Business owners and corporations are constantly looking for ways to improve their profitability by improving employee efficiency. The last few decades have seen major advancements in several areas that have allowed businesses to accomplish just that.
One of the major contributing factors to increased employee productivity is the rapid advancements in technology. Technology has allowed workers around the world to perform their daily tasks quicker, easier, and with fewer mistakes. Another factor that has risen dramatically over the past decade is employee health and mental well being. Employers started noticing that a healthy and happy employee produces superior results to unhappy and unhealthy employees.
With so much competition businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve their processes and productivity. One of the areas which are often overlooked is workplace design. How one’s working conditions are built and organized has a great impact on how they perform their job. Here we will look at five design influences and ideas for the modern workplace.
Workplace design will become more evidence-based
Up until very recently, most workplace designs have been based on aesthetics or current architectural and interior design trends. More focus and attention is being given to the idea that workplaces can be designed in a way to maximize employee productivity. This concept is called evidence-based workplace design.
In evidence-based workplace design quantitative and qualitative analysis is done to create a space plan. Data is gathered through time utilization and observation studies, employee surveys, business requirement analysis, along with interviews and focus groups. This information is analyzed to determine whether or not a business's current space plan meets the business needs. “For example, there may not be enough meeting rooms or lunchroom space. Not enough meeting rooms may create a meeting backlog and crammed eating space may put employees in a bad mood after lunch” says Elizabeth Christensen, a business writer at Nextcoursework and 1Day2write.
Shrinking personal workspace
The era of the office space filled with cubicles is coming to an end. Many large, multinational companies, such as Google, Yahoo, and Samsung, have witnessed the value of more personal, interaction encouraging, workspaces.
These companies have realized that innovation often comes from person to person interaction. This is a large reason why public spaces in office buildings have become so popular. Some corporations, such as Facebook, have created entire outdoor areas which employees must pass through to access another part of the building. These open spaces encourage people to bounce ideas off one another.
Technology has always been driving workplace design. At one point meeting or board rooms did not have screens on the wall. Now, nearly every single one does, and the seating arrangements are such that everyone has a view. A current trend in evidence-based workplace design is eliminating all unnecessary wires, going wireless where at all possible. A large number of wires can cause a workplace to appear cluttered and this clutter can have negative effects on an employee's mindset. Tabletop touch screens and touch-activated controls are also rising in popularity. When a workplace can make an employee's job more easily it ultimately results in that employee performing their job with greater efficiency.
Design will support brand & culture
Successful companies have come to realize the importance of workplace culture. Everyone at one point in their life has worked in a toxic work environment. This type of toxicity causes an employee to feel less motivated resulting in poor performance. Evidence-based design can create space plans that help employees relax and interact positively. Offering areas where employees can exercise, watch TV, or simply enjoy a comfortable place to sit and relax during their break time can have immense effects on the workplace culture.
Evidence-based design can also help employees feel more connected to their companies brands or products. “For example, many video game developers have been installing gaming rooms at their workplace, showcasing their products. Employees get a sense of pride and satisfaction while enjoying something they all helped build” explains Jonathan Darlington, a recruiter at Writemyx and Britstudent.
Designing for wellbeing
Attitudes towards employee well being have changed dramatically over the years. During the industrial revolution workers, welfare was of no importance to employers. Nowadays employers recognize the benefits that a well looked after workforce brings. Evidence-based workplace design aims to create spaces that foster employee well being. This can be something as simple as installing exercise facilities or creating a calm open area that can be enjoyed during break time.