They say that you spend over 90,000 hours of your life – or ⅓ of your life – at your workplace. Most of us spend the major productive hours of every day, and the most productive years of our lives, at an office. The traditional office performed a few singular functions: providing a desk and chair for an employee to sit and work, and at best, providing coffee, meeting rooms and lunch breaks.
However, the last decade or so has shown that providing an office space that offers more than simply a space to work is vital to not just productivity, but an individual’s overall happiness, fulfilment and sense of personal growth. Not simply the work culture, leadership structure or nature of work, but the office space itself – its design, amenities and aesthetic. Coworking spaces and managed offices are therefore designed keeping a great deal of factors in mind to ensure that each professional is returning to the space voluntarily, and with a sense of fulfilment.
So, let’s try and break it down – what is it about an office that makes it a great place to work? What about an office could make employees look forward to returning there every day, and make the best of their time?
An office space shouldn’t just be attractive, but also convenient and intuitive for employees to use. This can translate to elements as simple as chairs that are comfortable and height-adjustable or tables that are height-adjustable and encourage changes in posture throughout the day, to ensuring adequate light and minimal noise in the office space.
A major factor that contributes to discomfort in an office space is physical discomfort. Arms need to be bent at a 90 degree angle, wrists straight when typing, and the monitor screen needs to be at eye level to prevent both short-term and long-term musculoskeletal problems. Many modern managed office spaces and coworking spaces pay heed to these factors that contribute to the overall health of their employees.
- Exposure to outdoors
Many studies have confirmed that any indoor space with a natural-feeling environment encourages productivity and general feelings of comfort and happiness. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of plentiful indoor plants and natural lighting. It is also important to ensure that there is easy access to outdoor spaces where one can spend a refreshing break.
Today’s modern office spaces and managed offices take great care to ensure that there is plenty of greenery indoors, and also casual areas full of natural light where colleagues can relax and enjoy a break. This allows one to return to one’s desk recharged and with clarity of mind.
- Spaces that enable multiple work ‘modes’
It has been identified that there are 4 work modes in every organization:
- Focusing on an individual project
- Learning through participation and experience
- Socialising with peers and building rapport
- Collaborating to encounter new ideas and perspectives
Therefore, every work space must have the infrastructure where all 4 modes of working can be easily achieved, with the use of quiet spaces for focus, meeting rooms, casual areas and break rooms for socializing, learning and brainstorming. Simply ensuring more open spaces with fewer walls encourages healthy interaction between colleagues, and imbibes a general feeling of transparency.
- Technological support
Modern offices, managed offices and coworking spaces are designed keeping in mind that many professionals today prefer to work remotely or part-time, as it encourages work-life balance. However, this would not be possible without adequate technological facilities in the workspace. Means of remote communication, collaboration and data-exchange enable professionals to work from home when necessary, encouraging concentration, diminishing commuting costs, and allowing each employee to devote enough time to family, hobbies and other pursuits.
Ensuring that an office is well-equipped with requisite technology also proves beneficial to employers, as they now find their employees more engaged and less stressed, while also enabling the employer to cut down on the office space they need to rent.
It is important for any employee to feel a strong sense of belonging to their organization, and one easy way to accomplish this is with attractive branding in the workspace.
Showing off the company’s colours and vision in the office spaces lets the employees feel aligned with the company, and feel a part of its tone and core values. For example, if a company has playful branding that can be expressed in its furnishing and color scheme, the employees may feel more in tune with the company’s language and expression. Posters that express the company vision, along with ideas about motivation and wellness, can contribute to each employee’s overall happiness and fulfilment.
- Evolution and adaptability
While no office can be redesigned every year, it is still vital to take note of how the space is working for its employees and adapt it accordingly. Let no office space be seen as final and complete, but rather a work in progress – paying heed to the needs of each employee and updating constantly. This adaptation is also a great way to show your employees you care about their day-to-day experience in the company, and are willing to take steps towards ensuring their happiness.
Today’s office spaces are moving in exciting new directions, incorporating ideas from all around the world toward creating a space that fosters productivity, creativity, respect and friendship. Here’s to a day spent at work that doesn’t feel like work at all!