The starting point for a positive and inclusive culture is the design of your workplace. In previous articles we’ve discussed Designing Retail Stores and Hospitality Design, in this article we’ll discuss office design and its role in creating a positive and highly productive organisational culture.
Regardless of budget, an office design should not only complement an organisation’s culture, personality and core values, it should be the catalyst. The office environment you create as an employer will be reflected in the attitudes of your employees and ultimately, the quality of the work they produce. For instance, an office design that promotes collaboration and interaction will go a long way towards reflecting a collaborative and interactive culture. Conversely, a cluttered, uninspiring office design isolates its deskbound employees into sluggish, inactive and unhealthy practices.
FINDING THE BALANCE BETWEEN ENCLOSURE AND EXPOSURE
That’s not to say that every portion of space and function should facilitate open communication. Completely interactive work environments like ‘hot seating’ were ubiquitous in some quarters. The Gen Y technological shift towards mobility and access over ownership was another product of the share economy. The workplace equivalent of couch surfing, where common spaces took precedence over the need for privacy.
So while workplace flexibility in the form of co-working spaces is still an essential feature of contemporary design, functional spaces need to reflect the variable work processes that employees engage in on a daily basis. Space for solitude, quiet and focus are essential ingredients in personalising design to need – it’s getting the right balance between enclosure and exposure and then understanding the spatial attributes required for each.
WE’RE ALL CREATIVE
Creativity in the modern workplace is no longer the domain of the so called ‘creatives’. Idea generation, whether it be at the front desk or in the boardroom, is a source of distinction and competitive advantage across all industries and professions. Environment, more than anything else, influences the mental processes associated with innovation and creativity. Natural light is mood enhancing in the same way that a colour scheme can induce calmness. Details like curved or rounded edges on furniture, especially in pedestrian areas, removes the rigidity associated with sharp angles - the kind of rigidity that blocks creativity.
Then there’s spontaneity, intuition, impulse – spaces for improvisation. If inspiration comes while sitting at a desk or getting some respite from a game of ping pong, well what’s the difference? Some organisations go much further than that - temporal spaces with lounges or gyms, coffee machines and catering.
Design should also promote principles of equity and fairness. Organisations can go beyond the Disability Standards and provide assistive technology for a completely integrated workplace. The benefits to culture will be reflected in a more talented, insightful and diverse workplace and culture.
BEING WELL IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS
Eliminating anything that distracts your talent will materialise on your bottom line. Air purity, thermal comfort and sound absorbing technology that reduce the effects of background or ‘white’ noise appreciably lift employee engagement and performance. Sit down / stand up desks and pacing areas for phone calls promote movement and employee wellness. As does ergonomic furniture, because good posture is intrinsically linked to fatigue and stress reduction.
Much is expected of employees – the pressure on them to perform at a consistently high level is greater than ever. That being the case, the role of employers should be to create work environments that are as conducive to great performance as they can possibly be. Happy employees are inspired employees – employees who are able to use functional spaces and environments to produce their best work.
An imaginative office design and ultimately a great culture, should credit employees with knowing what kind of environment will work best for them. Employees should be given the environment and tools that best support the task at hand.
QVS Interiors design and create functional, professional and innovative office and corporate spaces. QVS Interiors Offices by QVS Interiors feature high levels of personalisation to meet the culture, personality and needs of your office while cleverly ‘future proofing’ your office for growth, change, adaptability and flexibility. Considering an office fit-out? Looking for a design that reflects the values, personality and culture of your organisation? Call QVS Interiors ….