Thursday 26th January 2017

Exploring the Most Innovative Workplace DesignsAs younger generations enter the workforce, more and more organizations are realizing the connection between a positive employee experience and hiring the best talent. Recent research has found that millennials are the least engaged generation in the workplace, and companies are having to adapt their environments to increase retention.

Since we wrote a blog post titled ‘How to Motivate Millennials with Flexible Working’, we’ve been inspired by some office designs that do just that. With innovative architecture and out-of-the-box thinking, these office principles are changing the way we think about the workspace.

Adaptable Furniture

Born out of the need for flexible working, adaptable furniture ensures better communication and collaboration by encouraging employee interaction. A workplace or office space can become more effective, flexible, and efficient because adaptable furniture supports a dynamic workforce rather than a static working environment.

There are huge gains to be made in employee performance with this solution, and the T-Mobile Offices Warsaw workplace design is a near-perfect example. They have incorporated a flexible workspace that can be used as an area to relax or work but also doubles up as a functional chess-set. It’s the ideal place for employees to keep their minds stimulated and sharp during their downtime.

Though it is often suggested that this type of flexible working encourages employees to spend their working time less productively, research shows the inverse is true, and 58% of US companies reportedly saw an increase in profits after introducing a similar policy.

Wall Murals

It is widely-agreed throughout the scientific community that the way in which the human mind perceives visual elements, including colors, can affect employee behavior, productivity levels, emotion, and attitude.

Choosing the correct color palette for a room can foster greater creativity, promote a better sense of purpose, or aid in employee relaxation, meaning that employees are more productive as a result.

Facebook’s Menlo Park Headquarters features a mural that captures the imagination of employees and visitors alike, and helps shape the identity of the workspace. It is also the perfect expression of the company’s culture and values, and helps to promote the corporate identity of the business.

Going Green

Decorating a workspace with plants and shrubs is by no means a modern concept, yet a number of previously unknown benefits have only recently been discovered, and are far greater than just the aesthetics. Not only does greenery help employees feel rejuvenated and connected to nature, it also impacts wellness by enhancing the air quality of the office.

Urban Outfitters Campus Office has incorporated its own hanging gardens which employees can visit to get a breath of fresh air, relax, or conduct informal meetings. As humans are naturally drawn to areas with more greenery, such as parks and forests, having an office space with plants can help to increase employee communication and collaboration.

Going green can also have a positive impact on employee satisfaction levels, and experts from the Royal Horticultural Society say that bringing the outside inside can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue, resulting in a healthier work environment.

Breakout Areas

The term breakout area simply describes any space open to employees that is separate from their usual working environment, and were first devised to improve wellness by providing an area for employees to relax and unwind away from their daily tasks.

Providing a space for employees to disconnect from their work not only helps to reduce their stress levels, but it’s also been found to increase productivity. This is because employees arrive back to their desk with a fresh mindset and often a different outlook on the problem in hand.

Zynga’s Headquarters is a great example of the type of breakout room that captures the imagination of its employees and can help them relax while away from their desks. The Zynga workspace is very animal-friendly and canine visitors sometimes make a welcome appearance in their breakout area, adding to the relaxation and fun-factor.

Although pets are proven to relieve stress, providing a place where your employees can play with dogs isn’t strictly required to reap at least some of the benefits!

Health and Well-being Focus

Workforce illness can be a real challenge for business, with annual U.S. costs estimated to be $576bn annually. In an attempt to reduce these costs, lower absenteeism, and attract new talent, employers have begun to invest in their employees’ health and well-being.

Healthier employees make for a more productive and engaged workforce, as well as increasing cost-savings from reduced health care expenditure. It is for this reason that many organizations now employ on-site psychologists and massage therapists in their office space.

Other businesses run fitness class incentives or install gyms to encourage their workforce to lead a healthier lifestyle. Google Zurich takes this concept further still, with an indoor basketball court for its employees to use without having to leave the office.

Although some of the workspaces mentioned have gone to the extreme to motivate their staff, your organization doesn’t need to go to such lengths to improve employee productivity. Using workspace technology can encourage flexible working and help employees communicate and collaborate more efficiently. From desk utilization to streamlined video conferencing, with strategic changes to your workspace, you can improve employee engagement, all the while saving money.

Flexible Work eBook.

Flexible Work eBook

In this eBook, we explore how businesses can give their employees a flexible work experience that's user-friendly and supports their productivity, but in a way that is practical and sustainable for the employer, too.

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