6 Unusual Office Ideas That Employees Love

Are you thinking of sprucing up your office but want to think a little differently with your office design? We get you. In this day and age the way we work is changing dramatically and workspaces have to keep up. Drab, uninspiring, traditional offices no longer fit the bill – especially with the modern, millennial worker.

Flexibility as well as comfort at work is influencing the way plenty of businesses now approach office design. Think Google, Facebook and Twitter. Their offices embody this new, inspiring way of working. They focus on staff needs, company values and wellbeing to provide a motivational environment. Now, we’re not saying that you should install a ping pong table in the kitchen and hope for the best. This type of office design needs to be strategic and focus on the specific needs of your business and staff. To help provide some inspiration, here’s a round-up of 6 unusual office ideas that employees love.

1. Creating a Living Office

E-Commerce giant, Etsy, took office plants, and office design, a giant leap forward in 2016 when they commissioned Greenery NYC to create  a “fully regenerative ecosystem.” The team at Greenery successfully created an array of impressive green walls, column planters, plant islands and ‘green’ dividers across 9 floors.

This project didn’t stop there. In addition to the plants, Greenery NYC installed a rainwater harvesting and irrigation system which now waters over 11,000 plants in the office. Etsy’s brief was surely met with their office refurbishment, achieving an ecologically regenerative HQ. You can find the project details here.

etsy office design
Etsy Offices in New York – Photography: Garrett Rowland, courtesy of Gensler

2. Chill Out Zones

Tech company Google are known for their office quirks from slides and indoor caravans to fireman’s poles; when it comes to outlandish office design they are definitely up there. The importance of getting away from the desk and having breaks is something Google understands and takes seriously.

Hammocks, suspended chairs and  general chill zones can be found in most of their offices. This is because Google believes that “chilled out work practices makes for happy, creative employees and better business.”

As well as Google, we have seen smaller companies such as Dollar Shave Club take this design philosophy and transfer it into their offices. In the below image, you can see a picture of Dollar Shave Club’s HQ, complete with a ‘living room like’ seating area to take your laptop and work in a more relaxed environment.

Dollar Shave Club Office Design
Dollar Shave Club Offices – Photography: Noah Webb

3. Home-Style Office Design

All employees want to be comfortable at work, right? More and more businesses are taking this on board and creating office environments that resemble the home. From fireplaces and showers to beer fridges as well as fully equipped kitchens, these home comforts are making employees more settled and productive at work.

Ambius designers claim that this trend is largely driven by millennials who “favour comfort, the unconventional and hands-on involvement.” Take New York based digital agency, Objective Subject, for example. They decided that they wanted a workspace that felt ‘more like a home than an office. They incorporated a ‘nap room’, a kitchen and a studio into their 19th Century townhouse office. Using homely hues and furnishings, they successfully brought to life an intimate, homely environment. This is something echoed by Primera.

But we also know that smaller businesses are going to struggle fitting all this in their budget, so there are smaller changes you can make to your office to create a more homely environment. The picture below shows Tremend’s offices, they have incorporated a bookcase into their office space to create an environment that looks more like a home office than corporate office space.

Tremend Offices
Tremend Offices – Photography: Yassen Hristov

4. Culture Driven Design

Designing an office space which directly represents your company values can make it far easier for staff to embody and live by those all important principles. Airbnb do this beautifully by encompassing their key values: openness, worldliness and design into every office.

AutoTrader, one of the most well-known online car sale websites, knows that their brand is all about cars! That’s why they incorporated as many cars they could into their office space. As you can see in the picture below, their London office space features a tunnel, leading to other areas of the office, complete with classic Mini bodies stuck to the side!

AutoTrader Office Design
AutoTrader Offices – Photography: Andy Livesay

5. Recreational Features

Cinemas, PlayStations, bars and arcade games are featuring more commonly in office spaces. Ok, so you may be thinking that this is a little far fetched. Films at work? However, cinemas can be incorporated into an office with a multifunctional purpose as Money.co.uk demonstrated with their office design, but there are other companies doing this type of thing as well.

EA, a company known for their blockbuster games such as FIFA, Need for Speed and other titles, wanted to ensure that their staff could test (play) their latest game, so they created areas within the office complete with games consoles and flat-screen TV where all this ‘testing’ could take place.

EA Company Office
EA Offices – Photography: Mauricio Arechavala

6. Office Design to Improve Wellbeing

It’s a common theme for most employees nowadays as we increasingly understand the importance of staff wellbeing. From dedicated gyms and workout areas to yoga studios and even rooftop running tracks! The way we work now is changing and businesses globally are therefore making conscious efforts to integrate more wellbeing facilities into the office.

T-Mobile are big on employee well-being and want to make sure their staff are looked after as well as possible, and that’s why they created a gym within their workspace! This allows employees, who may not have time to get to the gym before or after work, find time within a workday to work out and improve their health!

T-Mobile Gym
T-Mobile Offices – Photography: Jarosław Budyta

Summing Up

Although these ideas stem from some of the world’s most influential companies with budgets to match, you can take some inspiration without breaking the bank. Quirky, unusual and forward thinking office features can have a positive effect on mental and physical wellbeing as well as staff productivity. By creating an inspiring place to work, staff will be motivated to perform and have a general enjoyment for their workplace.

Have a think about how you can create your own take on some of the above ideas. It could be as simple as purchasing plants or commissioning some exciting visuals which embody your company culture.

If you’d like some further advice on how to refurbish your office to create an inspiring environment, we’d be happy to help. Give us a call on 0115 939 7572, or drop [email protected] an email. We cover Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and surrounding areas!