OPENING UP YOUR OFFICE - TRENDS 2015


Open concept office floor plans have characterized modern offices for the past several years. But dissatisfaction with these wide open spaces, along with advances in technology that have brought about changes in how and where we can work and concerns about employee health, has caused many forward-looking companies to head back to the drawing board to make their office design more reflective of modern working styles.

Trends we will see in 2015:

COLLABORATIVE SPACES

Working pods also encourage employees to collaborate outside the boundaries of meeting rooms and interact with individuals in other departments that they may normally never have a reason to interact with. Lounge seating and playful gathering spaces that promote socialization will increasingly become the norm.

THE WORKPLACE AS A HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Workspaces are becoming more casual. Rather than stiff leather chairs, formal desks and closed doors, today's workplaces are incorporating breakout areas, or zones, of clustered comfy couches, hammocks or bean bag chairs, giving employees an opportunity to create "experiences" that energize and inspire them. Employees are encouraged to escape their desk and set up shop wherever they feel most at ease. The focus is on comfort, employers want employees to stay as long as they feel like so they'll be the best version of themselves.

A BREAKDOWN OF BARRIERS

You can thank the open office movement for changing the hierarchy of working relationships. No longer do CEOs and senior management view the corner office as a luxury. Instead, more and more CEOs are moving to the floor, encouraging collaboration and a sense of community. Sharing the floor allows management to stay involved, know what's going on and participate in a more meaningful way.

A BALANCE BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE

While office spaces are becoming more collaborative, there's still a need for private areas to have a phone conversation or a closed-door meeting. More and more companies are mixing up their space design—incorporating open desks and impromptu break areas as well as small meeting spaces, phone rooms, and conference rooms to support the various types of work that are required in a given day.

A FOCUS ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH

In addition to back and neck pain associated with sitting at our computer desks all day, research has proven that our sedentary lifestyle takes a toll on our health, increasing our risk of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In response to the chair's threat on our lives, more and more workplaces are encouraging people to move throughout their day. Desk alternatives including standing desks have risen in popularity and many tech companies including Google and Facebook now use standing desks, arguing standing promotes greater productivity. But furniture alternatives aren't the only way companies are promoting physical health through office design. Many offices are adding bicycle storage and spaces for squeezing in a quick workout or stretch while at work, encouraging employees to cycle to work and take a more active lifestyle.

Three reasons why an open office could benefit your new office:

You're tuned in to the office

If you sit in the same general vicinity as your team, you'll hear more of what they're discussing--good and bad. It's not like you need to function like some sort of NSA operative, but if you're aware of people's concerns, you have an opportunity to weigh in and offer guidance when it's needed. When people need to meet privately with each other or with you, just make sure they have a place to do so that has doors.

You're more approachable

You may envision a corporate setup as being very compartmentalized and the kind of place where the staff don't feel comfortable talking to the executives. A layout where the junior employees are stuck in the middle and the senior-level people are tucked away behind closed doors, kind of like Mad Men. Setting up Managers desks near the front door and, coincidentally, next to the kitchen, means people are walking by all the time and are able to ask questions to get the job done.

Improvement of office staff communication

Being in an open office can affect productivity. To get around that, you might adopt a policy that when people need to work undisturbed they're free to work from home. And at the office, make sure everyone has a pair of headphones, and that the rule is when headphones are on, it's code for "Do not disturb." An open office can improve communication so it's nice to hear people actually talking to one another, which happens naturally in an open office.

To speak to us about your new office refurbishment contact us here or call 0207 947 4027 for a free, no obligation quote.

Last modified on Thursday, 26 March 2015

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