Every important trend has a human element that we ignore or don’t consider. This can happen when designing and planning an office for maximum productivity. It’s important to remember that the end result has to support the people who work there.
Sounds obvious, right?
Photo: Global eO+ Panels
But we often put things before people. Look at it this way.
In the past, what did web designers do to rank a website high? They worked to get the attention of the search engines while ignoring the needs of the people who read the site. Keywords were stuffed into articles even if that hurt the readability and cheapened the user’s experience.
But now, pleasing the human reader is the most important variable in ranking a site.
The same can be said for the office as noted in this post, The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs. We have all this great technology, but do we use it to support the employees as well as we possibly can? A well-designed office weighs the needs of the people.
Know Your Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the study of fitting a working environment to people, instead of making people fit the environment. Providing height-adjustable desks, proper office lighting, ergonomic chairs and accessories are part of creating a workplace that allows workers to move at their best.
Photo: 9to5 Seating @nce Chair
Design with a focus on ergonomics and you’ll make great strides toward having an office where people are supported as they focus on their tasks.
Achieve that by laying out a floorplan and then deciding what furnishings are necessary.
Photo: Cherryman Amber Collection
Ask your employees what matters to them. How do they work best and what would they like to see in a work area? Create a scale like the one in the article 7 Factors of Great Office Design in the Harvard Business Review.
Ask your team how strongly they prefer permanent walls compared to open spaces, or if they like spaces that “promote conversation and lingering.”
Make areas well defined. That may seem easy to do, but if space is at a premium, then it’s not easy to separate workspaces with lounge areas or the breakroom.
Make areas for workstations clear with enough storage to reduce clutter. Keep break areas clean and make sure personal areas in an open office setting are quiet.
If your space has room for a rec area, then bring in foosball tables or ping pong tables that easily fold and can easily be moved when extra space is needed.
Plan Easy Navigation
A supportive office is easy to navigate for people whose sight is impaired and face challenges moving around. Have workstations in clearly designated areas with clear pathways that lead to personal quiet areas and breakrooms.
Photo: Friant Dash Revitalize
Use indoor plants to create boundaries between defined areas. The plants help to deflect sound waves, freshen the air and add a touch of color.
Natural light is welcomed in the office. Enlarge windows as much as possible and use skylights or solar tubes to bring in as much of the sun as you can.
Photo: Global Bridges Benching Series
Light is a natural morale booster. It helps employees get into a rhythm of sleeping well at night and staying as alert as possible during the day. Use desk lamps at workstations and computer areas so workers don’t have to strain their eyes to see.
Make sure stairwells and other darkened areas are well lit to reduce the chance of accidents.
Photo: Koncept Gravy Lighting
When laying out a plan and designing an office to support your employees, evaluate your ideas by asking, “How will these conditions benefit the people working here?”
Designing an Office to Support Your Employees
Get expert input on your space planning needs. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has nearly 50 years of experience in helping Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and other nonprofit organizations.
Read Also: Plan Your Office Branding for the Employee Experience
Main Photo: OFS Heya
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: 9to5 Seating, Cherryman, Friant, Global, Koncept, Nevins and OFS