Companies today realize that to recruit and retain talented young people they must make their working environments more attractive and flexible. The era of rows and rows of closed in cubicles is quickly disappearing as companies take their cue from office designers who advocate new ways of installing office furniture to meet the needs of individual and group workplaces.
Collaboration is the new buzz word in business today, but it is difficult to achieve this if your employees are all locked away from sight in cubicles with walls that are five or six feet high. Younger employees often find working in a cubicle to be too confined and isolating especially if they are situated in rows or boxed in configurations opening to out to narrow corridors.
Improving the Modern Office
In an effort to do things differently, quite a number of companies went to a totally open concept but that effort has had mixed results from a productivity perspective. Instead of looking at the big picture as to what would work best for their employees they simply took the cubicle walls down and set their employees’ workstations side-by-side and across from one another. What they ended up with was a kind of bull pen that employees hated. Productivity usually plummeted in these environments as a result of noise distractions and the rapid spread of viruses due to close proximity.
If your company is truly interested in maximizing both employee productivity and employee satisfaction here are four ideas on how you can make your office space better:
1. Moveable Furniture
Major office furniture manufacturer Steelcase were leaders in the creation of moveable desks or work stations that can be reconfigured so employees can work individually or collaboratively. Instead of desk top computers employees can use lap tops with large monitors. Personal small file cabinets on wheels with cushions on top can be used for storage and for seating when the employee is working with another co-worker is another recent innovation.
2. Seating Alternatives
Sitting has been called the “new tobacco” from a health hazard point of view. Most employees sit at their desks for six to seven hours or more and this combined with sitting on their own time can lead to health problems down the road. A study from a major university estimates that sitting for eight to eleven hours per day will reduce your lifespan by 15%. One option is to provide higher desks or desks that can be raised and lowered so employees can stand or change positions more easily. Other alternatives are yoga ball chairs or even treadmill desks.
3. Collaborative Meeting Spaces
Instead of only having a large board room (that is rarely fully utilized) companies should consider creating numerous small meeting rooms that can accommodate up to about six people. This will encourage staff members to get together to discuss projects in a less formal environment. The furniture in these rooms should be as comfortable as possible. You may even want to consider club chairs or small sofas as opposed to the traditional office chairs around a table.
4. Social Spaces
If your office layout has enough space you may want to consider creating a casual gathering space for employees with comfortable seating, coffee tables etc. If this space is being combined with a staff kitchen or cafeteria consider a mix of tables and chairs and bench seating for the eating area. Studies have proven that when employees have comfortable spaces to lounge on breaks they often end up talking to co-workers about projects thus enhancing productivity.
It is a proven fact that employees will work harder when a company does it’s best to make the working environment as pleasant as possible. For more information about installing office furniture and moving your office, contact your local Premiere Van Lines office.