Designing an inspiring and creative office space is no small feat. The office environment needs to be comfortable for its workforce, conducive to collaboration and productivity, as well as foster camaraderie among the staff. At the same time, you want to make sure that space is aligned with larger organisational/business values right from the beginning.
The kind of office space you choose to create will depend on the nature of the business and your ambitions for it. But irrespective of the type of company, the following ideas will benefit anyone who is looking at creating a workplace that its employees will love being a part of.
Strike a balance between open spaces and cubicles
Cubicles are so 90s.
They lead to isolation and smack of bureaucracy. It has also been suggested that they may stifle creativity by creating a claustrophobic environment for the employees.
Open office spaces might not work either. Everyone needs a little privacy to be able to focus better on their work and boundaries do need to be drawn. Besides, too much mingling may also lead to gossiping among employees, causing wasted hours.
Neither too open nor too segregated – opt for a seating arrangement that is a mix of the two. It will minimise distractions and encourage employee communication to the right degree.
Have open communal spaces for discussions and collaborations. And provide every team in the office with their own designated area where they can work together away from typical office distractions.
Encourage employees to customise their workspace
It’s a smart move for start-ups to allow employees to set up their immediate workspace with their favourite items. Knick-knacks like coffee mugs, motivational quotes, family photos, and posters of their heroes can help create a comfortable environment and make it easier for the employees to focus. The cosy and inviting workspace they have created for themselves might even give them a reason to look forward to getting to the office every single weekday!
Being surrounded by personal items, as long as they do not clutter the desk, has psychological benefits. One study quotes “Individuals may consciously or subconsciously take comfort from the items with which they surround themselves at work, and these items may help employees to maintain emotional energy in the face of the stresses that come from their work…”
Furthermore, being able to customise one’s workspace helps employees to break the everyday monotony and rejuvenate themselves, which in turn increase their productivity.
Extend this freedom to the digital space as well. Fearful that any freedom they grant their employees would be abused, companies have a habit of setting lofty goals to enhance engagement and productivity. But more often than not, this results in draconian workplace rules. Monitoring employees’ internet use and thinking that sites like Facebook and Twitter have no business in the workplace is actually counterproductive to fostering an environment of happy, engaged employees.
Make use of invigorating colours
Who wants a workplace that looks sterile and devoid of personality? For instance, walls in a room might feel crisp and clean, like a blank slate, but if they’re in your workplace, it’s time to repaint. The colour palette and tones selected for any work environment have the potential to have a major impact on everything from employee productivity, workplace wellbeing and importantly, their general mood.
The brand has a huge role to play as brand colours have the powerful ability to connect people, including staff to a brand and the associated brand values – think about some of the biggest brands out there and you can more than likely associate a colour (or colours) with them.
It is important to not just look at the colour of walls but to also look at injecting colour through office furniture, the ceiling (especially exposed ceiling), flooring/carpet and also by using natural surfaces/textures like rustic benches or living walls to introduce some earthy tones.
Another way of injecting some colour into the workplace is through graphics, artwork, and features like living walls which have proven popular. Incorporating art into the workplace can have a majorly beneficial impact.
Repair plumbing issues pronto
Start-ups are often short on cash. But that is not an excuse for providing a shabby workplace.
Many believe they’ll be okay leaving plumbing issues at the workplace on the back burner. After all, they’re the only workplace or complex a few hours per day. What’s the worst that could happen? The sad truth is that ignoring workplace plumbing issues can lead to a series of problems that even an emergency plumber can’t fix.
Having to close for repairs: If customers and employees become uncomfortable with the work environment and facilities because of plumbing issues, you may need to shut down and close shop to adequately address those problems.
Lost revenue: Every minute your business remains closed while plumbing problems are fixed means money lost from customer sales and employee productivity.
Therefore, act: Workplace inspections should be held regularly. Schedule planned maintenance checks with a plumber and make sure you are on top of any questions or concerns that may be building up in your workplace.
Guest post by David.
David has amassed more than 20 years of experience in the service repair and renovation business. Through MrWright.sg, he has helped both commercial and residential clients to build their offices and dream homes within their budget. His innovative and can-do attitude earned him many repeat customers. Through his articles, he hopes to share information nuggets to help businesses and consumers save time and money.