Workspaces are moving beyond the idea of boring cubicles and drab furnishings. A rising number of offices are sporting modernized spaces with plenty of spots for employees, not both work comfortably, and relax throughout the day, balancing these two leads to peak performance. Many recent studies have found that when employers provide their workers with more comfortable office and recreational spaces, they are more efficient. (1) Instead of finding any old desk for employees, by making sure that they have contemporary office furniture that provides all-day support, they will be happier in their office space.
Posh Meeting Spaces
In offices where gathering with colleagues or clients is commonplace, having an updated meeting space is a must. A comfortable place to brainstorm, converse, meet and share ideas are key. The more updated the space, the more productive the meeting. By upping the wow factor in terms of style and offering super comfortable places to sit, posh meeting space will help to woo your clients – new and old.
Fun Social Spaces
In addition to meeting spaces, many updated offices are providing social spaces for employees. These are casual gathering areas complete with comfortable furniture to spend a few minutes meeting with other employees. With the increase in private workspaces, it is important to balance privacy and socialization. Social spaces are great places for a casual conversation to decompress throughout the day.
Are Game Rooms a Good Idea?
Some offices are now even including games rooms in their design to let loose during the workday. The question is whether these game rooms are a distraction or a boost to employee productivity. Research has shown that you don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar corporation to sport a fun gaming space for your employees. According to Inc.com, one of the top ways the most successful companies keep employees happy and engaged is to offer gaming as part of their workday. (2) They outline that gaming serves two very important purposes for workers:
1. Gaming gives employees a way to unwind and engage in an activity that doesn’t add to their stress level.
2. By offering multiplayer games like foosball or pool, you can promote bonding between co-workers, which leads to a stronger team mentality.
Some of the best office game rooms can be found on Skype, Google, and Amazon. By allowing employees to blow off steam, bond with colleagues, and de-stress, an office game room may be just the thing your company needs.
The Good Ole Office Kitchen
The water cooler. The lunchroom. The break room. This office space has long hailed as an iconic spot where employees meet during their workday. Whether it is on television or in the movies, the office kitchen is the place to be. Many companies have recognized the importance of this place of assembly and are moving well beyond a small table alongside an ever-dirty microwave. Many office kitchens are pushing the limits, just like kitchens in the home. Some of the features that are trending in office kitchens include:
• A separate kitchen and eating space (3)
• Including a cafeteria or coffee shop as part of the office kitchen
• A kitchen stocked with healthy dining options gives employees the ability to grab a snack and curb the early afternoon lag (4)
• Many company kitchens are becoming joint workspaces where you can dine, chat, work and collaborate (5)
• In the past, office kitchens were generally located as close to the workspace as possible to decrease time away from work. We now know that getting up and moving throughout the day is helpful. Now kitchens can be found further away, often on a separate floor. (6)
Open Layout Versus Office Partitions
For many years, the idea of an open concept office workspace became the rage. The idea was that it would create an open environment where all employees are seen as equals. Unfortunately, in many offices, the experiment was a fail. Imagine you are about to take a very important call with a potential client. Would you feel most comfortable knowing that dozens of ears are listening to your every word? Probably not!
While most humans are social creatures, they also appreciate privacy when trying to accomplish tasks. In an article published by Fast Company, they discuss how open-concept offices do not lead to better productivity. (7) These open-concept workspaces led to higher levels of distraction, a reduction in work completed, and lower rates of employee satisfaction.
In the wake of these findings, office spaces are opting for either private or semi-private offices as well as office partitions that provide ample privacy. With modern takes on office walls, employees can feel like part of the team while also feeling like they have the privacy they need to work at the top of their game.
One Size Does Not Fit All with Office Partitions
So, we know that cubicles are on the way out, and offices and office partitions are on the rise. So, what is the dividing line between a cubicle and a partition? While an office partition technically is a part of a cubicle, there are modernized options that make a partitioned space feel like a private oasis. Some offices are sporting beautiful wood partitions that give a deep warm feeling. (8) Others are choosing sleek design choices like floor to ceiling metal or stained glass. (9) When taking a step away from the boring cork particleboard wall, employees will feel like their workspace is a customized piece of art.
Successful Office Design Models
Know that we know some of the modern trends that are popping up in offices across the country, what are the most successful office design models. Here are a few of the most popular and functional.
One trend taking hold is the idea of employee-driven design. Instead of furnishing an office space with a unique look, employees are given a stipend to furnish their office to their liking. (10)
The Fun Place to Work:
Another growing trend is supporting an air of fun and playfulness in the office. When your business thrives on creativity and new ideas, allowing employees to have fun and unwind will also spark new and innovative ideas. Fun workplaces include modern, comfortable furniture, cool art pieces, game rooms, plenty of amenities, and a causal atmosphere.
A cool trend that is taking office spaces to new heights in flexibility is hot-desking. Essentially this is an office space where no one is assigned a specific workspace. Employees work in whatever part of the office they choose on a given day. Offices using this model create workspaces that vary from comfortable and private to cool and social. Whether you want to couch out or use a standing desk, you can choose your workspace each day. This allows employees to change their environment, meet the needs of their clients, and work at their very best. (11)
Examples of Great Modern Workspaces
Google: Not only is Google a company putting out consistently great products, but they are also an ideal model of functional and fun office space. With workspaces of all kinds, slides to move between floors, indoor basketball courts, modern cafeterias, coffee shops, and everything in between – how can you go wrong? (12)
Dropbox: Working at Dropbox headquarters is a unique experience. The newly designed office space is unlike any other. Settled in a giant 300,000 space, the designers were tasked with ways to tie departments together without giving up the flexibility of the space. Their solution was to create a “city” that is laid out based on landmarks, neighborhoods, and community values, much like a traditional cityscape. They included plenty of comfortable workspaces, amenities, and places for workers to take a break and relax.
Airbnb: To personalize the San Fransisco headquarters of Airbnb, designers used landmarks near and dear to the company as themes. For example, the lobby is designed with the city of Brooklyn in mind because that is where the company took off. The building is carefully designed to allow employees to work comfortably, collaborate effectively, and perform at their very best.
Although you may not have the capital to create a 300,000 square foot mecca for your employees, there are ways to bring these ideas to your space. Think about the needs of your employees and make design choices that support those needs. Remember that an office is much more than a gathering of desks. It is the place where your business grows.