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How to get the fundamentals of office design right

By Tushar Agarwal, CEO of Hubble

Whether your company is just launching or growing, your surroundings can have a real impact on how your team works. Employers may place workplace design low down on their list of priorities, especially when thinking about cost and the resource needed to address it. Nevertheless, it’s important that a company’s workspace helps teams feel at home, freeing them up to produce their most creative work.

The employee environment 

Firstly, a business has to ask itself what it needs from an office. Thinking large-scale, is the office a practical, convenient commuting location for employees? On a micro level, companies should think about the desk capacity if the company is growing and whether the office design fosters an environment of community and collaboration amongst its teams. 

It’s vital that a company takes into account the opinions and preferences of all employees. This can easily be done by sending out a Google form asking for an office wish list; ideas can include location, breakout areas, coffee and beer on-demand, or even pet-friendly facilities. Leaving employees out of the loop can risk damaging morale, so it’s important to understand what employees would like and build an office that reflects these preferences and the company’s culture. The way that your business functions internally can have considerable influence on how it appears externally; office design can help create an identity and positive brand image if team members love where they work. 

Enhancing productivity 

It’s true that thoughtful office surroundings can increase a team’s productivity by up to 20%, which can roughly equate to an extra day’s work per week. A starting point for a productive environment is the architectural design; an intelligent layout is key to how employees spend their time throughout the day. Cool breakout zones, hot-desks for super concentrated work, perhaps a sunny rooftop for phone calls, and more recently child-care facilities all work to create an environment that teams love.   

While it might foster team bonding to have an open-plan set-up, it may not always be conducive to employees’ concentration. This is why it’s important to also provide alternative workspaces that allow employees to do “deep work”, ultimately boosting productivity. Breakout spaces can mean employees don’t feel chained to their desks and can promote flexible working where different tasks call for different settings. These can range from funky sofa areas and phone booths to outdoor seating and private desks. 

Free food and drink amenities can also make a huge difference to overall morale. Some workspaces have their own baristas and beer on tap, others provide high quality machines so teams can get their morning caffeine fix. 

Decor is where companies can create a totally unique environment. Plants and beautiful biophilia indoors not only adds character to the office, but it’s been proven to reduce stress levels and improve psychological health. Lighting can also be a real mood changer and dramatically change the atmosphere of your workspace. 

This decor should factor into the wider goal of personalising the office space to ensure it’s reflective of the company’s ethos. From brand colours and brand products to displaying awards and employee achievements, physical embodiments of the company are brilliant for generating an inclusive and inspiring culture that can help employees feel proud of their work for the company. 

An office for everyone 

In a world of rooftop terraces and pet-friendly spaces, it can be easy to get carried away by the possibilities of innovative office features. Childcare facilities, 24-hour access and on-site gyms are increasingly popular additions to offices across the globe. However exciting and beneficial these facilities and features are, employers must prioritise the basic office needs first. A solid and intelligent office design should be built out before employers can let loose with exploring new avenues for improving the company workspace. 

In addition to boosting current employee satisfaction, office design can also influence first impressions of the company. An attractive and comfortable workspace helps employees do their best work, and in turn creates an environment of creativity and productivity. 

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay