It’s a little unbelievable, isn’t it? Not that long ago, it wasn’t really considered that your surroundings could affect how you focus. Companies designed office floors based on one simple concept: less distractions = more work. Sounds logical, right?
In truth, it is. However, human beings aren’t entirely based on logic and rationality. We have feelings, tendencies, peeves, likes, dislikes, patterns, personalities, moods and so much more. This means some of us work better in places that buzz like cafes, while others thrive in pin-drop silence. Some of us need the warmth of sunlight while others prefer air-conditioning and mood-lighting. The list goes on.
So how do companies mitigate this? How do we keep our employees happy so that they stay productive and mentally well? The last five years have been interesting seeing breakthroughs in office design with the rise of app startups and younger people starting small businesses. Younger minds have brought fresh perspectives on how they enjoy working which has made working environments more attractive to employees. It’s catching on enough for big, corporate names to turn their attention to it and participate.
With the work-from-home phenomenon sweeping nations, big businesses like IBM have given their employees the option of staying at home and completing tasks if they want to, but some big businesses and startups are trying to encourage employees to come in by offering a culture they can participate in along with amenities and design concepts that are inviting.
We can see this especially with the rise of more intricate recreational rooms. What once were just “lunch rooms” are now colorful spaces with vibrant paint, pool tables, foosball, vending machines with organic and healthy options, communal fruit, communal beverages and seating areas that encourage collectives and conversation.
Furthermore, Biophilic Office Design has taken many corporate workspaces by storm with the introduction of greenery, stone, rust, metal and natural light breaking up the monotony of the traditional office. The reasoning behind such introductions is quite contrary to the old-world belief that less distraction means more work. Rather, nature provides a distraction for our “passive focus”. In other words, it gives our peripheral concentration something to focus on which breaks dreariness. This allows our active focus to recharge consistently throughout the day which leads to more productivity.
Lastly, adaptive workspaces are also beginning to creep into the mainstream with the rise of coworking spaces. These are office floors or buildings with different kinds of places to work depending on what mood or task an employee comes in with. Staff can choose to work on a large coworking table, sharing ideas and starting a creative buzz. Staff can choose the “quiet room” full of desks for people who will work in silence. They can choose couches for a homelier feel. They can choose private offices if that’s what they’re used to and work best in. The working scenarios and accompanying spaces are endless and entirely dependent on the people in them!
Cubicles and dull corporate office dens are so 10 years ago. Startups and small business are leading the charge in wellness and productivity with innovative office space design. We hope all big business follows soon so that these employee-driven workspaces are all we know by 2020. What would you like to see in your workspace?
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