Modern companies understand that in order to create a more efficient office they must first take a look at the work environment. Does the space reflect the ideals of the company's culture? Is the layout set up to ensure the most productive use? Are my employees continuously fighting mental fatigue? All these are vital questions that companies should ask to ensure the workplace is providing employees with the proper tools to be successful.
In our work over the past year, we have seen several trends in commercial office design focused on improving the employee experience and in effect, enhancing their performance. We've outlined the top five here for you.
Weyerhaeuser Seattle Headquarters Wood Branded Wall
Most individuals do not base their decision to accept a position on salary alone. The culture of the company also plays an important role in an employee's attraction and retainment. The office is a reflection of a company's culture. It is the physical embodiment of the brand, giving visitors and users a look at the way the business works. Companies like Microsoft and Facebook are well known examples of this. The innovative and collaborative inducing workspaces of both firms reinforce their identity to their employees. However, it doesn't require unlimited resources to incorporate a company's culture. Fostering creativity and employee interaction with open table seating, reinforcing ideals through branded signage and providing a comfortable atmosphere all go a long way with improving the emotional health of the employees working there.
Top Left: Finn Laptop Tables, Right: Briggs Standing Height Table, Bottom Left: KPG Headquarters Conference Table
With the rise of remote-based work and collaborative meetings, the need for flexibility in the available workspaces of an office is crucial. Throughout the day, employees are constantly moving from solo work to large conferences to team-based work sessions and an office must be equipped for the varied gatherings to remain efficient. Open table seating is great for transparency and employee interaction but can also be distracting when dealing with time sensitive tasks. Providing separate, semi-private options such as sofa height coffee tables and pull up laptop desks give employees the workspace they need to get the job done.
The power outlet is an office's currency. With the average individual requiring three to four charging devices to remain functional in a workday, placing a priority on technology planning just makes sense. Companies that provide power in all available workspaces allow employees the freedom to move through meetings without worry of battery depletion. Creative cord management options in community tables and pop up ports in side and coffee tables ensure the look of the office is unhindered by unsightly wires and tripping hazards.
Sit-to-stand, standing, treadmill - the rise (no pun intended) of these desks has been rampant for the better part of the last ten years. And yet the trend persists, expanding further with larger format height-adjustable tables, bar tables and standing height community tables all designed for the office worker seeking a new position. These desks, tables and workstations promote comfort and productivity of users with their ergonomically correct designs.
Google Campus Nest
According to Nash Emrich with Paladino and Company, "We need to create new interactions between people and nature in order to achieve the 'happiness effect' that spending time in the natural world provides." The plastic ficus in the lobby will no longer cut it. Humans require more interaction with the natural world, especially as the workday and workweek consistently seep into our personal lives.
Incorporating biophilic design elements such as living walls, wood furniture and products and natural lighting all work to provide a calming presence to a space and promote a healthy emotional well being. Immediate and long term benefits of this proven philosophy include improved employee health, reduced mental fatigue and heightened worker productivity.
The modern office is a reflection of the company's core values. It is a second home for loyal workers putting in long hours. Companies that take a thoughtful approach to enhancing the experience of their employees in the workspace are rewarded with healthy, motivated individuals. By incorporating these trends in commercial office design, employers provide employees with the tools they need to work more efficiently.