Employee fulfillment overhauling your space design

Employee Fulfillment & Overhauling Your Space Design

As we move towards the future, individuals want to know that they’re more important than machines and are searching for work that taps into the human experience. So when an employee is searching for such an experience and leaning towards meaningful work, much of what they’re looking for is a space that will not only keep them motivated but make them feel like an individual with a meaningful job that won’t be easily replaced. Thankfully, employee perspectives, scientific support, and bright spots in the space design industry have been studied to improve the employee experience as a whole.

 

Work Evolution & Employee Value

We’re on the brink of a new era in which we are looking for a higher sense of purpose and meaning in our work. With both of these circumstances being a core narrative of our workplace, office space design has tapped into neuroscience and psychology to advance a positive change in the space planning of the future. Automation and artificial intelligence are looking to accelerate the new world of workplaces, so office space design is focused on making employees have a sense of meaning and purpose in their engagement practices.

 

Space Design & Employee Experience

To feel fulfilled at work, one must be in an environment in which our sense of purpose and our intrinsic motivations are being tapped. This feeling can be generated by two main neurochemicals, dopamine, and oxytocin, in which the brain will release to reward behaviours to be valued for our own survival. A brain is a powerful tool and extensive research has proven that brain chemistry will motivate us in several positive ways. When certain chemicals are released throughout the workday, workers will feel more satisfied with what they’re doing. Employees who feel fulfilled are more likely to spend 3+ years with a company than those who don’t feel fulfilled. 

 

Growth, Impact, & Relationships

The three major factors that contribute to a fulfilling work life are:

  • Growth – A challenge in which we overcome.
  • Impact – The act in which a goal is getting results.
  • Relationships – A connection to others and a sense of importance.

With employees having their work-life boundaries increasingly blurred together, employees want to search for opportunities that allow them to pursue and explore what gives them purpose. They want to have meaning in their work, so having an office space design that encourages them to do so is incredibly fulfilling. If an employee can’t feel fulfilled or find purpose in their line of work, it’s likely that they’ll be looking elsewhere. That’s right, some employees would not only look elsewhere for a fulfilling job, but they’d be willing to take less pay for it.

 

Providing Some Structure

Although personalization is difficult to scale and the search for meaning can be a highly personal endeavour, a bit of structure in the office space design and space planning can assist employees on their journey to more fulfilling work life. Having a setup that offers reverse mentorship planning, stretch assignments, innovation labs, rotational opportunities, or rewards for milestone experiences, it helps employees have a meaningful and deeper relationship with their job. By offering space that allows employees to understand the impact they make on the company, they’ll be more excited to help the business grow–and coworkers who experience other’s success will also be more inclined to work hard for the benefit of the company. By building an office environment that lets employees know they’re part of a team, they’ll be more than willing to assist a company in its growth.

 

Space Planning: Don’t Forget Culture!

Culture plays a bigger part in the workspace planning process than one would realize. Between a company’s purpose, strategy, and overall employee experience, evolving the workspace design is important. What’s usually defined as “how things operate at this establishment”, workplace culture can support and reinforcement for employees who are searching for a greater meaning in the work they perform. Although culture is more of a matter of doing (as opposed to saying), businesses looking to evolve their culture must focus on issues such as:

  • Paying attention to behaviour that touches on growth, impact, and relationships.
  • Highlighting leaders to signal and model behaviours to other employees.
  • Tapping into the influencers who energize the surrounding individuals to create a purpose-driven culture.

Businesses that successfully tap into employee sentiment nurture employees that believe fulfillment is possible at their jobs. However, much of what happens after receiving such information relies on you and how you improve on such data with your office space design. By understanding that much of this information is rooted in employees developing/growing, making progress, and having a sense of belonging, businesses can foster that information into their workspace planning.

 

Leaders & Followers

When it comes to modeling and signaling behaviours for a fulfilling experience at work, leaders are incredibly important. They can be powerful allies in the influence of what fulfillment looks like. Pairing a great leader with precision workspace planning, a business can be unstoppable and employees will feel fulfilled at the end of the workday.

In consideration of the information above, there are plenty of ways your company can tap into employee sentiment to overhaul your office space design. If you don’t have such programs put into place yet, these tips are an excellent way to start. For more tips on how your company can achieve maximum effort from your staff, contact Aura Office Environments for more information on how we can help you.

The Economics of Ergonomics: Selecting the Right Office Furniture

Every company has a goal of supporting its workforce. The support comes in the form of paying salary and benefits to employees, giving them office space, and even making sure their specific workspace meets their needs. Ergonomics often get a rush job when talking about office design space planning. You get companies that spend months designing an office, only to make a decision on office furniture in a day or two with minimal research and thought. Great office design is only as good as its furniture.

When you design an office, you need the full vision in mind. You have to understand how the design of the office will flow with furniture, with lighting, storage, etc. Without having the details in-between the book covers, you may end up with an empty space, one that does not fulfill its mission. Aura Office Environments combats that with the design-centric customer journey. Putting ergonomics front of mind can help you increase productivity and make the spend worth every cent.

 

Understanding Ergonomics

To do ergonomics right, you need to understand the concept. Ergonomics is one of the most misunderstood terms in office design space planning. Ergonomics is all about designing or arranging a workspace, inclusive of any system and products necessary, to meet the needs of each individual.

An easy example of poor ergonomics is a chair that does not adjust up or down. If you have a tall or short employee, the lack of adjustment of the chair will harm their comfort level. The chair may work great for one height of a person, but we are all different and unique. You need to think through an ergonomics approach so each employee is comfortable and effective.

 

How They Can Impact the Workplace

Ergonomics has a huge impact on the workplace via a variety of categories. Safety is top of mind, as well as comfort, and productivity. Diving deep into these three areas, you will see right it is pivotal to choose furniture that meets employee needs.

Employees should be safe when they are at work. If you do not have proper furniture for employees, though, safety may be at risk. The adjustable chair example is a prime one where you need that for employees of a variety of heights. You can run into back injuries and a slew of other issues when employees cannot adjust how they sit. If your office space involves some manufacturing and such as well, having segregation from that area with furniture can help to avoid accidents.

  1. Comfort – Every employee wants to work in a different way. You need to have furniture that helps employees be comfortable at work. Having proper desk spaces that allow for sitting and standing is a given. It is when you think outside of the box that you can do awesome things with furniture and ergonomics. Employees may use a combination of quality, comfortable furniture and new technology to drive collaboration at meetings. Having a few couches available for folks to sit back and unwind for a bit can help productivity, engagement from individuals.

No one wants to sit in their cubicle at work for hours on end every day. The employees want variety and they want different types of furniture where they can get a different view every now and then. The role of comfort is all about engagement and productivity and it can work.

  1. Productivity – There is no denying that you can increase productivity in the workplace with ergonomics. The economics of ergonomics title is all about using ergonomics as a way to increase the profitability of the business. How does this work exactly? Take two employees that do the same exact job. The first employee is stuck in a cubicle all day long in a chair they cannot adjust, with one single monitor they work on, in a weather noisy environment. The second employee has options of where they can work, with couches, chairs, their standard cube space. The second employee has two or three monitors available to them at any given time, in a quiet environment more suitable for focus, collaboration, and analysis. Which of the two employees is going to have a more productive day?

Studies showcase the economics of ergonomics as well. According to one such study done, a fast food provider made a decision to resign workstations to include the dimensions of the human body. The height and such were all taken into account. When the fast food provider did this redesign, they found that change drove a 20% increase in productivity. A steel company went through with a redesign of an observation pit. The reduction in waste and increase in productivity led to a savings of $150,000 in the first year alone.

 

Having Flexibility in the Design

There is no one size fits all when it comes to ergonomics. It is all about having a concept in mind when it comes to space planning. You want to have a general idea of the furniture you will choose, knowing that each piece has to encompass flexibility. No employees are of the same size; you do not hire robots! Every individual has their own needs and ergonomics help ensure those needs get met every day.

Ergonomics can help in the profitability space of each business. Having proper space planning can allow for employee positivity, safety, comfort, and engagement to all skyrocket. Work with the team at Aura to go through the space planning, design process. Ensure that furniture is top of mind so that ergonomic goals and associated benefits all get realization.

The Millennial Workplace Blueprint

Office design is crucial to the success of every business. You want a workplace that matches with your employee base. If you have a millennial workplace, which most companies do today, you need to adapt. What is the blueprint for the millennial workplace? How can you be sure you meet their needs? You need to connect with each employee, figure out what they value, and it begins with knowing the make-up of your workforce.

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Why A Strong Office Design Strategy Is Crucial In Building Customer Loyalty

There are many reputable studies out there toting the importance and benefits of strong office design strategies contributing to employee retention. This is thanks to an inflated conversation surrounding the relationship of good environmental design factors playing a role in productivity, creativity, and employee well being the workplace, uniting an aesthetically pleasing space with the ability to perform well within it.

But offices in many professional service sectors like law, consulting, real estate, advertising, etc., are tied directly to the customer experience. We believe the same principle of employee retention can be extended to include office design strategy as a key factor for building customer loyalty.

In this post, we’re examining why a strong office design strategy is crucial in building customer loyalty.

 

Form

It’s 2019 – and the writing is on the wall. Customers and clientele are actively seeking to work with firms and organizations that allow them to recognize an appropriate professional counterpart.

The offices of Apple, Google, and Facebook immediately come to mind for most investigating office design strategy – with Millennial-centric auras, open concept cafes, and collaborative spaces that inspire creativity and chance encounters. While those are admirable and valuable traits – they’re designed for employees – not so much clientele, but this can be extended to customer retention as well. People are primarily visual learners, and when we see something we like, or identify with, it helps us to feel good and confident in our decisions.

Let’s imagine your clients are a youth start up in the real estate sector; say, a budding developer. The youth market has an affinity for eco-efficient and sustainable technologies and actively integrate those styles of technologies and practices into their businesses. Sustainability and creativity are stepping stones to innovation and forward-thinking, two very valuable traits in a collaborating partner. Chances are they won’t be attracted to a dated office space that employs the use of cubicles and a drab paint colour. They’ll be much more receptive and likely to support and continue working with a firm that embraces the aesthetic they identify with as part of their own organizational personality.

More closely investigating the form of your office space is also largely dependant on the footprint of your space. Retention of clientele will always be related to having the physical space needed to accommodate meetings, conferences, video chats, and deliberations – but it’s also about maintaining a space that is sustainable for your needs. There’s little sense in keeping a 3000 square foot office with a 12 person boardroom that sees action 3 or 4 times per year. Instead, maximize your business strategy potential by investigating ways to sustain an attitude based on efficiency and thoughtfulness. Refurbish a large unused space into a collaborative work space for staff, and turn smaller office spaces into private meeting rooms for clients as an alternative to a costly move.

 

Creating Positive Experiences

Dark and serious offices inspire serious experiences, and business in 2019 is less about the dryness of the old school business world and more so about developing a work/life balance that integrates fun, health, and prosperity through experience

2019 is all about experience-driven spaces that embrace the human potential of industrial and corporate spaces, the goals of which are to improve occupant experience while in the space. Space optimizations that are experience-driven are geared at improving the mental and physical wellbeing of people using the space through community-building.

Imagine you’re courting someone you’re attracted to; you’ll go out of your way to maximize your chances of impressing them with a clean apartment, a spotless car, and by taking them to places that spark some excitement. Take them to boring spots, or back to a messy home, and you can expect they’ll tire of that fairly quickly. Customers and clientele are no different. They expect the image of thier partners and favourite establishments to be refreshing, exciting, and innovative in such a way that it beckons them to come back again and again.

Creating these positive experiences doesn’t have to mean a complete office overhaul – it can mean a dedicated revamp of the lobby or waiting room, of your meeting space to invite them in as friends – rather than just customers; make them feel like valued family members, and they’ll seek out ways to maintain the professional relationship between you.

 

Readjust Strategy

We can discuss the aesthetic benefits of adjusting and reimagining physical spaces all day – but there’s one surefire way to address client retention through office strategy, and that’s to adjust your strategy all together.

The #1 reason customers leave a company is because they feel the company doesn’t care about them. Nearly 70% of customers polled say dissatisfaction of care contributes to them leaving. The major difference between companies that experience customer retention and those that don’t? Investment in customer retention strategy, not just customer acquisition. Majority of businesses are so enamored with the prospect of attracting new clientele that they leave old or existing customers by the wayside – despite the fact selling to a repeat customer can be up to 7 times cheaper and easier.

Sometimes, investigating office design strategy is as simple as reimagining how you’re thinking in your current space. Giving your staff a creativity-inspiring space to think is as important as trying to attract new customers.

 

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Customer loyalty and retention is all about providing your customers with a space that speaks to the requirements of their collaborating partners. They need a space that compliments their work ethic, their industry, their age, and their speed. But retention is more than that. It’s all about remembering your current customer base, and dedicating your office strategy to evolving with them as they grow and adapt to the marketplace. Office design strategy isn’t always about paint colours and layout – it’s also about learning more about your customers and how they behave.

Mother Nature is Taking Back the Office

Modern society loves to ignore the fact that human beings are animals. We’re designed to interact and integrate with our environment – and contrary to popular belief, that natural environment isn’t sandwiched between two cubicle walls inhaling sterile air with no view of the outside world.

Humans possess the instinctual need to be immersed in the real world, and without access to it, our behaviors can change. So it’s no surprise employees and some businesses are demanding Mother Nature be integrated back into the office space.  

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Commercial Interior Designs For Cutting-Edge Offices

Gauging the amount of widespread information available today may have you thinking office spaces must be metaphorical beehives — buzzing with borderline instinctual, relentless efficiency and productivity. While design commercial interior design strategy may be a common subject for the corporate crowd, actually putting that knowledge into practice is an entirely different beast.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve completed numerous interior commercial builds for our clientele. Our main goal is always to improve environmental factors that elevate office structure and growth – but it’s the little things that matter most.

Here’s our greatest hits list of three recent cutting-edge tech/law office builds that Aura Office Environments has helped transform.

 

Westside Family Law

Proudly serving the west side of Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, and New Westminster, Westside Family Law HQ lies in the heart of the South Granville neighbourhood.

They came to Aura looking to revitalize their office space to usher in a new era of customer service and project a renewed brand identity. We tackled this law office revamp using a three pillar system, addressing each issue with our trademark innovation and creativity.

Eco-Friendly

The existing Westside Family Law space wasn’t cramped by any stretch, but its footprint presented a unique challenge in that there was no buffer or transition zone from the lobby to the offices of the business. We developed a fresh and modern design using reclaimed and salvaged cedar timbers in a dynamic, angled floor-to-ceiling partition to add warmth and humanity. Using these eco-friendly and reclaimed materials helped develop a unique identity synonymous with second chances and helped to create pivotal transition zones in the space.

Detailed

It’s all about the little touches. Offices aren’t the boring, stale spaces they were during the corporate cubicle surge of the 1950s; today’s cutting edge modern spaces require a zest of life that helps differentiate them from their predecessors. Office art is a staple of any space, but we chose to present geographic representations of Greater Vancouver, the ocean, and the temperate rainforest in a unique way by suspending canvases from the ceiling, rather than have them conventionally hung on the wall. The result is a much taller space, helping the eye gaze upward and to a more modern installation process.

Materials & Linear Lines

Materials are every bit as important as the layout of a cutting edge office environment. We used a polished concrete to create a flashy focal point for clients entering this new space. Polished concrete is an incredibly hot material right now in many aspects of architecture and home design. We used strong linear lines to help create an artistic juxtaposition from the reclaimed timbers behind the receptionists’ desk for a powerful intersection of organic and industrial textures.

Owen Bird

The Owen Bird Law corporation is a full-service law firm located in downtown Vancouver. When we began working with this well-established brand, we integrated an office aura plan to maintain the traditional energy of the space, while integrating modern technology, some modern aesthetic changes, and successfully utilized the panoramic view of the city to bring the outdoors in.

Focal Points

We needed to help the space feel more open and inviting, so the team at Aura worked to select a unique carpet pattern that was both warm, modern, and assisted in carrying the eye throughout the space, rather than creating a solid block of texture on the floor. The result is an opposing linear carpet that creates a vibrant, stone-like appeal that carries throughout the lobby and private office settings.

 

Traditional Style & Modern Tech

This is an established and respected brand, and the team at Owen Bird were adamant that they pay respect to their past, and to the traditional pieces that help identify the space as a key player in the Vancouver law community. We integrated traditional pieces like leather chairs and sofa sets, dark and warm desks and wood accents, and modern neutral colour palettes with modern technology, and innovative modern accents here and there to update and differentiate the appeal of this stately and dignified space.

Utilize the View

We borrowed some of the ample daylight projected into the space via the large floor-to-ceiling glass windows in an effort to help Owen Birds’ clients feel welcome. A view from an office is rarely as stunning as the one from these windows, so we embraced the water view, the mountains, and the urban centre below to solidify a stunning aesthetic that informed much of our material choices for the rest of the space.

Brand Alliance

Brand Alliance is a North American leader in promotional marketing. They began as a Canadian grassroots company and soon expanded to work with some of the most respected and biggest brands in Canada. They hold a very strong dedication to environmental standards, strengthening community, and social compliance to develop their brand as a good neighbour involved with many local, national, and international charities.

The came to Aura invested with a belief that their space should represent their brand, and we jumped at the opportunity to work collaboratively with this like minded creative team.

Vibrancy

We used vibrant colours in furniture, and furniture accents to reaffirm Brand’s dedication to multiculturalism, diversity, and flavour in the workplace. Using colour in this regard is a surefire way to develop a reinvigorated, fresh space with little time or investment.

Open Space / Open Communication

We created more open and airy seating areas for both staff and clientele to communicate openly. With greenery and a nice view as a backdrop for our revamped seating areas, this office space encourages inter-office creativity, open collaboration, and chance encounters that build upon a legacy of close-knit teams and enviable company culture.

We built a rooftop patio to assist in developing a dynamic work-based approach to work/life balance, giving the team a place to escape the hustle of the office and recharge their batteries, while simultaneously creating an in-house lunch/break room that’s comfortable, inviting, and peppered with sleek modern touches like innovative media/tech and clean modernist lines.

Retro Style

Using an aesthetic that blends old industrial remnants found in their building like brick, exposed beams, and mortar, we integrated glass walls to keep the space open and inviting, while using warm wood accents and doors to continue a made-by-hand approach to the office design to incorporate the grassroots and human beginning of this continental powerhouse business.

Retro style played a big role in our environmental influences during this build, ushering in a sense of playfulness, humanity, and community. Littered with modern furniture pieces and comfy, warm leathers and pleasant fabrics, we think we hit the nail on the head.  

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Designs for cutting-edge offices are as varied and as engaging as they come. They’re all about integrating employee satisfaction, work/life balance, and corporate efficiency into a realm of innovation, creativity, and vibrancy.

Further to the psychology of the office, the modern landscape of commercial office design is all about bringing the outdoors in, seamlessly introducing new technology, and making a statement about your environment.

5 Breakthroughs In Commercial Interior Design Technologies

The very first iterations of a so-called modern office were rolled out to the masses in the early 1900’s. Most of them featured an open concept layout to support collaboration and communication – but they also contributed to massive levels of noise and distraction. Cue the 1950’s cubicle revolution, which went a little too far in the other direction and inspired unintentional isolation and a drop of office worker morale.

The most up-to-date commercial interior design mantra does something in the middle, option to include aspects of both to accommodate the individual working styles of different employees who need different environments to accomplish different tasks – but the biggest breakthrough of 2018 has proven to be the inclusion of more and more advanced commercial interior design technologies.

Here are our top 5 breakthroughs in commercial interior design technologies.

 

Virtual Reality Communications

Remember the hologram meetings the Empire or Rebel Alliance would host in Star Wars, with the fuzzy life-size visual of Darth? While virtual reality conferencing may not quite be on that level just yet, virtual reality communications are soon to be the mainstream choice of tech-savvy firms the world over.

With current teleconferencing, individuals can carry on with their everyday tasks, or ignoring the meeting altogether because they’re not visible to the other attendees; alternatively, video conferencing has similar issues with participant engagement – a meeting attendee can still do their own thing on-screen in privacy, rendering the meeting ineffective. Virtual reality conferencing allows users in different locations to literally meet in a room together to present CAD 3D models of new products, or share plans.

Skype and Zoom are proving to hold onto their relevancy, as these technologies have become a staple of modern office experiences, and help take meetings to new levels with reliable and high-quality face-to-face video conferencing.

 

Visual & Collaborative Brainstorming

Video conferencing and screen sharing are nothing new – but more and more offices are embracing these tech advances as the primary go-to technology for boosting efficiency in the office and communicating creative ideas in real time.

Screen sharing technologies give meeting attendees a front row view of the presenters screen from anywhere in the world, helping them gain unprecedented access to Powerpoint presentations, product designs, or brainstorming ideas for discussion.

Think back to an old school in-office presentation. Much like an elementary classroom, the presenter would use a black/whiteboard to illustrate and take notes of the topic at hand – but in 2018, these visual supports have received a much-needed makeover.

Google recently introduced a revolutionary G-Suite tool called Jamboard, a virtual whiteboard conferencing app, enabling individual employees from multiple different departments or offices to collaborate and view a singular screen for multiple meeting attendees to draw on and contribute to during brainstorming sessions.

 

Video Communication

Inbound giant, Hubspot, tells us that over 50% of marketers agree video is still the king of creative content, and it provides the best ROI for organizations, prompting some tech groups to embrace video as a means of email communication as well.

Similar to rapport building video conferencing technologies of 2018, video communications are also changing the ways people interact and exchange ideas and correspondence when they’re not live or in a meeting. Programs like Vidyard allow office employees to record and create simple, short video messages as emails, eliminating text, and adding a personal touch that text messages and voice messages can’t come close to.

Videos also help to better communicate context, voice, and tone, helping to more authentically engage workplace communication needs and eliminate any unwanted misinterpretation.

 

Gamification Culture

Gamification is a growing and expansive methodology used predominantly in education and training circles, but more and more commercial office environments are using games as a way to build company culture. Hosting a trivia, or video joke session via Slack, for example, which can be used to boost company morale as a way of introducing and familiarizing staff with each other.

From a team building perspective, gamification is easy to accommodate, fun, and a great way to connect individuals who may not get the chance to interact at work otherwise.

Advancing the fun-having identity of gamification and connective apps like Slack, Google Drive, and Google Hangouts, organizations are voluntarily employing the concept of “remote week” wherein they encourage employees to work from their favourite location — a coffee shop, the cottage, home, etc — as a way to encourage them to better understand these fun and engaging modes of communication and collaboration, but also as a way to introduce and familiarize themselves with telecommuting and the many benefits of a liberated and mobile workforce.

 

Voice Recognition & Activation

Studies show nearly half of all American routinely use digital voice assistants like Apple’s infamous Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Home – so it’s no surprise that more and more office employees and organizations are using these computing voice assistants to accelerate tasks and minimize the impact of small tasks.

Voice assistants are excellent for scheduling meetings, sending messages, setting timeline-based goals and reminders, and typing notes; so they’re literally like an extra set of hands, and a quick and painless way to make staying on top of your day-to-day office life a breeze.

 

Easy accessibility, remote capabilities, advanced communication tools, and the rapid rise of the telecommuter demographic have prompted technology to make rapid changes to keep up with the ever-evolving office. Similarly, offices are also using consumer technologies in more professional capacities to bridge the gap between work and personal life – and that to us means people are happier; using commercial interior design office tech is making office life easier and enjoyable.

Office Space Utilization for Growing Tech Companies

After staff, office space is likely the biggest expense felt by most growing tech companies. As demand grows and so does your staff, office space utilization becomes a hot commodity.  Knowing that you’re using your existing space in ways that support and suit your growing needs is key to making use of every square inch of the space you have.

Making adjustments to office aesthetics by altering furnishings and floor plan strategies that improve space utilization from horizontal to vertical is a good place to start. Storage, organization, decluttering, and repositioning space to suit the changing demands of an ever-evolving workforce can hugely help growing tech companies to develop their offices into spaces that suit their changing needs.

 

What is Office Space Utilization?

Office space utilization is the process of understanding how and why existing office space is used, and underused by its organization, and combating wasted space with new ways to better utilize extra square footage through redesign, re-imagination, and shifts to layout and existing spaces.

 

Tech Office Design

In modern tech office design, office utilization rates typically range between 60-70% – meaning 30-40% of existing space isn’t being used well during a typical workday, and when office real estate is usually one of the top two expenses for most organizations, managing office space is key to increasing efficiency, and reducing costs

The majority of modern tech office designs are activity based working (ABW) offices and they’re continually growing in size and scope. These types of office spaces are divided into different areas to support different working styles and tasks.

  • Quiet spaces
  • Shared workstations
  • break / common rooms
  • conference /meeting rooms

 

This allows staff to pick and choose where and how they choose their time, and lends itself well to determining which spaces are taken advantage of, and which ones can be placed on the chopping block to better utilize the space.

 

Find Out What’s Working

When companies take stock on continual space utilization measurements, they’ll begin to see trends and collect data to help save space, energy, and costs. Once or twice per year, measure space utilization to help identify areas that can benefit from further development, and make corrections to address usefulness and productivity.

 

Aesthetic Changes

Horizontal to Vertical Layout & Storage

Horizontal office layouts are inevitable. People need space to work and space to move around. But office space utilization is as much about practical storage solutions as it is useable work environments. Transitioning existing storage solutions that get in the way of everyday employee traffic aren’t very practical, or an efficient use of floor space. Vertical storage solutions are organized, space efficient, and allow growing tech companies to make use of freed up floor space for collaborative work spaces, or private work zones to hire new staff to keep up with demand.

As the millennial workforce continues to dominate the employee landscape, more and more eco-friendly staff will end up biking to work as a way to reduce their carbon footprint and save money. An increase of bikes in the office space can be easily combated – and aesthetically pleasing when vertical wall storage for staff bikes is implemented in entrance ways and/or common areas. The aesthetic is charming, gives a sense of the identity of the office, and gets a bunch of bikes up and out of the way.

Cloud storage technology and digital file sharing has largely done away with the majority of physical paperwork, especially in the tech sector – so eliminating old school filing systems is another great way to free up some traditionally spoken-for space. Use vertical shelving units to store tech-related publications and references for employees in a vertical manner not only saves space, but it also gives eye-level access to employees seeking information.

 

Floor Plan Changes

Sometimes the office outgrows mismatched furniture or items that take up too much space. Agile interior design in the office is meant to boost square footage, accessibility, and productivity by giving employees the ability to choose where, when, and how they work, eliminating any shred of preconceived obligation to sit at a specific desk location all day. Eliminate the majority of stand-alone desks, and increase floor space and freedom for your growing staff.

Collaborative work zones, open concept common space, and private zones demonstrate agility in the office by re-evaluating existing floor plans and optimizing office space by allowing people to be mobile, to change one’s surroundings, and to explore differences in working environments.

If your collaborative spaces are being used a lot, but quiet spaces are seldom used, make some changes by better utilizing some quiet space as additional collaboration space in an effort to make room and ramp up productivity.

 

Adaptable Furniture

Agility in your floor plan uses a combination of adaptability and mobility to encourage employees to use existing space in ways not traditionally supported. When tech office space layouts embrace human personality and spirit, style, efficiency, and practicality often emerge.  

Modular furniture options re another fantastic way to maximize office space utilization. Modular furniture is mobile, portable, and multipurpose, allowing it to take the place of multiple bulky furniture pieces. Height adjustable desks and privacy walls are perfect examples of space-savvy furniture that can quickly and easily transform spaces for growing teams while keeping the bulk of traditional furniture to a minimum.

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When your tech office design isn’t working, it’s costing your company money and stopping your staff from having access to the space they need to maximize their efforts.

As your tech company grows, spaces will inevitably have to change as demand for more optimized working environments becomes more and more noticeable. The first step to maximizing office space utilization is always taking a step back to recognize what you’re dealing with, and where advances can be made. Don’t be afraid to change things up, it’s good for you.

3 Must-Haves of Collaborative Office Spaces

Trends in modern collaborative office design can change rapidly. As more and more millennial employees enter the workforce, the spirit of the office changes with them, and adaptability is proving to be the critical overarching must-have of collaborative office spaces.

Every aspect of an office space contributes to this positive shift in company culture; furniture, architecture, openness, layout, colour, and even access to privacy are key pillars of collaborative office spaces that are contributing to the reinvention of how we use work environments.

The most important must-haves of collaborative office spaces aren’t the materialistic company perks you may be thinking of, like office kegs, ping pong tables, and espresso machines. While those round out the experience, the most sought after designs cater to human connectivity first and foremost.  

 

Flexible Technology, Connectivity & Power

Gensler reports that 80% of Millennial and Gen Z employees believe that technology including mobile devices, laptops and mobile workstations, video conferencing capabilities, and wearable technology have all benefited the workplace. Thanks to millennials making up the majority of the modern workforce, and modern offices depending on immense levels of constant connectivity, integrating state-of-the-art flexible technology and access to power is integral to the success, productivity, and usefulness of collaborative office spaces.  

New technology allows collaborative office spaces flourish in ways never before achievable. Modern capabilities of mobile technologies like laptops allow employees to customize their work environment daily, and adapt their space to the specific project they’re working on at any given moment. Encouraging the use and inclusion of flexible technology and reliable connectivity allows organizations to cater to and support the spontaneity of their employees.

One of the larger items on the wish lists of millennial employees is the ability – or opportunity – to work remotely, making video conferencing and modern communication technology a vastly useful tool to increase efficiency and productivity. With organizational communication apps like Slack, Google Hangouts, or join.me, office/worldwide tech allows employees to collaborate and exchange info and ideas over huge distances almost instantaneously. These options make use of screen-sharing, virtual whiteboards, and file sharing to optimize the virtual office experience.

 

Collaborative Work Spaces

Must-have modern technology is also dependant physical work spaces that cater to, and support the mobility of employees within the office environment. Both the physical layout of the space, including the flow of energy in the room, its architecture, openness, and layout – as well as the furniture and objects that occupy that space should always be tailored to optimizing the functionality and collaborative spirit of the office itself.

 

Layout & Flow

90% of polled employees agree that room is not enough – intuitive office design is integral to the flow of energy within an office space and its direct link to organizational and individual productivity. The atmosphere that’s produced by an office layout must be designed to distinctly cater to positivity and efficiency.

Gensler surveyed 4,000 employees to find that companies with more functional, better designed office environments were more likely to earn the reputation as innovative. Traditionally, open concept offices have been beneficial for companies that occupy the creative sector, utilizing conversation and openness as a front for establishing conversation and sharing ideas. On the other side, the classic cubicle and individualized private spaces have fared better with organizations that require private conversations with clients and/or customers and quiet space for specific tasks. Finding a happy medium with collaborative office layout is key to giving employees the option to have either or depending on their way, working style, and personal preference.

 

Furniture

Consider when companies hire a new employee, they’re more inclined to hire someone who brings more than one skill to the table – collaborative spaces need to include adaptable furniture that serve more than one function so they benefit a number of situations.

Multipurpose and adaptable furniture helps ensure employees are empowered and able to change the spirit and function of a collaborative space at any given time to address their specific needs. From simple things like rearranging seating and tables at a moments notice to facilitate a group brainstorm session, to adapting an open concept space into more private workstations, furniture can play a big role in the transformation and comfort of a collaborative office, giving teams and individuals the power to build spaces that serve them best.

Moving desks together, creating private work spaces, allowing impromptu meetings to take place, and encouraging the likelihood of positive brainstorming sessions and change meetings are just some of the ways adaptable furniture can benefit a collaborative office space. Multipurpose furniture can also encourage staff to utilize furniture in ways that support physical wellbeing.

Height adjustable desks give sedentary positions a new lease on life by allowing employees to sit and stand as they please encouraging mobility and healthy ergonomic posture in the workplace. Standing at work can lower risk of weight gain, promote lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce potential back pain associated with sitting, and improve mood and energy levels.

 

Purposeful Designs that Focus on Nature

The Millennial workforce is now the single largest employable demographic in the modern working landscape, and they come with their own quirks, values, and must-haves. Of considerable note, millennials are much more environmentally conscious than the previous generation, and are dedicated to contributing to the health and sustainability of their own environments, both at home, and at work.

Must-haves in this regard for the modern collaborative office are sourcing sustainable products, and taking steps to reduce the carbon footprint of the organization — reflect their values by choosing to do the same.

Living Walls

Offices can begin their pursuit of a more eco-friendly space by integrating natural elements in purposeful interior design, like including plants and greenery in open and collaborative spaces, or even opting to include a living wall as a way to both increase the exposure employees have to green spaces, and as a way to refresh and improve the air quality in the building.

Living walls, also referred to as vertical gardens or green walls, are a fantastic addition to office spaces that are hellbent on improving their spaces by adding a natural element to its design, and identity. They’ve been proven to benefit employee morale and enhance the overall aesthetic of the environment, while boosting air quality by acting as a living filtration system by metabolizing harmful toxins like carbon monoxide and benzene. Alarmingly, 58% of offices neglect to include living plants in their environments.

Living walls also assist in reducing the energy costs of an office building via evapotranspiration – a process that functions to cool the air in summer months, and warm it during the winter. The greenery acts as additional insulation that can effectively lower surface wall temperature by up to 50°F. They’re also beneficial to the reduction in ambient noise, assisting in the acoustic design of collaborative office spaces that respect and cater to private zones dedicated to brainstorming, or client discussions.

Views of Nature

Human beings are intrinsically linked to nature. We’re social creatures who are naturally explorative and having access to nature while at work is statistically linked to both feelings of wellbeing in the workplace, productivity, and creativity.

A study titled Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace recently polled 7,600 employees around the world, and found that employees who work in collaborative office spaces with natural features reported a 15% increase to overall feelings of wellbeing, while 6% reported increased productivity and 15% reported a boost to their creativity. Despite the direct correlation between employee satisfaction and views of nature, nearly half of companies don’t have access to natural light. This can be easily attained through a staunch revaluation of practical layout and purposeful interior design.

Windows should be optimized to allow for maximum sunlight, while including forms and patterns commonly found in nature, including leaf outlines, honeycomb, waves, etc. helps to integrate a connection to natural spaces. Having access to a physical connector, like a rooftop patio, common space, or break space can offer employees an opportunity to retreat from the office. Water features, or views of rivers, lakefront, or shoreline also help perpetuate a feeling of serenity and tranquility amongst employees.

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The modern office environment must be a welcoming and enjoyable place to work, helping foster an atmosphere of collaboration geared towards optimizing productivity and efficiency.

Utilizing any of these tips for collaborative office must-haves can help to spearhead the transition to a more satisfactory workspace, but key to developing a unique space that’s tailored to the needs and working style of your staff is open communication and the willingness to make meaningful change. The ideal collaborative office is within reach – ironically, sometimes all it takes is collaboration to reach the right solution.  

Boardroom Design

These days, there’s a wealth of opinions and info available about how to design and host effective meetings – but not a lot of info on how to design an effective boardroom. In order to impress , stakeholders, and clients, board room designs have to have serious impact, and while video conference calls and virtual meetings may be on the rise, a professional and modern board room is still a core piece of organizational identity.

Effective and powerful meeting spaces hold the power to affecting and influencing how your business is perceived by your partners, competitors, and clientele, which is why boardroom design is such a surprisingly important aspect of modern office design.

Here are our top picks of client-facing board room ideas that have serious impact on their businesses, their brands, and their success.

 

Showcase & Use Technology

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected through digital and mobile technologies, so state of the art digital media and audiovisual communication technology is critical to the success and effectiveness of any boardroom design.

Rooms with adequate technology are used 5X more often that rooms without, and Herman Miller Research tells us that limited technology causes smaller conference rooms to be used only 10% of the time – so some key pillars of required tech should be screens, displays, and communication devices – but different organizations will require different tech in their spaces, so suit according to your specific needs.

Technology can also be used to implement effective and streamline booking efforts to alleviate conflict and accidental double-occupancy of a space to improve investor perception of your company’s internal organization.

 

The Impact of Colour & Lighting

Physical environments are extremely important to the positive impact of your boardroom spaces. Conference and boardrooms typically benefit from brightness and alertness, and as such the impact of colour and lighting play big roles in the perception of a space.

It’s been found in innumerable studies that natural light affects the cognitive performance of the brain and causes us stay alert and engaged longer. The ideal boardroom is situated close by a view of nature, and/or allows ample amounts of natural light to flood the space – artificial fluorescent lighting can contribute to meeting attendees feeling drowsy, unmotivated, and frankly, bored.

 

Materials

Choice of furniture and feature materials can play a massive role in the way a boardroom impacts its occupants. Aesthetically, there are many different ways to ramp up the visual appeal of your boardroom. Modern design themes implement brushed metals, glass, leather, and crisp monochromatic colour palettes to exemplify a space that’s up-to-date, professional, and efficient.

More comfortable and laid-back boardrooms can successfully utilize materials like wood and stone to portray a more organic and authentic atmosphere. Alternative to visual aesthetics, materials like cloth, microfiber, and felt can play a role in the physical comfort of boardroom occupants. If the room isn’t comfortable, it will prove difficult to achieve the desired results from those who use it.

 

Smaller Footprint

Modern conference and boardrooms are chronically ill-equipped and underused. Herman Miller Research tells us that out of a standardized 12 chairs, only 3 or 4 are occupied at any given time, meaning that the quintessential boardroom is much too large, and that gives the illusion of an unmotivated, absent, or disengaged staff.

Working in and implementing smaller boardroom spaces not only saves physical space contributing to a wealth of other office space uses, but it can also contribute to increased efficiency, connectivity, and productivity. Smaller, more versatile boardrooms and meeting places are ideal for surprise meetings, unscheduled huddles, and conference calls.

 

Tie the Company Into the Space

Your core values and brand need to be reflected in the design of your boardroom. A great way to do this and simultaneously inject your boardroom with a zest of professional aesthetics is to add a video background display that reflects the spirit of your brand. It represents a great way to get creative and put some innovative thought and reflection into your space.

For example, rather than a massive logo, consider the video conference background in your boardroom with the Why statement of your business, or a quote or mantra delivered by your company founder, or an influential figurehead of your industry to help exemplify your brand’s dedication to greatness.

Use company colours in this important background wall, get creative with textures and try to exemplify a digital presence that helps raise your brand to new visual heights.

 

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It’s critical that your business is able to grab hold of investor and stakeholder attention in the increasingly competitive and fast-paced business landscape of 2018.

Board room design idea that have serious impact are all about colour, light, digital tech prowess, and ensuring that the physical spaces themselves are conducive to collaboration, efficiency, and professionalism – ensure your space is positioned on those pillars, and you’ll have to trouble impressing the key prospects of your business.