Do you think the design of your office has an impact on your productivity? Is your concentration level higher when your desk faces a window or when it is lit by florescent lighting? Does the presence of cubicle walls encourage privacy or stifle your creativity?
Over the years, office design has changed to reflect the economic times, trends in management styles as well as design trends. While in many cases management teams are happy to design office spaces that suit their company’s individual needs, general trends and best practices still prevail overall.
Currently, areas which encourage workers to pause for moments of playfulness and fun are en vogue. As work spaces are becoming more open and collaborative, design is also trending towards providing small enclaves and areas where workers can find moments of quiet and privacy. Most importantly, office design is becoming more reflective of a company’s culture.
Ernst & Young is a global accounting firm. Eighty-three percent of its employees are under 30 and often work off-site, in the offices of its clients. The design in the Columbus, Ohio office reflects this culture in a unique and practical way.
For example, the Columbus, Ohio Ernst & Young office has 289 employees but only 10 of them – Creative Services personnel and administrative assistants – have assigned seats. The remaining 279 are able to choose their seating each day. Workspaces include standing desks, walking treadmill desks, booths, collaborative spaces, individual desks and hubs.
Productivity and lighting
Natural lighting can bring life and energy into an office space. Many suggest that employees experience improved productivity, creativity and efficiency when they have access to natural light. Others suggest that productivity is improved when natural lighting is not available. In either case, it’s evident that lighting plays a primary role in a worker’s perception of his or her work environment.
A recent article in Reuters suggests that colour can improve productivity, especially blue.
There are other benefits to putting thoughtful consideration into office design. While employee productivity and efficiency are important, there are broader goals that can be achieved. If management, human resources and designers work together, business goals may be achieved as well. Relations between management and subordinate employees can improve based on the design that’s implemented in an office space. A department that struggles with internal communications, teamwork and collaboration can incorporate a design solution to help address the issue. If cultural change is being introduced, design can play a key role in communicating the message that is trying to be conveyed.
These are the questions that managers interested in the concepts of office design wrestle with as they work to recruit the brightest employees and create environments to retain them. Many in Human Resources know that employees cite their workplace environment as a deciding factor in deciding to accept or remain at a job.
How does office design impact upon your employees’ productivity?