How to transform your workspace into an office fit for the future
In this guest article, Hayley Blacker, Relationships Director at Interaction, explains how to transform your workspace into an office fit for the future.
As we move into a new year, many businesses will be looking for innovative ways to energise their employees and make the office an inviting, positive and productive space to use.
And many younger employees, conscious of the limitations of home working, will be keen to get back into the office to connect with their colleagues, learn and progress their careers.
A workplace redesign in 2023 can help businesses capitalise on this new love affair with the office and boost staff wellbeing and productivity.
Whether it’s more space to collaborate and socialise, or natural features and light to promote calm and focused working, businesses need to provide a workplace that people will want to come to.
If you’re looking to create a variety of spaces for different ways of working, employ more people, or build a workplace of wellbeing, the following ideas may help you transform your space into an office fit for the future of work.
Your workplace brief
Every good office redesign needs a plan of action. Before you start picking out planters, artwork, and light therapy lamps, you need to consider the following things when designing your office:
- What you’re trying to achieve – Are you creating a workplace that employees will visit every day or a hub for them to pop into once a week? Do you want to foster collaboration, or encourage autonomous working?
- The lifecycle of your redesign – Are you revamping the office for the next ten years, or is this a yearly spruce-up?
- The target market – For landlords, this might be specific industries or sectors; for office tenants, this will likely be your team.
- The credentials and accreditations you want to achieve – Keen to meet the WELL Building Standard? Increasing natural light and improving air quality are structural changes you’ll need to make ahead of adding decor.
The type of workplace you want to create will dictate the design choices you make.
If you want to foster collaboration among teams, fewer desks and more lounge space might be the best course of action.
Many businesses and employees now see environmental issues as increasingly important. An office redesign is a great way to showcase your green credentials by incorporating eco-friendly materials and practices.
Firms that promote sustainability are more likely to be successful in attracting and retaining top talent.
If calls with international clients are a regular occurrence in your office, then perhaps a top-of-the-range audio-visual system should be your priority. Figure out how your people will spend their time when in the office and plan your workplace redesign around those needs.
Rethinking your desk space
If you’re looking to foster collaboration and rekindle workplace friendships, it’s time to think differently about desk space.
Since the pandemic, we’ve seen clients using office space in a multitude of different ways: from events and catering to meeting and lounge spaces. Fluorescent lighting and identical cubicles are a thing of the past. Now, organisations are using the office for idea generation, creative sessions, and cross-departmental collaboration.
Space to complete focused work still matters. But today, rows of desks are balanced with social and collaborative areas where teams can come together. The best part is that you can incorporate these office space designs without having to change any significant structural elements of the building.
With a few smart furniture solutions, you can switch out some of your desk space for collaborative space, so teams have the choice between team and individual work.
Meeting pods and moveable furniture provide a way to switch up your space, without having to build or knock down walls. The result? Spaces that your people can customise to create unique environments that help them do their best work.
The tech that can help you connect
We’ve seen an increasing number of clients include high-quality audio-visual systems in their office space designs. With organisations fielding conference calls left, right, and centre, having the tech infrastructure to support those functions is now a necessity.
When it comes to designing your office, consider how you can make video conferencing spaces effective. Soundproofing, projectors, and multiple microphones can enhance the audio-visual experience.
Touch screen collaboration tools could also be a worthwhile investment. These gadgets allow you to pull up designs, drawings, and specifications, so you can gather your team and work on projects collectively.
One thing you’ll need to consider on your office redesign journey is that audio-visual technology needs to be more than just useful. It has to be easy, and seamless to use.
Many people experienced remote work for the first time during the pandemic, and coming back to the office shouldn’t mean they have to contend with finicky devices and low-quality tech.
Designing a workplace for wellbeing
Countless workers reported feeling lonelier than ever during the pandemic. But workplaces allow us to reconnect with each other. Designing an office with wellbeing in mind can help turn the tide on work-related loneliness.
Research has shown that workplaces with natural elements and biophilia can reduce stress, increase productivity, and improve overall wellbeing. Adding skylights, indoor landscaping, and better ventilation to improve air quality reconnects office workers with the natural world.
And it’s not just about changing the internal landscape. Consider how you can improve the commute experience for your teams too, with safe and secure bike racks, and shower facilities for those who choose active travel or a lunchtime gym session.
If you have a beautiful office with exceptional functionality, your people will want to spend time there. And the more people want to spend time there, the more opportunities they have to foster friendships – something that’s fundamental to good wellbeing.
Workplaces need space for focusing, as well as space for connection. An office redesign that makes room for both, makes room for businesses to flourish.