It’s that old premise. A happy office is a productive office. We’ve all heard it – countless times no doubt and probably straight from the boss’ mouth. But how many of us have actually stopped to think about it? Just because the phrase has become entwined with clichéd management stock phrases, by no means does this mean that it isn’t true. We come into contact with a lot of office spaces supplying our glass wall partitioning, and have made some discoveries on the topic.
It turns out that today, we can optimise workspaces to whole new levels with innovative design and research insight. We’ve recently been reading up on some of the latest ideas on how clever office design can not only improve performance but also put smiles across the faces of staff – and we’ve been inspired by the developments out there.
Our eyes have been opened to what can be achieved – and I’d love to share the inspiration with you all! Here’s how the experts reckon that we can find our ‘happy’ at work.
Flexibility: Office design that breaks down traditional space barriers seems to work really well when it comes to increasing employee performance. So, forget about divisive office boundaries and desk partitioning. It’s all about making your workspace go further.
Martin Laws of Deliotte Real Estate says that “flexible working practices have gone hand in hand with the increasing popularity of open-plan offices where employees often hot-desk or work in wi-fi-enabled social spaces within the building”. To make sure that open-plan is still compatible with the privacy and quiet we often need in professional environments, we’re seeing a trend popping up for hybrid partitioning. Think natural textures, glass and funky furniture.
Collaboration: This flexible thinking leads us onto collaboration. In the last couple of years, there’s been a significant amount of research pointing toward the positive effects of collaborative working. This all seems to be tied in with the expectations and/or preferences of the millennial workers establishing themselves in our markets.
Collaborative working is great for sharing ideas and is especially important in organisations where teamwork is an essential part of your deliverability process. The fresh thinking that gives the edge against your competition is fuelled by collaboration too, with studies finding that 80% of innovation stems from pe
ople working together. Surely the interaction, success and puts smiles on faces?
Prospective employees also prefer collaboration, a strong suggestion that they believe they’ll be happier in a workspace that enables them to freely move, work and speak. For example, The Future Workplace report by The Future Laboratory found that in order to attract and retain high-calibre employees, companies need to foster a more collaborative environment. Telling stuff!
Biophilic Design: Or in lemans terms, greenery and natural light! I for one am familiar with the fact that the positivity-boosting endorphins our bodies create when exposed to sunlight make us feel happy (just a grey day makes us all feel a bit glum). And it seems that office designers are clued up on this too. Glass partitioning to allow for natural light to flood through offices and bring the outside in are really popular ways to achieve this.
The science behind the biophilic theory is that employees will feel ‘closer to nature’ (hang in there with me on this one). It’s thought that we feel less stressed and more creative when exposed to elements of the natural world. This surely seems like a recipe for happiness – and the statistics backing up the claims certainly provide some food for thought.
A study that we found entitled ‘The Global Impact of Biophilic Design In The Workplace’ reported that employees who work in environments bathed in natural light and scattered (or adorned) with live plants enjoy a 15% higher level of wellbeing, are 6% more productive and 15% more creative overall. Smiles all round then!
Originality: Office greenery and open-plan floors are becoming way more common these days, although a lot of companies are still to make the ‘logical link’ between happiness, performance and workspace design. Many studies find that smart uses of light, colour, sense of space and divisions all lead to employees being more engaged and productive and thus much happier during the working day.
But whilst it’s important to tick all these boxes, the best and more creative office design goes way beyond encouraging a chirpy team. By doing something original or tapping into the synergies of your company ethos with design, you can attract and retain the most talented individuals and therefore foster an environment bursting with creativity and productivity. Think a little outside the box. Consider traditional materials used in new ways. Explore how to segment your workspace to be as efficient as possible.
Through our work as glass wall partitioning subcontractors we’ve seen clients use design to transform the way their workspace operates, leading to teams of happy, productive employees. Why not read up on it for yourself – you’ll be surprised and inspired of what can be achieved!