Let’s face it, offices are like homes, you spend a good portion of your waking life in them and there are times when nothing short of a total redesign will do.
Of course, there are other reasons besides fashion for updating your office. Some include the necessity to cut costs, reduce your real estate and carbon footprint, or make your workspace more user and technology friendly. No matter what your reason for redesigning may be, there’s nothing preventing you having fun with the project, provided you go about it the right way.
If you’ve been looking for office space design ideas, you’ll already have seen that the old style hierarchy of private offices for the elite and dark, soulless cubicles for the rest of them, is disappearing. It’s being replaced by more responsive, dynamic layouts that provide what we need when we need it. Some of us need a bit more privacy, while others thrive in an open plan collaborative environment. Some of us work at the same desk all day long, while others prefer to stand. Some don’t even work much at a desk, simply dropping into the office as necessary. Fortunately, today’s office furniture and space designers cater to this trend.
We’re not suggesting that your redesign will be completely simple and proceed without any hitches, but we hope that these tips will give you a few insights into how to make it as stress free and successful as possible.
“There are a number of factors you’ll need to consider including the fact that the multi-generational nature of today’s workforce means that you’ll be dealing with very different sets of expectations.”
How on earth do you create a workspace that will keep everyone engaged and passionate about what they do, especially if you’re reducing the office square footage? We wouldn’t blame you if you felt a little overwhelmed at the prospect.
That being said, here are a few things you can do to simplify the process:
- include the employees who’ll be affected by the new design
- encourage those who are enthusiastic to champion the change and to act as ambassadors
- hold forums to allow employees to voice their concerns and provide ideas and suggestions
- listen to the concerns and together figure out how to address them in the best possible way
- incorporate as many employee ideas as you can
- keep everyone up to date on the progress of the project
- recognize that although the work day may comprise many different types of tasks performed by many different generations working together, you’re really only dealing with two main personality types: Extroverts and introverts.
Extroverts love to be in the thick of things and to collaborate with others. Introverts tend to like to work alone and in a quieter environment. However, there will be times when even extroverts need a little privacy and introverts need to collaborate. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways of designing an office to work in all these circumstances.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll have a higher level of co-operation and ‘buy in’ than if you simply go ahead and present employees with a fait accompli.
As far as design is concerned, a few of the aspects you’ll want to consider are:
- create different task areas into zones based on noise levels they generate and the traffic patterns. Place ‘quiet’ zones as far away from ‘noisy’ zones, such as collaborative work areas, as possible.
- keep the informal collaboration areas which encourage team work and innovation can be as simple as a few chairs in a group in a central area or as sophisticated as dedicated pods
- quiet work areas, including private offices, meeting rooms and presentation areas can easily be delineated by movable walls, which, as the name suggests, can be reconfigured as necessary. Glass moveable walls provide an additional advantage as they allow natural light to flow through into the interior of the office space.
Work flow, traffic and access to equipment and resources:
- be sure to take note of which tasks require which equipment and which workers need easy access to each other, then place these workstations accordingly
Storage and technology:
- although we’re living in a ‘paperless world’ we still need storage – and because we’re increasingly relying on technology, choose workstations designed to facilitate both requirements efficiently. Gone are the days of the great big old file cabinet and wires running everywhere! Today we’re fortunate that offices can be both beautiful and functional!
If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed by the complexity of your redesign, please feel free to reach out to us. We’re happy to give you further insights and any assistance you need.
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