Think through the times you’ve stepped into an office setting and wondered about the work environment. The warning signs were likely subtle, weren’t they?
- How was the office planning and layout?
- Did the furnishings seem functional and up to date—or out of date?
- What about tension? That’s the people part.
All of these elements contribute to the quality of the workplace.
If you’re wondering how to improve the office work environment, now you can read on and learn how.
Photo: HON Voi Workstation
Company Culture Impacts Personal Energy
A start-up in fast-paced do or die moments is quite different than a mature corporation where departments are neatly laid out and each person’s work is clearly defined.
Let’s say there’s a younger company moving into Hollywood, intent on disrupting the entertainment industry. They’ll have an entrepreneurial buzz and excitement that’s missing in an older organization.
Start-up offices and mature ones impact people and their energy. Any work setting can help someone thrive or suck the energy out of them and the room.
Not every person wants to work in a frenetic, high-stakes office unless stability and profitability are in sight. Working in a tried-and-true cubicle environment, in an area like the Mid-Wilshire District, where the most exciting event is the second hand ticking away on the clock isn’t a career dream, either.
Tricky, isn’t it?
Photo: OFS LeanTo Lounge Seating
Consider these two layouts and their challenges:
- Open Offices — can dilute the energy that people bring to their positions
- Walled, Private Spaces — can make employees wonder what secrets are shared behind closed doors
How do you make sense of it all?
Start with space planning and design, one that’s tailored to your specific office needs. Don’t just rely on architects or interior designers to do it for you.
The 2010 Space Planning Strategy weighs:
- Your company’s goals
- How your team interacts to reach those goals
- How their personalities affect their work habits
Doing this links the workplace to your company’s brand identity. Customizing your plan takes you to the next step in creating the best possible work environment.
Proper Space Planning Creates Identity
Here’s a tip to improve the office environment: focus on space planning.
Office space planning takes into account workflow and the needs of employees. Done well, can you predict what happens?
Your staff will develop a connection to the space.
This personal tie, one that’s internalized, is an important step in creating the best work environment for your company. It’s a principle that transcends industries.
Whether you have an engineering firm in El Segundo or a growing, small business in the Inland Empire, be deliberate in how the space is laid out. An article in the Harvard Business Review, How to Make Sure People Won’t Hate Your New Open Office Plan, describes a concept called “place identity.”
If employees believe the space “aligns with their self-image and enhances their sense of belonging” then this is typically what happens:
- They’ll become more engaged
- They’ll build their personal brand
- They’ll be more likely to cultivate a positive work environment
Photo: OFS Brands Dallas Showroom
This is where leadership has to channel the energy by sharing the vision for the office space, being enthusiastic about it and letting people adapt the space to their needs.
Now, get ready to polish your great work environment with the right furnishings.
Creating Productive and Personal Shared Workspaces
Every morning when your team walks through the front door what’s the vibe that they’re bringing in and what’s the vibe that will greet them?
Once they leave the work setting at night and walk in the next morning you’ll have no control over their personal lives. Unless they’re having to grind out late night projects, which brings up the need to review work-life balance.
You can present a welcoming atmosphere beginning with the office reception desk. An inviting and stylish design versus a boxy, bulky fortress can reinforce your company’s brand.
Remember, your employees interact with the brand promise every day. Does your company live up to what you tell customers?
A well-designed office setting can positive reinforce the brand among your team. The result is achieving the best work environment possible.
Office wellness comes next and it’s not complicated:
- Use ergonomic workstations and chairs
- Provide private break areas
- Encourage physical movement
- Maximize the use of natural light
- Bring in plants to freshen the air and for visual appeal
The best office design varies from culture to culture. Studies by the organization Great Places to Work reports that a sense of community is the biggest driver of employee engagement in the United States and Canada.
Several companies in California made the Great Places to Work’s list of small to medium-sized companies including Network Capital in Irvine; WestPac Wealth Partners in La Jolla; and Invoca in Santa Barbara.
In Europe, fairness is critical and “psychological safety” is prized in Latin America. Workplaces in Asia and the Middle East were shown to be the unhappiest work environments.
Define Key Areas
Meeting spaces are important and architectural walls will create clean, well-defined areas for trainings and larger groups. These can be clear ceiling-to-floor walls or a cubicle-style room for small group huddles.
Provide private break areas for personal phone calls, working, and brief down time. Your team’s introverts will thank you.
Photo: Trendway Workspaces
Consider Expert Input
The 2010 Space Planning Strategy helps you prioritize and create a positive work environment.
Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs. Call or submit your questions.
The team has more than 45 years of experience serving corporations, universities and small businesses throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.
Read Also: Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity
Main Photo by: Trendway
Resources & Special Thanks to: Harvard Business Review, Great Places to Work & Respective Product Manufacturers: Trendway, DeskMakers, Global, HON, Krug and OFS