From slippery slides to lush, rooftop gardens and basketball courts, the hub of tech companies in Silicon Valley, California, are the stuff of many an office worker’s dreams.
However, they’re a far cry from the reality of most workplaces – think stuffy cubicles, cramped kitchens and claustrophobic meeting rooms. In fact, Canon’s recent Work in Evolution report has revealed that the majority of workers are hugely dissatisfied with their offices.
According to the survey, 64.1 per cent find their workplaces to be noisy and distracting, lacking any privacy; 41.2 per cent believe their offices don’t foster any creativity, 41.7 per cent do not consider their workplace to be conducive to productivity and 66 per cent revealed that their offices had not changed since they were first constructed.
While not every organisation has the resources to install a fake ski cabin like Google’s Zurich office, here are five tips for creating clever office design that your staff will love.
Create different zones
A buzzy, open-plan office is a great way to cultivate creativity and energy in the workplace, but if someone needs privacy or a place for quiet contemplation, it’s important they have somewhere to retreat for a bit of peace. And if people want to have a casual catch-up, it would be ideal to have another spot where they can gather, so consider creating areas where couches and seats can be easily pulled together.
Of course, it’s important that your staff have their own desk in the office and you have a meeting room or two and a kitchen. But consider creating informal spaces where people can chat in more relaxed environments for a change of scenery. It could be a case of popping a couple of beanbags in a corner or a comfy couch in the office.
Bringing the outside in
Plants both figuratively and literally breathe life into an office and soften the environment. As well as creating beauty in an otherwise sterile space, it’s been widely reported that plants can help decrease stress, too. Green walls are favoured in high-end office spaces, but if the budget won’t stretch to that, potted plants help break up all those straight lines.
Let there be light
No one likes to work in dimly lit or claustrophobic environments. Natural light helps to reduce eye fatigue and is less likely to cause headaches. Consider tearing down interior walls and using glass walls and benches instead of stuffy cubicles.
It’s also important that people have enough space to circulate in the office without constantly bumping into each other.
Add an element of fun
Accenture in Sydney has a “selfie wall”, table soccer and a pool table in their communal areas. Games company, Mind Candy in the UK has a colouring-in wall, a slide to take you between floors and even a wooden treehouse that doubles as a meeting room. It helps to blur the distinction between work and personal lives with the aim of creating a more relaxed vibe, conducive to greater productivity.