VP, Energy & Construction Services
Sodexo North America
The nature of business is evolving. Our interconnected, technology-driven world yields new philosophies on how and where work gets done. This flexibility questions the effectiveness of traditional office spaces and presents an opportunity to rethink the work environment.
New workplace strategies are leading redevelopments in office design. Companies are realizing that the traditional office layout needs to be modified to match how people work. Forward-thinking organizations are designing spaces that are not only beautiful and functional, but also incorporate practices that enhance employee well-being. These aesthetic modifications raise morale and increase productivity which translates to better performance for the organization.
According to “Destination Collaboration: The Future of Work,” Oxford Properties predicts a multi-functional space that accommodates different types of tasks, worker preferences and the nature of the business. Integrating these core drivers into the office of the future can positively impact productivity, creativity, and culture to improve the quality of life.
Bringing an employee centric design to the office starts with understanding the needs of today’s knowledge worker. With open floorplans expanding, more employees are craving spaces for privacy and comfort. This desire for contemplative spaces was at the forefront of the newest office designs. Smaller scale products that create visual and acoustical cocoons such as curved high back seating and privacy pods answer the challenge of finding quiet space using a reduced real estate footprint. Bringing the appeal of working at home to a corporate setting, more residential and home-like accessories, finishes and fabrics will be integrated into the office of the future. This is a distinct change from the stark designer white trend of the past five years. With laptops and mobile devices replacing desktop computers, increased access to power and data sources will enable expanded worker mobility. Integrating items with plug and play technology into tables and sofas lets workers change their setting based on task. These new styles give workers a sense of choice and comfort, helping to align a facility with employee performance.
Through extensive research, PSFK Consulting Team observed how “businesses are designing their work environments around the philosophy that play and fun can help inspire their employees to design more innovative ideas, products and services.” There are endless possibilities for companies to make the most of their space while helping enhance the quality of life for employees. From adding vibrant colors to games in the office, companies are exploring various options to stimulate creativity and reduce stress for employees. Highlighting opportunities, PSFK Consulting Team found that companies can incorporate whimsical, yet functional elements into their office as a means of inspiring their employees; encouraging interaction and innovation. An organization’s office space speaks volumes of its values and workplace culture helping a company retain talent and attract new employees.
However, one size does not fit all. Organizations have to align the interests of their employees and values with the overall goals of the business to truly create an office space that promotes efficiency, engagement and productivity. Work spaces that empower and engage employees will ultimately help the business thrive.
Jason Richards is Vice President, Energy & Construction Services.