Give employees choice and control over when and how to work
The global report highlights how employees, who have more control over various aspects of their workplace and work experience, are more engaged. Therefore, empowering people to decide where and how they will be most productive is one strategy organisations can employ.
No two days are the same for employees; sometimes they will need to do focus work, while other times they will need to collaborate. Sometimes they will prefer to be alone in a quiet space, and other times they will prefer to be in a café with people and a buzz around them. It is important to be able to choose what works best on any given day.
See plan layout above for the innovative, rapidly expanding 360 Resourcing where Select Interiors have incorporated a Co-Worker space, Coffee Shop. open Kitchen, Gym and Games Room within the ground floor footprint. The 1st & 2nd floors are the main work & meeting / boardroom with the ground floor providing space for informal meetings, fitness, games room – social spaces what’s not to love?
Technology is a critical factor in giving employees more choice and control, yet many organisations appear to be lagging
Technology is a critical factor in giving employees more choice and control over where and how they work – yet many organisations appear to be lagging behind with fears over data security and a perceived lack of cooperation and cohesion among employees who would no longer be working side by side. One recent study highlighted how many employees are still working in a traditional way, with a fixed PC and telephone, thereby restricting them to working at their desks. To avoid this, the IT strategy needs to be aligned with their workplace goals to succeed in building a more engaged culture.
Enhance and promote collaboration, particularly for teams based across different locations
See above, simple informal meeting space incorporated within main open plan office for collaboration. Scheme designed by London based Architects Levitt Bernstein and fitted out by Select Interiors Ltd
Collaboration is key to any workplace, but the space should be designed to support a wide variety of collaboration styles as well. For example, a project room for intense activity from three to six people could feature a high seating position to support movement and active brain activity, with whiteboards and technology to share digital content. That will differ quite dramatically from what you need for a training session, interacting with a client or supplier, or for a video conference with a colleague based on the other side of the globe.
See above interior design & space planning by Select Interiors for 360 Resourcing with high table collaboration spaces
Space should support those different interactions through varied working environments, allowing employees to share ideas and co-create, work in teams without being interrupted and enable a culture of creativity and innovation – whether this happens with a team physically in the room, or virtually with colleagues spread across continents and time zones.
Provide employees with areas where they can focus, concentrate and have some privacy
The study shows that highly engaged workers have more access to spaces where they can concentrate than their disengaged counterparts. Furthermore, neuroscience teaches us that our brain is not designed for multitasking and that staying focused requires energy – by definition a limited resource.
Example of acoustic phone booths giving a little private space to take a call and have ‘quiet moments’
It can be very stressful for employees if they have nowhere to take a personal call during the day or simply “be alone”
According to the University of California, we are open to distraction every three minutes, with a consequent impact on our ability to focus and concentrate. To avoid this, employees should be provided with a variety of spaces that allow concentration and personal focus. Experts agree that creating an office that is tailored to employee needs, and which provides a menu of settings is always the best solution.
This is particularly important for employees in open plan offices, to allow them to balance constant contact with colleagues with moments of privacy and disconnection. It can be very stressful for employees if they have nowhere to take a personal call during the day or simply “be alone”. Open plan offices must therefore be balanced with spaces for personal rejuvenation where staff can read a magazine, change posture and disconnect. Having the chance to switch off when they need to will enable staff to perform better over a longer period.
Provide spaces for social, informal connections
We are social animals. We need spaces where we can connect informally with our colleagues and have the opportunity to discuss work in a more relaxed, informal and pleasant setting. Space shapes behaviour and often the traditional meeting room with formal seats around a large table is not the ideal setting for an effective conversation. It is therefore important to provide spaces for social, informal connections throughout the day, whether these are planned or more impromptu.
When designed effectively, these social spaces should bring to the office the same vibe and emotional comfort of a café while also offering the support required for work, through connection to technology, support of a proper physical posture and also the ability to manage visual privacy when required.
One of the concepts that Select Interiors strives to incorporate into their schemes promotes is the Workcafe: the transformation of the traditional cafeteria or corporate restaurant into an informal, but harder working space that offers a diversity of zones not just for social connections. Open all day, it provides an environment where people can gather when they choose over coffee or lunch, but also work individually or organise meetings.
Enable workers to physically move around during the day and change postures
Engaged employees are healthy employees. It is therefore essential for staff to keep moving throughout the day to maintain their physical well-being. Space should support a diversity of postures and encourage movement – whether through sit-stand desks, seating designed to support interaction with mobile devices, even lounge seats that allow staff to sit back with their feet up to relax. There are numerous options to boost physical well-being. Movement is a key enabler for brain regeneration, thereby helping us to generate our best ideas.
Make your brand and company culture visible and give employees permission to be themselves
See above bespoke furniture by Select Interiors Ltd for Capital Properties informal meeting and ‘quiet’ spaces within a Reception area
Employee engagement is possible only when there is a culture of trust, where employees feel they belong to the community and are free to express their ideas. Space plays a key role in driving company values, in giving signals about business priorities, as well as showing what behaviours are accepted and encouraged. It can also give an indication about factors such as how accessible leadership is.
Once again there is not “one size fit all” solution, as space is always influenced by where the company is located – Japan and South America are not the same – in which sector it operates – banking or software for example – and of course, what the company culture is and what they want to promote – whether it’s innovation or tradition, attracting young talent or preserving well-established knowledge. All these factors need to be considered so that the physical workspace represents and encourages the desired behaviours.
It is also crucial to consider the importance of designing leadership team spaces. Contrary to tradition, the company CEO or Managing Director is no longer always the employee with the largest office, a huge desk and a secretary outside. Instead, leaders today seek transparency, a connection with their teams and to lead by example. For instance, with its ‘Better Ways of Working’ initiative, at Vodafone, no-one, not even the leadership team or the chief executive, has their own office. People work in ‘home zones’ and are free to take their laptop to any one of a number of work spaces, or to one of the coffee shops.
In terms of spaces, as with other employees’ leaders need access to a balance of private and team working areas plus social and community spaces. Company leadership spaces often reveal a lot about how a company wants to be perceived by its own employees, what its values are and the behaviours that it encourages or discourages, these areas should be carefully designed to accommodate these needs
Create spaces that accommodate visitors, mobile workers and guests
Workspaces should not be designed for employees only. With more and more workers coming from different locations to use the office as a “hub”, workspaces are becoming areas of interaction between a variety of colleagues, contractors and freelances, as well as representing the company towards external guests.
It is therefore important that spaces consider these populations and facilitate their mobility through the space according to who they are and where/how they want to work. Employers must aim to create resilient workplaces, which encourage people and organisations to be more agile, engaged and which can evolve other time as needed.
As a conclusion….
Engagement is a complex topic, with many variables to consider. Redesigning the workplace is just one of many factors that can have an impact.
However, research has shown that in many organisations workplace design is overlooked, when it can have a significant impact on employee engagement and satisfaction.
The physical surroundings can shape employee behaviours, feelings and attitudes towards their employer and experiences at work. To maximise its performance, organisations must think about the workplace as an ecosystem of spaces that allow people to have choice and control over where and how they work. Only then will they feel fully supported and able to perform at their best
We’ve got lots of exciting projects in progress at the moment and lots just completed…
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The team at Select Interiors would like thank all the clients above for their valued orders and would welcome new enquiries
For your next office re-design and refurbishment project call 0161 445 40404 for enquiries or email to firstname.lastname@example.org