels more like a studio than an office, which we feel is very important for a creative agency.
To help us decide on the design, we have taken to pinning pictures of workspaces, furniture and art on our wall to give us some inspiration and it’s safe to say the wall is getting quite full.
In the process of curating ideas, we have seen an impressive amount of research on trends and designs that can help increase employee happiness and productivity, so we wanted to share our thoughts.
Work is changing and so are we. This means that workplace design needs to change to keep up. The workplace wellness industry is now worth billions and companies are thinking more and more about how their office is designed as well as implementing nutrition and fitness into their culture.
Meditation space seems a popular idea and companies like Google and The Huffington Post are even encouraging quick refresher naps during the workday!
Both those ideas are a little out there, so here are some more sensible trends to consider for your business:
Start by bringing the outside in – Views of the outside are very important. Those with the best outdoor views perform 10-16% better than those with no view at all and research from the University of Washington indicates that “being within green space helps the mind to focus” and can help “alleviate mental stress and illness.”
Another interesting thing to consider is creating multipurpose spaces – Thinking about an open floor plan? Think again. Creativity and collaboration require the ability to retreat as well as connect, meaning that an office needs to have areas that promote team work but also closed off spaces where people can work quietly.
A lounge area and community area are worth considering – The advancement of technology and its enabling of wireless work means that offices can be more comfortable and relaxed. This may not work for every business but communal areas allow for more interaction and collaboration between colleagues and departments.
Colour and texture is also important – There has been a lot of research conducted around the benefits of organising areas by colour and mixing and matching textures throughout the office. It creates a more varied, inspiring and personalised work environment and can help your thoughts be more organised and bright.
Going with solid white walls in a room might feel crisp and clean, like a blank slate, but it might be time to repaint: “White doesn’t help us be productive, and most work environments are white, off-white, or gray,” says University of Texas, researcher Nancy Kwallek, who suggests the sterile quality isn’t conducive to work.
Blue is supposedly a good colour for creative types, as it is calming and promotes communication, trust and efficiency. But if you aren’t in the creative industry, blue would still be a good colour in a room that is used for brainstorming, as suggested by a University of British Columbia study.
The last trend we have seen coming up a lot is flexibility with your layout – Technology is an amazing thing. But it is also engineering physical activity out of our lives. You can go nearly an entire day without rising from your seat and that’s a really bad thing.
Alert, engaged and healthy workers are those who work in an environment that encourages movement so allowing people in your office to spend time standing, sitting and moving around will improve their health and well-being.
You may already be thinking about some of these things, but remember, it’s not just about designing the physical workspace. There are some other, more subtle things to think about if you are looking to improve productivity and happiness.
Temperature being one of them – According to research collated by Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, worker productivity can be affected by as much as 10% by the quality of the indoor environment. Performance and comfort peak at 21/22C, so stick close to that temperature where possible.
Environmental and noise pollution also factor into it – Old carpets and poorly ventilated rooms can have a big impact of productivity, while workplace noise can also be very distracting (to men more so than women apparently). Try to avoid treating your office like a library and if you don’t, consider allowing the use of headphones so people can block out noise when needed.
Finally, there is time – Research from The University of California states that productivity generally improves at about 11am before dropping off between 2 and 3pm.
But it’s not just the time of day that impacts work, with productivity dipping by 20% during the summer months and attendance dropping by 19%.
Not all trends have been so well received though. Google’s slightly crazy office design style with things like slides and ping-pong tables may seem like a cool idea, but it has also attracted plenty of criticism.
Office design expert Jeremy Myerson says it has a damaging impact on the workplace and the trend for treating offices as playgrounds is “a very bad idea”.
Whatever you choose to implement to improve happiness and productivity in your workplace, what you really need is an office dog!
Research by Banfield Pet Hospital shows that 70% of their survey respondents — including those whose companies do not allow pets — agreed that pets in the office improved working conditions.
It seems bringing your dog to work could go a long way to making your… ruff day at the arffice… that much better!
It’s stuff all worth thinking about right now, but if you are wondering what the workspace might look like in the future, Plusnet has done some research. Their Office of the Future document sheds some interesting light on the situation, predicting how we might be working in 2030.
From biometric registers and hologram receptionists to 3D food printers and nanopaint allowing walls to be used as screens. It seems everything is set to change, in both exciting and slightly scary ways!
Good office design and culture are extremely important and is a movement that is gaining popularity. As we have highlighted, a great office can increase productivity, employee happiness and can even help attract new talent and business. Just don’t go too overboard ok?