Many business owners make one of two mistakes when figuring out how they want their office to look. One mistake is not putting any effort in and assuming that a couple of workstations and practical office necessities will do. The second mistake is just blindly following whatever office design and culture trends are currently going around.
When it comes to designing your office space, it’s important to remember that the design choices you make will influence behaviors. If you want to influence your employees to be productive and creative than a drab gray space isn’t going to work for you and following whatever happens to be on trend at the moment without taking into consideration the personal working behaviors and preferences of your employees and needs of your industry won’t work either.
There are certain design elements that have a practical function in almost any situation, for example a dual monitor stand by Colebrook Bosson Saunders that will benefit your employees health and comfort no matter what. But, for the rest of it, it’s important to consider ways to give your employees a say in how they work best.
Give the people what they want
Before you go sweeping through to completely redesign someone’s workspace, it’s a good idea to get any idea of how they would like to work. There are plenty of well known office design trends, such as open plan offices or hot desking. Despite the benefits of these trends, they may not necessarily work best for some or all of your people.
Some employees might need a private space to get things done, or have a lot of materials to work with that they don’t want to have to pick up and move to a different work station constantly. Other employees may benefit from a collaborative open plan, or perhaps you have a group of staff members that only come in once or twice a week and can share a few hot desks.
While you can often ask employees how they work best, sometimes they don’t know well enough to tell you. If you are contemplating office design, first observe how employees work throughout their day.
Maybe there are a lot of great ideas being thrown around the lunch table but the creativity becomes a bit stale when they’re stuck in their individual work stations, signifying your team works well in a collaborative space. Or perhaps you currently have an entirely open plan office but notice that some employees seem frustrated with noise or other distractions and need private spaces.
Observing your staff can give you insight into what works and what doesn’t in the current space so you know what to improve on.
As you may have noticed above, different people respond to different environments. It can, therefore, be a good idea to include a variety of places to work within your office.q
If you have your heart set on an open plan, or if an open plan really works with your culture and business operations, it’s important to still create some private or quiet spaces for people to work when they really need to focus to get a lot done in a time crunch, or even take a private business call with a client.
Similarly, if you want your staff to have their own separate areas, it can still be beneficial to have collaborative areas such as break rooms, collections of couches or meeting rooms where they can interact and share ideas.
Make it personal
Allowing staff to bring in personal items for their workstations goes a long way to boosting creativity.
The more you encourage employees to express themselves, the more comfortable they will be with their own creativity. Personal creativity fosters professional creativity and if your employees feel like you trust in who they are as a person, they’ll be more likely to share their ideas in professional situations.
If you are looking to inspire creativity in your workplace, you need to put a bit of thought and creativity in your design ideas. Office spaces aren’t one size fits all, so it’s important to keep your people and culture in mind.