Create an office space that shows you care
If you are a regular reader of Evoke Project’s workplace articles, you will know about the correlation between happiness at work, motivation and productivity. Retaining a happy band of workers makes good sense because your company will reap the rewards of higher quality output and better customer satisfaction.
People are happier when they feel valued and cared about, so Evoke Projects looks at how you can create a more caring workplace during your next office fit-out or refurbishment.
Why is a caring workplace important?
Workplace researcher, Anetta Pizag, looks in detail at office design strategies for a ‘caring business’ in her book Create a Thriving Workspace.
Pizag writes that the increase in technology in our lives makes people yearn for more face-to-face contact and a reconnection with nature. This will be an important factor to consider when designing the office space. It is also relevant for business processes as clients are looking for more personal connections and an enjoyable transaction experience.
At Evoke Projects, we find that companies that consider social interaction, environmental factors and workplace wellbeing during an office refurbishment or fit-out will naturally create a caring environment. The company becomes a holistically positive workplace where team members feel valued and cared about.
We have been fortunate to work with many clients that care about their ‘back office’ functions. Modern office fit-out projects rarely focus purely on the reception or client-facing areas. Businesses have recognised that sentiment at the grass roots level of an organisation has just as much impact on the customer experience as a super-cool new office reception.
What office design elements show that you care?
Add natural elements
When undertaking your next office fit-out or refurbishment, introduce water features or indoor plants to help people feel in touch with nature. As well as aesthetic appeal, plants filter the air and remove mould and bacteria. Additionally, Pizag writes that there is a more positive psychological effect from roundish leaf plants rather than pointy leaves. She also suggests timber, stone, bamboo, clay and paper for more natural furniture and finishes.
Avoid overly minimalist office designs
If you like minimalist office design, be aware of research mentioned in Pizag’s book that shows ‘lean’ environments are not the best option for productivity (research by Dr Craig Knight – University of Exeter, UK). Most humans need a rich and stimulating environment to be comfortable, focus and perform at their best. However, Pizag and Dr Knight also counsel that team members should be allowed to decide upon and enrich their own space because one person’s minimal is another person’s busy!
Consult your team members during your next office refurbishment or fit-out. Dr Knight’s study found that while productivity can increase by up to 32% if employees are involved in developing their own workspace, productivity drops off dramatically if they are subsequently criticised for their choices. Management support is therefore vital.
Create breakout spaces that will be used
At Evoke Projects, we often write about the importance of including a breakout space within your office design. This space can be used for informal collaboration or downtime, possibly even creative brainstorming.
Pizag mentions several times in her book the problem of such spaces being introduced during a new office refurbishment but then under-utilised. Employees often feel that time spent in a breakout zone will be regarded as non-work time and frowned upon by their manager. It’s important to build a culture and environment that encourages staff to use breakout spaces to lift their mood.
Share the love of a good office space
Most offices have a coveted space such as the desks near a window. When you are re-designing your office space for a new fit-out or refurbishment, assign those areas as hot-desking zones so employees can share their use. If you have a room with a view, consider making that the breakout space. Sharing is caring!
Workplace health and safety shows that you care
While it may be your legal duty to conform to WHS requirements, it is a great excuse to introduce some snazzy design elements to your office. Funky ergonomic chairs, natural light features and the latest slip-resistant flooring show that you are going above and beyond your legal duty.
Please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to find out more about office design, fit-outs and office refurbishment to suit the caring business.