At the centre of any successful organisation is a productive and motivated workforce. Companies are now more than ever under increasing pressure to attract, retain and motivate the best staff in their industry in order to compete. Providing an inspiring, well designed and flexible workspace is one of the ways in which businesses can impress and improve their internal processes and external prospects.
Here, our team at Woodhouse look at the top 5 workspace trends in 2017 to make your workspace, work smarter.
1. Increased emphasis on wellbeing in the workspace.
With the rise of technology and the increase in hours spent hunched over computers with little or no exposure to sunlight and the outside world, the health and wellbeing of staff has become an influential factor in the happiness and productivity of a workforce. The idea of creating an office ‘third space’ has been around for a while – this informal area between a meeting room and your desk is a popular option for companies looking to offer a more relaxed, creative and inspiring workspace for employees and will begin to become the norm.
Additionally, the importance of design and layout in a workspace cannot be understated. Staff access and exposure to windows, greenery, sunlight and views have all been positively linked to productivity improvements and increases in staff creativity and wellbeing, a trend that is set to gain traction in the years to come as companies compete to impress prospective employees and clients alike. Government Cycle to Work Schemes are also having impacting the thinking around how workspaces can be created to accomodate cyclists, as highlighted from the image below.
Cycle into work – the Alphabeta development in Shoreditch, London.
2. Designing workspaces for culture, not generations
Modernity and forward thinking are often traits companies wish to have attributed to their corporate culture, however as Nichola Gillen, global practice lead of strategy at AECOM recently highlighted within Property Week, the increasing diversity amongst modern workforces must be accounted for when considering an office refurbishment. Focusing an office design on Generation-Y might seem like the way forward, however as these millennials could be up to five decades younger than colleagues working in the same firm, the risk of alienation is real.
A focus on flexibility allowing for different working styles is key to ensuring staff have the opportunity to take responsibility for the ways in which they work most effectively. Desk-sharing and providing collective work areas can offer this flexibility which provides opportunities for improved collaboration and knowledge sharing, leading to higher levels of productivity and staff satisfaction.
3. Using integrated furniture; inspiring flexibility creativity
The office furniture industry has come leaps and bounds in recent years, and, short of a full workspace redesign, offers a cost-effective means to improve a working environment without breaking the bank.
From simple improvements, such as seamless storage solutions minimising clutter or the addition of attractive and adequate furniture to motivate staff, right through to more off-the-wall ideas like the installation of private booths and collaborative pods or funky decor to impress visitors; the furniture used in a workspace can have a huge influence on the mood and atmosphere within it. Colour schemes and material choices can be equally important, with 2017 set to see a rise in the subtle use of eye-catching colours and natural materials to overtake in a bid for companies to take a more eco-friendly approach to their business strategy.
4. Move the outdoors in; add some sunshine to your day
‘Biophilic design’ is the industry buzzword whereby we’re really discussing the innate need for people to be exposed to nature and other forms of life. We touched on the importance of environment in Point 1, however this topic goes beyond wellbeing in the workspace, and can impact the lives and welfare of staff outside of office hours in terms of sleep quality and general contentment, which will directly influence performance on the job.
An abundance of natural light, offering quiet spaces and the use of indoor plants and sustainable materials are all elements thought to improve an offices biophilic design and in turn have an inspiring impact on employees. Amazon have taken this idea a step further with a giant glass biosphere being built outside their HQ in Seattle due for completion in 2018. The structure will be kept at a mild temperature and offer a huge park like environment for employees to escape to, work from or socialise within.
Due for completion in 2018
Although this concept is way beyond the budget of most firms, there are still many affordable means through which companies can connect their employees with the outdoors on a less grandiose scale that can lead to invaluable motivational benefits.
5. Catering for increased collaboration among employees
The idea of working in silos is dying as a means of operating. More often knowledge gathering, sharing, collaboration and partnerships are the driving forces of the innovation and competitive edge that companies need to stay one step ahead in their field. The design and layout of a workspace is a key facilitator of this. The challenge of turning a company’s thought process from that of several departments, into one of community can be addressed in some part by the workplace structure. Considering flexible working arrangements, the clever utilisation of space and offering a comfortable working environment are all important facets of creating exceptional workspaces that inspire harmony and teamwork within an organisation.
If you would like to find out more about making your workspace work smarter, contact us here and we’ll be happy to help.