The design of your office reflects your company’s values. Well-designed workspaces create an environment that can have an enormously positive impact on your employees’ overall productivity and morale.

Function within design elements are of utmost importance – whether you commute to the office, or you work from your home. If you’re the owner of a company, you should be encouraging and supporting all of your remote employees to carefully design their offices at home, by offering tips and ideas on how to better enjoy their tenure as a remote contributor to your company culture. As far as the onsite offices, it’s left in your hands to have them designed in a manner that enhances productivity.

A good office design will support a variety of work modes. You need spaces that support collaboration as well as individual workspaces where employees can focus and be free from distractions.

When considering office design, companies need to ask questions and listen to their employees. Leaders should consider who their employees are, as well as, who they may be in the next five years. Given the countless ways to design and plan an employee’s workspace, leaders should take a strategic approach when re-designing an office.

Studies on workplace and productivity have shown the most important element in determining an employee’s ability to focus is the physical environment in which they work. Employees must be able to filter out distractions in order to focus on the task at hand. Preferred physical characteristics of an employees’ environment will vary from one employee to the next. The individual preference is typically dependent on the task being tackled and the individual employee.

Let’s take a look at five popular office designs that are meant to increase efficiency and productivity.

Multipurpose Workspaces

Utilizing a single space for everything from multimedia presentations to casual breakout areas is a growing trend. Employers are seeking to provide employees with a more comfortable and enjoyable work environment to encourage collaboration.

Many offices are mandating dedicated lounge areas as employees now look for more interaction with coworkers. Cubicles are disappearing and being replaced by “the bench.” Many organizations are moving towards a non-assigned seating mindset and are integrating oval-shaped office desks, providing space for 4-6 people to meet.

Ergonomic Workstations

In order to stimulate thinking, creativity, and concentration, employers are incorporating ergonomic workstations in their offices. And to mitigate the effects of sitting at a desk for long periods of time, modern office workplaces are integrating ergonomic chairs. The chairs provide lumbar support and feature adjustable height and armrest settings. It’s not uncommon to find height-adjustable desks being used by people who like to alternate between sitting and standing while working.

Exercise ball chairs are being incorporated for employees who want to exercise while they work. While exercise balls may not be preferred by all employees, it’s commonly agreed that adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs are well received by everyone in the workplace.

Color Philosophy

As offices migrate toward a more open and collaborative workspace, there is also a focus on colors and the impact they have on an employee’s productivity. Color has long been proven to affect productivity, thus being a reason more offices are integrating pops of color in multiple ways, such as paint, accessories, and furniture.

Today’s companies strive to create workplaces that reflect both their brand and values. This is achieved by doing much more than simply placing logos here and there. Employers are considering the impact color plays in the workplace environment and they are choosing colors that emit a positive emotional response from both a customer and employee standpoint.

Worth noting is that people react differently to various colors, so employers will often look to hues and shades that are generally believed to promote energy, creativity, calmness, and happiness. Due to a large number of variables, employers will often hire office design professionals when choosing workspace colors. These professionals recognize the relationship between important elements, like furniture, lighting, color, and texture, and how they reflect a company’s culture.

Adding color to the workplace is about much more than painting the walls; color can be injected throughout the office through art, graphics, and more.

Nature

Reconnecting people with nature is one of the most powerful trends in workplaces across America. It’s believed when employees connect with nature, it provides better concentration, creativity, and performance. Employers are bringing sunlight into the workspace through large glass windows, glass walls, glass doors, and glass ceilings. Although not popular in smaller offices, the use of fountains, streams, and mini waterfalls are commonly being seen in building lobbies, common areas, and large offices.

We are also seeing a huge surge in the popularity of plants being integrated into the work environment. Plants purify the air of toxic compounds, and they also transform carbon dioxide into oxygen, which helps employees concentrate better and it improves their health. Employers are placing plants, trees, and rocks throughout the office environment to promote a natural environment. According to a research team in the UK, having plants in the workplace can boost employee productivity by as much as 15%

Glass Doors and Walls

One of the most popular materials being integrated into workplace design is interior glass. Aside from the advantages of glass allowing natural light to flow throughout the work environment, companies are using glass doors and walls to promote more transparency in the workplace. To reduce a feeling of being isolated, glass walls and doors allow employees to view what coworkers are doing, which encourages team collaboration. Glass doors and walls are soundproof when used in this capacity. Making use of glass throughout office design tends to encourage and promote honesty and integrity throughout an organization.

With advancements in glass systems, interior glass has become the material of choice. Many offices have glass areas where information can be written or projected onto them; this enhances functionality and augments workplace connectivity. Glass walls give the appearance of openness and are easier and cheaper to install than regular walls.

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Company leaders have an opportunity to improve their employees’ productivity, satisfaction, and engagement by improving their workspace design. Sources claim productivity can increase by approximately 20 percent when providing a well-designed office for employees.

Not only will a carefully curated office design improve employee performance, but it will put employers in a position to compete with other organizations by helping them attract top-talented employees. Today’s workforce demands creative stimulation, collaboration, and flexibility, and a well-planned office design can facilitate all three of these valuable elements.