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Most employers, when evaluating their office space, will ask themselves one very important question… Does our work environment affect our employee’s performance?

The answer here is, yes! In today’s company culture, making employees happy and comfortable in the workspace is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity. Companies now understand that if they want their top talents to be on the top of their game, then they need to provide them with the best possible conditions. This has shown in the new styles of office fit-outs that we are creating for our clients.

Over the last 5 years, we have seen the design of the office environment change substantially. Cubicles, which were all the rage in the 90’s and even the early to mid 2000’s, are now obsolete, with companies choosing a more collaborative approach for their workspace. This suits the modern workforce, especially the millennial workforce as they love to be able to collaborate with their colleagues, making them a lot more productive.

Office Space Then vs Now

The key to forming the perfect working conditions is to make them both practical and pleasant to the eye. With the ridiculously fast-changing times, offices spaces are developing in an interesting direction. In the 80’s and 90’s, over-padded sofas, track lights and cubed seating systems were all the rage. However, in the 90’s, 2000’s and through to where we are now, everything got very modern very fast. Employees felt the need to really be more accessible.

This is how the concept of open offices was first created. And, nowadays, this is the most common kind of office fit-out that is created for any company’s space.

Merging Community and the Workspace

Companies took the open office idea to their hearts very quickly. The concept has gained a lot of popularity over the past decade. Just take a look at the spaces created by Adobe. They captured the essence of the open office concept in a refurbishment completed in 2017.

An important part of the design is the so-called ‘third spaces’. A range of soft seating situated around kitchens and other communal areas to bring a homely feeling to the employees. These places allow staff to select their ideal position, thus giving them the opportunity to feel liberated and express individuality. Another major bonus of the open office concept is the fact that you can share information and ideas between employees very easily, creating a much more collaborative work environment. Office furniture, nowadays, aims to be a lot more collaborative than it once was!

Imagine the situation, two designers are discussing an advert for the companies’ website but cannot figure out the colour palette. All of this happens in the seating area near the kitchen. A different colleague from another department passes by and overhears the conversation, they get interested and decide to offer a solution. It is this kind of collaborative that employers crave.

Biophillic Design – Greener in Every Sense

Nowadays, our disconnection from the environment is more evident than ever. The growing pressure of urbanisation and intimidating technological presence gives us lesser and lesser opportunities to recover our mental and physical energy. Even when employees are not supposed to be working, they can still find themselves on their phones, laptops or tablets very late at night, completing work that could be completed in the morning.

So, how is this connected to ‘Biophillic Design’?

Biophilia, the thinking that we as humans subconsciously seek out a connection to nature, allows employers and office design companies such as ourselves to create greener workspaces for the workforce. Plants can be used, as well as a more environmentally friendly design, to create a whole host of benefits for health and well-being. Various studies have been completed that show if a company uses biophillic design within its workspace, employees become more productive. This means they are less likely to need to work at home, which in turn means they are more rested for the the next day.

So, yes. A cactus pot could actually help your employees get their work done quicker!
According to a group of decorators in London, the incorporation of natural colours and patterns is in growing demand. More and more companies are encouraging the use of nature-inspired palettes as well as colours that benefit the overall lighting in their office design.

More Integrated Services for Employees

We have just looked at the benefits of being more collaborative whilst at work, as well as greener design making it easier for you to switch off. However, are those benefits enough to relieve the stress of leaving work at 5pm and having to fight the obligatory rush hour traffic? We think not.
That is why, in the next 5 years, we are going to see more and more integrated services being implemented into office space. Integrated services simply means more “outside work activities” being implemented inside the office space! We are talking about having gyms, bars and even nursery services being used within the office space!

Whilst, predominantly, integrated services of this scale have been reserved for larger companies such as Facebook, Google and plenty of Silicone Valley start-ups, we will see a shift in the times and more smaller companies making use of integrated services to make their employees feel more at home. We might not see it to the extent that larger companies use it, you wouldn’t see SMEs investing in an in-house massage therapist. However, it is completely possible that we will see smaller companies incorporating gyms into the office space.

Improved Company Ideologies

The idea of a brand is bigger than ever before. In short, people aren’t just buying a product or service that fits their needs; they’re consistently seeking out brands they want to openly support! We can see this is even more apparent than ever in both personal lives and within careers. This goes for future employees as well. People are starting to look for positions at at brands that are socially and environmentally responsible.
With the workplace development, as well as the development of ourselves in general, companies are growing too! But not only in the functional meaning! A more humane approach is on the rise. Nowadays, branding is people-focussed. A strong brans is not merely supported by its employees… It is its employees!

A positive trend prediction can be made in the context of office environments. Everything will evolve to a state of simultaneous coverage of quality physical conditions, such as state of the art open workspaces and companies will become even more involved with developing a more personal brand. All of this will reflect in the workspaces they choose to create for their workforce.

So, the future of the office seems a tad more hopeful, wouldn’t you think?

This article was provided by a guest writer, in association with Traffic Jam Media.

Are you interested in developing your workspace? Improving your offices or simply looking at a refurbishment? Get in touch with us today. We are experts in office design and fit-outs, covering the East Midlands and beyond! Give us a call on 0115 939 7572, or drop [email protected] an email.