WHY TECH COMPANIES LEAD THE WAY WITH WORKPLACE DESIGN
Building an effective workspace design is essential to the growth of any company. Unique and innovative designs help stimulate employee creativity and productivity without compromising on wellbeing and health. In this article, we will explore the benefits of building an effective workplace design, the need to rethinking traditional designs in the post-pandemic world and will look at some tech companies lead the way with their take on workplace design.

What Is Workplace Design?

Workplace design is essentially a process and not a terminology. It refers to the overall design development and spatial organisation of any workspace – with the sole purpose of enhancing employee productivity, health, safety, wellbeing, and performance.

The best workplace designs are employee-centric. This means that they are carefully designed and specifically constructed to ensure that they are highly advantageous to the employee and their environment.

Benefits of an Effective Workplace Design

Having an effective workplace design means building a workplace environment that is conducive to learning, wellbeing, job satisfaction and productivity. It not only enhances your image as a company but also encourages employee retention. Here are some benefits of having a good workplace design:

 

  1. Increased Employee Productivity and Satisfaction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While your employees may have amazing benefits as part of their employment contract, that on its own does not guarantee enhanced productivity and job satisfaction. Therefore, it is important to have a workspace design that bolsters motivation. For example, having a functional layout, healthy design, and resourceful ergonomics on the work floor can inspire employees to maintain high standards of work.

You will also find that adding biophilic elements such as plants to the layout can add a personalised touch to the design thereby enhancing productivity. For example, the design team Airbnb is situated out of is a vibrant studio where everyone is allowed to change and redecorate any of the open space modular rooms. By allowing employees to redesign spaces, the company is essentially instilling a sense of belonging in them. This in turn ensures employee satisfaction and bolsters high productivity levels.

 

  1. Better Supervision Opportunities

 

 

 

 

 

 

From a supervisory point of view, a well-planned floor workspace allows managers to keep an eye on their employees without stepping on their toes. Managers can easily supervise operations without interfering in the employees’ working space. Latent micromanaging can be counterproductive and also reduces employee motivation.

For example, although the offices of Cartoon Network in Atlanta have a traditional cubicle layout, they have a futuristic plan behind them. The cubicles are shorter than usual but still maintain some privacy between colleagues. However, they have a hybrid open office layout which enables supervisors and co-workers to move around the workspace more easily without interfering in anyone else’s workspace. Not only that, but employees can personalise their cubicles however they please.

 

  1. Maximum Utilisation of Floor Space

 

 

 

 

 

One of the first rules of building an effective workspace is utilising the floor space in a smart and meaningful way. This means that the layout should be a combination of essential free space while still utilising the primary workspace without overcrowding. If you are using rented or leased office space, as many businesses do, then this rule becomes all the more important. You will want to utilise all essential areas without limiting functionality.

Microsoft’s offices in the Netherlands are a great example here. The facilities’ activity-based workspace layout accommodates over a thousand employees on 117,200 square foot space. This open concept workspace environment encourages team spirit by allowing more room for collaboration and networking.  Not only that, but its purposeful design ensures that different segments of the business can work collaboratively because the environment puts an emphasis on transparency and socialisation. There is also a fully functional coffee shop and multiple outdoor pavilions to create an ideal work-life balance. 

 

So How Do You Make the Most Of Office Space Post-Pandemic

The challenges posed by COVID-19 have forced everyone to rethink workplace designs and trends. The future of workspace design will be human-centric – ensuring maximum mobility, health, and wellbeing. Here are some ideas that could help make the most of the office space post-pandemic:

 

  1. Introduce Aspects of Nature

One of the best ways to ensure wellbeing is by introducing biophilic aspects into the workspace. These include plants that attract light and produce fresh air to breathe in. Research has found that incorporating different aspects of the natural world can help enhance productivity by alleviating stress and promoting concentration. The post-pandemic office space will need to include biophilic features to help employees ease back into the office routine.

 

 

  1. Maximise Ventilation

One constant need throughout the pandemic is the constant need for highly ventilated spaces. This means the post-pandemic office space will see many outdoor work areas being introduced for maintaining employee wellbeing and mental health. Effective outdoor working spaces will also help reduce fatigue as people can reconnect in a safe environment.

 

 

 

  1. Redesign Social Spaces

In pre-COVID times, social spaces were the prime networking spots in any organisation. Unfortunately, the post-pandemic office space will need to redesign social spaces to incorporate more social distancing. One way to achieving this is by taking advantage of empty spaces left due to a reduced workforce at any given time. By removing and rearranging unused desks, employers can create vast spaces for connecting and collaborating with colleagues.

 

 

What does it all mean?

Achieving some sort of normality is what we are all craving in the post-pandemic workspace. And the designs need to reflect this. Most importantly, they will also need to be innovative and sustainable to ensure adequate physical distancing and safe usage of common spaces.