Flexible working has emerged as a key strategy for modern businesses to get the best out of their employees. It turns out the cliché that happy workers are productive workers really is true and major brands invest serious money into designing offices that inspire their workforce to achieve great things.
It’s not only the likes of Google and Apple that are taking office design seriously anymore, though.
Businesses of all sizes are building flexible workplaces where their employees can unlock their creativity and hit targets more effectively. If you’re looking to do the same, here are some essential office design tips to help you boost productivity.
What exactly is flexible working?
According to design consultancy Office Principles, “flexible working is about bringing people, processes, connectivity and technology together, allowing for flexible working patterns and office space.”
In other words, it’s about reducing friction between employees and the tools they use to get the job done. You need to look at your workplace objectively and eliminate as many barriers that might slow down your team or negatively impact their performance in any way.
It can be hard to do this when you’re so close to your own business but we’ve got some key pointers to help you get started.
– Create flexible workspaces: Open workspaces are great for collaboration but there are times when people need to crack on and get things done themselves. Create a workspace that provides the different environments your team needs to get things done at every stage of the process.
– Get connected: To maximise productivity, you need to ensure your employees are connected with the right collaboration, wherever they choose to get work done. Cloud-based options are your best friend in this case and you almost want your staff to be able to pick up any device and start working instantly.
– Get quality furniture: It’s not a question of how much you pay for your office furniture but how comfortable they are for your employees. Consider alternative options like standing desks so people can take a break from sitting down and pay special attention to the furniture in recreational areas.
– Maximise space: Even the largest offices are limited for space and making the most of the room you have available can create an entirely different environment. The size of furniture, colours, positioning, quantity of natural light and all kinds of factors can have a serious impact on the perception of space. Use these to your advantage.
– Brighten up people’s day: get as much natural light into your office as possible and use some splashes of vibrant colours to pick up the mood. For those miserable winter months, make sure you have lighting in place that helps keep the mood up.
As Jeff Bradford writes for Fast Company, “In the same way that plants need the sun, so too is creativity dependent on natural light. Integrating sunlight into office design–and making sure it shines on all employees–is vital to creating the environments where creative ideas grow.”
Take full advantage of the natural light you have available and bring a touch of added life to the place with some morale-boosting plants.
Let people get away from the office
If you’re adopting the flexible workplace philosophy, don’t confine your employees to always working in the office. Let them choose their own break times, work from home occasionally and take the odd morning off as long as they make the hours up in a suitable time frame.
Obviously, there are times when certain tasks need to be completed as soon as possible or by a certain deadline and these are non-negotiable. But a flexible workplace puts targets first and gives employees a certain level of freedom to discover how they achieve these targets most effectively.
With the right collaboration and project management software on board, it’s easier than ever to track employee performance so don’t be afraid to let people experiment a little with their work habits.