When it comes to tech inspired office designs, often enough, mastering a smart series of concepts can be understandably challenging for even the most experienced work horse. To help you take the edge off of creating innovative office designs we turned to Square Foot, a trusted firm celebrated for offering the best online real estate search and concierge services in the industry, for their sage advice and design cues.
The modern workplace is constantly evolving, and the uptick in new tech office space trends are a quintessential example of this evolution. Startup offices are paving the way for a holistic focus on employee wellness, retention, and engagement. But while these trends can be a source of inspiration for how to revitalize your workforce and achieve greater productivity, they can also showcase seemingly hot fads that don’t yield results.
So how do you distinguish between what’s fashionable and what’s here to stay? Crafting a thoughtful office space means more than just having more snacks and foosball tables. It means making strategic decisions about the ways your office will impact your overall cultural vision, while being both budget- and time-conscious. Especially in expensive markets like NYC or Los Angeles, where office space can cost up to 80 dollars per square foot per year, you want to avoid unnecessary, gratuitous expenditures (read: office kegerator).
In this feature, we will review the key points to consider when overhauling your office space design, as well as provide specific recommendations. We’ll also discuss what tangible results you can expect. Even the most traditional organizations will be able to embrace these versatile strategies and reap the rewards.
When developing your office space, it’s important to keep flexibility in mind – especially for smaller businesses that anticipate growth. This applies both to the kind of space you choose, and how you manage that space.
When searching for a space, plan for the future by looking into turnkey office providers and flexible leases. Externally-managed turnkey offices are furnished for your team to move into, making it easier to scale your org up or down as the need arises. Additionally, look into flexible lease options that allow you to circumvent traditional 5- to 10-year leases – signing a long-term lease isn’t prudent if you plan to hire significantly over the next few quarters or years. Though flexible lease options may cost a bit more month-to-month than a standard lease, the adaptability they’ll afford you will be worth it and will ultimately save on long-term costs.
If you don’t go for the turnkey option but still envision organizational changes in the near future, choose to fill your office with easily portable furniture that requires minimal assembly (or that can be painlessly disassembled). This affords your team the freedom to move offices with less effort and cash expended.
Employees that are more engaged don’t just perform better in their assigned tasks — they contribute to overall business imperatives. Measurable benefits include increased morale, increased average duration of employment, and a greater likelihood to recommend your company’s working environment to their peers. So it’s no surprise that we view employee engagement as one of the most important things to optimize for in the workplace.
Though the open-floor plan is becoming increasingly popular, especially in tech offices, it isn’t necessarily conducive to engagement – while collaboration is a net positive, too much office chatter is distracting and can take focus away from work. The key is to strike a balance between privacy and openness.
There are two main steps you can take to achieve this balance: the first is to install freestanding partitions between desks. Have them be about neck height – this leaves room for socialization if desired, but also creates a feeling of privacy that fosters individual productivity.
The second is to follow activity-based working principles by designating spaces intended for different types of work. Pick a few areas or rooms in which groups can feel free to collaborate without fear of disturbing others, while other zones in the office are strictly for those who want to work quietly. By giving employees the tools to work in the way that best suits their personal working style, you empower them to thrive.
To avoid falling for trendy traps, make sure each office-related decision and tactic is informed by a larger strategic goal. Whether it be choosing a new piece of furniture or deciding on an activity-based work area, operating with intentionality is important because it maximizes the value of the project and minimizes the overall cost.
If you don’t have specific workspace-related organizational goals, a good general question to keep in mind is: Is your office a space employees want to work in? Easy ways to make the office a place employees enjoy coming to each day are:
1) Having plants throughout the office – they can be hanging or on the floor, and should be low-maintenance
2) Choosing ergonomic chairs that maximize comfort
3) Ensuring that employees have spaces where they can focus and collaborate as needed
4) Keeping the temperature comfortable (68-76 degrees Fahrenheit)
5) Soft, natural lighting in lieu of harsh fluorescent bulbs (a bonus – you’ll save on electricity!)
Though many of these tweaks are small, they’ll have a sizable positive impact on the atmosphere of your office – and consequently, the productivity and workplace satisfaction of your employees.
Employ these simple but effective strategies to see a more satisfied team, improved retention, and higher productivity. Additionally, investing in your office will allow you to leverage the space as a branding and recruiting tool, helping you to attract top talent. Though you’ll likely need to do some fine-tuning to best address the needs of your company, following the steps outlined above will get you off to a great start.
Images Décor Aid