Office designs vary widely, from the drab cubicle layout to open areas where workers are free-range. While you need to analyze your business needs before making any shifts, chances are good there are ways to change your office’s design to make it more exciting and productive.
According to the American Institute of Stress, work-related stress costs American companies over $300 billion a year. Just as a home makeover can refresh your living space, a new workspace could be what your office needs to combat stress. Consider the following ideas to create a dynamic workplace that fosters collaboration, calmness and teamwork:
- Open workspaces: Rather than having a row of cubicles, try office designs that are wall-less. Set up workstations that feature ergonomic furniture or innovative work equipment such as treadmills and standing desks. Open spaces help to break down hierarchy barriers and encourage teamwork. If your employees need to be on the phone a lot, consider reserving small conference rooms or even converted closets to act as private spaces for sensitive calls.
- Flashy office decor: Take a look at the colors currently found in your office, and tap into your employees’ creativity by incorporating bold hues in work areas. Installing glass walls or dividers opens up space and promotes brainstorming. You can even write on the glass, rather than using more traditional whiteboards.
- Quiet break areas: Your office design should reflect the nature of your work. While open areas may encourage collaboration and teamwork, there are also times when private areas are needed for meetings and conferences. Make sure to include designated, blocked-off quiet spaces in whatever layout you choose.
- Hot desks or hotel desks: Some companies ignore the idea of assigned workstations and allow their employees to change seats depending on the nature of their workload, as TeamGantt describes. This is perfect for an innovative company.
- Game options: Try having areas in your office where your staff can play. Recreational areas provide opportunities to decompress and can be useful in regaining focus and clarity. Consider setting up a basketball court in the parking lot or having treadmills where employees can log mileage and complete fitness challenges. Encourage activities such as scavenger hunts or puzzles that teams work on together. This could provide the perfect amount of distraction, which can relieve stress and improve office morale.
- Provide food: Having your workers sit down together for a meal encourages social interaction and collaboration. Offering lunches can increase productivity because workers are staying within the office space to eat. Even providing a seating area with a table where people can enjoy morning coffee together or a post-work chat can foster a community of collaboration and camaraderie. This is good for an office where people tend to work more independently.
Traditional office designs are being replaced with more colorful, innovative spaces that nurture creative spirits and allow workers to effectively relieve stress. The realities of your business may not allow radical changes in office designs, but any space can benefit from a splash of fun.
Mary Parsons is retired from a 30-year career in the insurance industry. She worked in the claims department of a major insurance carrier as a claims adjuster, manager and a member of a catastrophe team. Since her retirement, she has developed a career as a freelance writer. As an insurance professional, she has been a contributor to several insurance websites.