There’s plenty of advice on how to make your office more efficient and productive. But a great work environment isn’t just about productivity.
Defining a Great Work Environment
We define a great work environment as a place where everyone feels valued, connected and fulfilled. So how can a physical space meet these emotional needs? The best answer (as always) comes from your employees. Ask about their best office experiences. Specifically, what did the offices look like, and how did they make them feel? Energized? Creative?
We’ve helped office managers and interior designers create great work environments, simply by moving furniture to create a new office layout, and by making more dramatic changes like relocating offices – all driven by employee responses like these:
There was always an appropriate place to get things done – even personal tasks.
There was no visible hierarchy. Everyone was genuinely interested in each other and the work we were doing.
It was so well organized and up-to-date! We never wasted time searching or waiting for what we needed to move forward.
The office adapted to my work-style, not the other way around.
In other words, every aspect of the physical office – space, design, and layout – contributed to the experience of being a valued employee.
Here’s what we see facility leaders doing to create great work environments:
Offices are notorious for bad lighting, dead air, and uninspired decor. So it’s no surprise much of the work we’re hired to do changes all that. Whether our clients are renovating or moving to a new office, they are doing it with their employees’ well-being in mind by:
- Upgrading to ergonomic and active office furniture
- Allowing more natural light
- Adding fitness amenities
- Incorporating environmental elements into their design
- Designing outdoor spaces for meetings and breaks
Designing to the Work
Every business has a natural flow. Top employers design ‘zones’ to maximize this flow – providing a place for everything, so everything can take place… at the office. Appropriate work zones often include:
- Open collaborative areas that foster teamwork
- Quiet rooms for private or contemplative work
- Casual, relaxed spaces for informal discussions
- Communal eating areas that encourages people to get out from behind their desks
Integrating Management Teams
Leaders don’t separate management from the the day-to-day bustle of the office because they know the office – not the quarterly meeting – is the primary place for meaningful interaction. People are more comfortable talking about how things really are when they see each other every day. So whether it means taking down walls, adding windows, or moving staff between floors, the dynamic of your entire office will change for the better with management’s daily presence.
Expanding Meeting Spaces
The basics: everyone should be seen and heard. Everyone should have a place to sit and comfortably take notes. Overcrowding people makes them less inclined to participate (and more inclined to just get it over with) to the detriment of personal and business results. Use the entire office if you have to, but make ample meeting space a priority to foster participation and valuable experiences.
Making the Right Resources Available
Sometimes the difference between a good and a great work environment is nothing more than a technology upgrade. If you’re equipment isn’t up to snuff, your employees will waste time and opportunities frustrated by the lack of appropriate technology to connect and share their ideas. At worst, inferior resources will infringe on their personal time making your them resentful of having to stay late or bring work home. When you remove inferior office equipment you open the door to focus on initiatives that can put your business over the top.
Call on Experts to Help
Think about who could help you strategize and create a quality space. Start with your own staff – those people who are great at getting others to share their ideas. Be sure to also engage the people who are most likely to have an opposing view. Hear them out. Who has experienced the current office the longest, and who has the most diverse office experience? Then consult designers, architects, project managers and professional office movers for their practical expertise.
Designing for productivity alone is not enough. Your employees have to be engaged. In order to do that, they need to feel valued and fulfilled by their work. And your physical office plays a key role in making that happen. If your office isn’t a place people want to show up to, it’s time to improve the quality of your office environment to provide every employee with the best experience possible.ShareTweetShareShare