Five ways you can benefit from a mobile workplace
There’s no disputing that smartphones and tablets have revolutionised the way we work. For the most part, these changes are positive: greater productivity potential, better collaboration and smarter working.
But, and it’s a big BUT… the positives can so easily become negatives if you don’t structure your office interior design to suit the mobile workplace. It’s important that productivity doesn’t lead to burn-out and that privacy doesn’t suffer in the quest for collaboration.
Evoke Projects has helped many clients benefit from the mobile workplace through innovative office interior design strategies, so here are our top five tips.
1. Create zones within your office design
A mobile workforce does not need a 1:1 desk ratio because people may be out of the office or in meetings. The office space should be flexible, with employees moving to the zone or seat that best suits their task or activity. This is known as activity based working.
Creating zones within the office interior design will facilitate activity based working: open plan benches or workstations for computer work, breakout zones for collaboration, quiet zones for private working or thinking, and communal areas for informal meetings or coffee time. Think about the workflows at your office, and design your zones around them.
Activity based working cuts real estate costs by reducing the space required per occupant. More people can share office space and amenities, while the need for multiple private offices is reduced. A recent US Workplace Report showed enclosed offices now average only 11% of the workspace and the ‘usable square feet’ per person has dropped to an average of 142 square feet.* These figures are significantly lower than a few years ago and Australia is following these office design trends.
As well as activity based working, some businesses embrace working from home as part of their mobile workplace strategy.
2. Update your storage
The mobile workforce needs less paper storage, so conduct a storage audit and explore what other real estate savings there could be through clever office design. Consider multi-functional storage units that double as stand-up workstations or partitions.
3. Design your office to get staff moving
Mobile technology presents the opportunity for a more mobile workforce in every sense of the word. You’ve probably heard the saying ‘sitting is the new smoking’. This refers to research that shows prolonged sitting in the office has been linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor circulation, colon cancer, breast cancer, back and neck pain.
Your office interior design will influence how much time people spend sitting down. Creating printer and copier hubs that run over fixed or WiFi networks will require staff to move around the office regularly to collect their copies. The farther away the better. This office design strategy improves the health of your workforce and also reduces your capital expenditure and real estate space requirements.
4. Rethink your technology
A productive mobile workforce needs up-to-date and readily available technology. Move away from the thinking that AV equipment should only exist in the conference room or boardroom. Video conferencing, webinars and training can take place in office meeting pods or at individual workstations.
Your office interior design should also include WiFi coverage and smartphone charging stations for Android and iPhone devices.
If you’re introducing group printer hubs, there is a new technology called ‘pull printing’ that overcomes confidentiality issues with non-personal printers. Users authenticate themselves at the printer before the job is printed, so no confidential papers are left sitting unattended.
5. Communicate expectations
Set guidelines and expectations around the use of mobile technology. Every business will be different but consider what rules you need about social media use and online shopping in work hours. Communicate your expectations about staff responding to work emails during evenings or weekends. Staff can feel constant pressure to be available electronically 24/7, which will lead to burn- out. Try to come up with rules that are fair to everyone and you will reap the rewards of a more motivated workforce.
For more tips on mobile workplace strategies and office interior design, talk to the experts at Evoke Projects. Call 1300 720 692 today.
*Ted Moudis Associates – 2016 Workplace Report Link to http://www.tedmoudis.com/#!2016-workplace-report/c22k0