How to Make Office Space More Functional for Employees

August 21, 2017

How to Support Growth Within Existing Office Space

Make Office Space More Functional for the Current Workforce

Space matters to every organization and its employees. How offices are designed, constructed and furnished can impact business productivity and employee wellness. Today, many companies are looking for new design trends to help support business growth while using the existing office space. This should be possible to do, because companies are also embracing flexible work arrangements that allow more employees to work from home locally or even telecommute from other parts of the country.

As businesses look to redesign office space, thoughtful attention and care should be given to several questions:

  • Does the space work for the needs of current employees, including not just productivity needs but also wellness needs?
  • How can the office be designed to enhance the working styles of Millennial employees?
  • How can technology assist in the smooth scheduling and sharing of space by an organization full of mobile employees with flexible work arrangements?

Thoughtful Design Is Appreciated by Employees

As employees are working more often in collaborative workspaces and companies have gotten rid of many dedicated offices, the amount of office space per employee has shrunk to about 176 square feet per worker, down from 225 square feet in 2010. With less space for each employee, thoughtful attention to design and details is more important than ever to ensure that employees remain productive.

Pay attention to aspects of office design that can improve the happiness and wellness of employees, because wellness impacts productivity. Certain colors foster happiness and creativity while others dampen mood. Employees need to move more to be healthier physically, so consider furnishing options such as standing desks or treadmill workstations that employees could use for parts of the day.

Finally, look for aspects of décor that reflect company ideals and style rather than simple functionality. According to Forbes, when professionals on LinkedIn were surveyed about office design, “77% claimed art makes them feel happier, 74% said it inspired them and 27% indicated pleasing décor improved their productivity.”

What Millennials Value in Office Space

As the Baby Boomers continue to retire, Millennials will be the largest generation in the workforce, so it is important to consider their preferences in office design plans. Millennials favor casual office environments with lots of non-conventional workspaces that foster collaboration. They favor open concept design instead of the closed-in feeling of offices or cubicles. They like deliberately designed furniture in the office, and they value the best in technology throughout the workspace.

3 Trends to Incorporate into Office Redesign

According to commercial real estate’s CCIM Institute, here are some design trends to consider as organizations seek to support employee growth by optimizing existing office space:

  1. Employees who work in the office full time get the biggest spaces. Instead of automatically allocating the largest offices to senior managers, consider who is really in the office and needs the space most.
  2. Limit walls and cubicles. Today’s employees—especially Millennials—find closed in places stifling to collaboration.
  3. Trade private offices for private enclaves. Rather than giving only some employees the privacy of an office, consider putting all employees in open work spaces, but supporting them with small private enclaves which are shared spaces with a phone connection, internet connectivity, some comfortable furniture and a door that closes. When a worker needs privacy to make a call or needs a bit more quiet to do some research, he or she can go into the enclave and shut the door for a little while.

Scheduling Software Helps Shared Spaces Operate Smoothly

With the large number of mobile employees coming in and out of modern offices, it’s clear that shared working spaces are the way to support employee growth while holding down real estate costs. Part of an organization’s office design needs to include the technology needed to make sure that shared spaces accommodate all employees. Asure Software provides full-service meeting room scheduling software  and office hoteling software that can provide your employees with Cloud-based, 24/7 booking of shared spaces from any PC, laptop or mobile device.