Organisations look to foster an environment that is comfortable and caters to the well-being of employees.
Of late, there seems to be a palpable change in the leading trends in office design. More and more, the focus seems to be on rendering an environment that is comfortable, easy and inspiring, rather than creating a workplace that only looks good. The importance of a good work environment in boosting productivity has gained attention with growing awareness, backed by research.
Hence there is a perceptible bend towards opting for particular styles in office design. With newer office spaces, it all boils down to functionality and comfort without due compromise in aesthetic appeal.
The intention is to innovatively manipulate the given office space to provide comfort, render work easy and create an uncluttered, organised workplace.
However work flow can be rather perplexing and unpredictable. Moreover, we seem to have moved on from gathering in one space to brainstorm. Increasingly, there is a surge towards what has come to be called as ‘activity settings’, that is, the creation of areas that cater to specific purposes. They constitute of spontaneous meeting areas, formal meeting spaces, individual work areas, project rooms and break areas.
Since the number of people working from home is on the rise, it is also crucial to appropriately design the place where you work at home.
With wires and cables endlessly wrapped over and around the work desks, it is no surprise that workstations present a messy, cluttered look that can hardly be appealing to the eyes. Using technologies that eschew the chaos on the desk, such as portable desktops, laptops and tablets make for an effective, efficient work environment. Working on portable gadgets also allows the employees to move freely around the office.
Office furniture that includes a smart storage system, cable management etc. also contributes to giving the workplace a clean and organised look, and makes it easier and hassle-free for the employee going about his work.
Acoustics and Lighting
Acoustics, lighting and other aspects of the cabin or workplace are significant in that they determine how efficiently the work can be carried out. Studies show that better workplace lighting -both artificial and daylight -tends to translate into reduced absenteeism in the office and a tolerable increase in productivity.
It can be quite distracting and irksome with too much noise in the office, but you cannot prevent work-related collaborations and discussions taking place. Yet it is equally necessary to create a quiet and peaceful environment where employees are able to work comfortably and efficiently. It is crucial that spontaneous or pre-planned meetings can take place in the office without unnecessarily disturbing others. To enable this, offices are installing systems that emit white noise or provide sound masking.
To boost performance beyond this, companies can also carefully plan the office layout, consider flooring materials, walls and ceilings, and even establish a firm behavioural protocol.
Keeping People in Mind
An essential aspect in office design relates to considering whether a particular, chosen design would suit the employees or not. When employees do not take too well to their office environment, it hinders their performance. Office designing, thus, should bear in mind the needs of the employees.
Recently, office design trends display the importance of allowing customisation of the workspace. Modular systems, which can be re-positioned as required, are set up in offices instead of the traditional cubicle arrangement. Customisation allows the employee to manipulate his workspace as per the person’s needs.
On the other hand, trends also focus on designing workplaces in a way that can foster spontaneous meetings and enable collaborations and the exchange of instantaneous ideas, such as doing away with cubicles and installing large desks to accommodate many people. At the same time, it is necessary to provide private, enclosed spaces to hold small, confidential meetings. Latest trends bend towards creating spaces that are less formal than the conference room and are more accessible to the people.
There are several factors that influence trailblazing office design trends. Currently, as may be gauged, increasing emphasis is put on employee comfort, creating an open, technology-infused and healthy work environment in the office.