Does your office space attract your most valuable asset?

Humanised Office Design – Nurturing Your Most Valuable Assets

As technology takes our businesses further, higher and faster, do we risk focusing our attention and investment on what will improve our technological capabilities at the expense of our most valuable asset – our people?

We spend, on average, fifty per cent of our waking hours at work. If we deduct the time spent commuting, shopping and other away-from-home essential activities from the balance, we spend comparatively little time awake and at home.

Good employers understand that the secret of success lies not only in up-to-date business technology but in creating a favourable environment where their people can flourish.

The Belonging Office

Given that we spend so much of our waking lives at the office, it makes sense to give employees a sense of belonging and community at work. This is especially important when considering the post covid-19 workplace, as we must ensure staff feel safe and welcome in order for them to successfully be attracted back to the office and leave the home office behind. Let’s look at the ways in which this can be achieved.

The Communicating Office

Poor communication and collaboration have been cited by many surveys as being among the top reasons for office frustration. You can overcome this by creating areas where colleagues can easily interact in the informality of a breakout area, the privacy of a booth, or the practicality of a small open-plan auditorium.

These areas should be equipped with wide format screens connected to your main server or their laptops so they can easily share worksheets, documents, presentations and other digital information with colleagues. A whiteboard wall is a fun, low-tech option that’s very popular for brainstorming and other highly interactive group collaboration.

The Temperate Office

Another top reason for office discontent is the ambient temperature – This can create problems in an open-plan office, so try to choose an air-conditioning system that distributes warm and cool air as evenly as possible, avoiding placing desks directly in line with outlets.

If the office is large enough, see if your HVAC company can create cooler and warmer zones, and allow staff to choose the zone that’s best for them. Ventilation systems are also playing a large role in creating the post covid-19 workplace, as employees look to ensure the air quality in the office space will meet new requirements and ensure the space is safe to return to.

The Social Office

Humans are social beings and need social interaction to thrive. This has been highlighted during the lockdown period and is only increasing as we consider the return to the workplace where staff will want to catch-up and socialise with their colleagues in an environment that is well supportive and encourages connectivity.

People who develop a deeper understanding of each other’s personality beyond the narrow focus of their job are more likely to be more effective at teamwork and collaboration.

But gossip at the water cooler or chatter across the office can be frustrating for managers with targets to meet, and unless employees have a clearly defined space where they can socialise during work breaks, the boundaries between work and relaxation can become blurred.

By providing comfortable, designated areas for work breaks, you can demonstrate you recognise the importance of social interaction in its place and ensure staff are successfully attracted back to the workplace.

The Natural Office

Physiological and psychological wellbeing is essential to retaining and maintaining motivated, engaged and productive employees.

Living plants are particularly effective in increasing mental well-being, due to a phenomenon known as biophilia, a hypothesis that suggests we have an instinctive affinity with nature and other forms of life.

Introducing natural elements – natural light and ventilation, living plants and natural materials for furniture – can help boost serotonin levels, increase healthy exposure to Vitamin D and improve air quality.

The Flexible Office

People-focused office designers know that offering employees a choice of working environments will improve productivity.

Height-adjustable desks or a combination of traditional desks and standing-height worksurfaces that allow them to regularly change their posture will improve blood circulation and oxygen absorption.

Comfortable lounge seating in breakout areas creates informal areas that encourage creative thinking and more open communication.

Booths help small teams to focus on project collaboration without distraction, and solo booths create the perfect environment for intense short-term projects, videoconferences or webinars.

Looking for ways to humanise your workplace?

Get in touch with our space specialists today: | +44 (0) 28 9442 5200


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