16 August 2019
People don’t like change, so offer them a choice of workspaces
For the most part, people are often afraid of change. Whether that change may be in their hairstyle, their outfit, their friends, or changing the bar or restaurant they frequent. You name it. ‘Change’ is a forbidden c-word.
Companies can get settled in their routine, and become too complacent with their old office. Their office may date back to the early 2000s, 1990s, or even the 80s – when the dreaded ‘cubicle farms’ spawned and spread like a plague throughout corporate office worldwide.
The approach to office design has significantly evolved in the last 30 years. Work styles have become less remote, and people have embraced the mobile world. Smartphones and laptops are the essential tools, replacing the clunky desktop, and allow people to work anytime, anyplace, anywhere – known in some Gen X circles as ‘Martini working.’
Clients can be reluctant to change their office because they may think that their old design works just fine and if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Workplace designers are changing offices by adding choice and making the workplace adaptable to cater to its users’ needs.
Choice of workspaces
One size does not fit all. This is now being taken on board by workplace designers, and companies are recognising the benefits of having more variety in their offices.
Individual workstations have been the norm since the beginning of office design. Way back when Frederick Taylor designed the open-plan office in the 1920s, each employee had their workstation, and that was that. Nothing more, nothing less.
Despite how greatly office design has evolved, individual workspaces are still a necessity and allow for uninterrupted, concentrated working. Staff can work without the added distractions that communal areas can bring.
Collaboration spaces share equal importance with the individual workstation. Collaboration spaces are unrivalled in their ability to encourage group work and a sharing of ideas, but of course, its effectiveness is dependent on the task at hand.
Touchdown benches support a more mobile work style that enables employees to work for short periods with their smartphone, laptop or notebook. Touchdown benches are also useful in their ability to connect employees, who may not ordinarily see or work together, through these regular, brief encounters.
Breakout spaces are one of the greatest assets in the workplace. Companies with breakout spaces support employee well-being and happiness. They give employees the choice to step away from the work environment with the option of having a drink at a Tea Point, or eating lunch with your colleagues, or playing a game of ping-pong, table football or FIFA. Breakout Spaces are an excellent way to encourage interconnectivity within the office and nurture the growth of a company’s work culture.
Agile working is defined by the NHS as a working in which an organisation empowers its people to work where, when and how they choose, with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints.’
Agile working is not to be confused with ‘flexible working’; it is far more than a way in which you work, but instead about a company’s culture. It is achieved by empowering the workforce and giving them choice and control.
More companies are introducing agile work styles to suit the entire workforce. Gensler’s 2019 Workplace Survey reported further findings that found ‘choice and variety are directly connected to a great workplace experience’.
Creative space solutions
Companies who do not consult workplace designers limit themselves by not considering the possibilities of their space. The easy option is to take a head-count and assign each person a desk. If you multiply the number of people by desk size, add the extra space for conference rooms and other amenities then before you know it, you’re paying through the nose in rent for added space you don’t use. Creative space solutions enable companies to maximise their workspace potential and save money on wasted space.
Office furniture takes up lots of room, but incorporating creative design solutions, like modular furniture and melamine tabletops with metal table supports, you can repurpose an area for when it isn’t in use and make areas, like meeting rooms and conference rooms, adapt to your needs.