On the internet, hundreds of workspace design ideas are floating around to inspire creativity and productivity. But here’s the thing – you cannot force a generalized office design onto your employees. Seriously, the best way to make the work environment productive and vibrant is to cater to individual requirements.
Now, you may be wondering if office managers started to consider the design requirements of each individual – it would require a lot of time and resources and may make the workspace more complicated. Fortunately, the practical approach is simpler than that.
Companies can create two to three design profiles that complement the needs of individuals and implement a holistic workspace. Part of the process is to make the office design purposeful.
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Personalize Office Space
Personalizing the workspace is a great idea, but make sure it is done in moderation. Personalize elements in the workplace that might evoke an emotional connection with the office and allow individuals to de-clutter their work environment. For instance, you can add a personalized calendar on different employees’ desktops to help them stay on track.
There is no office layout, structure, functionality, or design that will complement everyone. So, give each employee something in return to make them more flexible and comfortable in the workspace. Add personal touches like bringing plants to their workstation or personalized pictures to lighten the mood.
Observe the Dynamics of Each Team
One of the best ways to design a workspace with individual needs in mind is to observe the unique dynamics of your team. You need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Where are the main bottlenecks when there is traffic flow?
- How would team members use their existing workspace?
- What does and doesn’t work in the current designed workspace?
- What are the key challenges in office collaboration?
- What are the top complaints about the existing workspace?
You have to be direct and ask your team members what they want to see in a new office space. Consider all suggestions and recommendations so that you can later compare them and create a suitable design framework.
Create Movement Opportunities
There is a reason minimalist office designs have become popular and practical – they offer more wiggle room for employees to hang out around the workspace. For starters, recognize what does and doesn’t hit the productivity on the floor. Also, bring in ergonomic desks and chairs built with eco-friendly materials to make the office space more viable for each team member.
Bringing ergonomic standing desks has changed office floor traffic for many companies. It gives more employees a chance to move and change positions throughout their work day. But don’t design office space solely based on the productivity of each employee – calibrate and recalibrate what elements spark the interest of different employees that can tap into their creativity and productivity.
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Review Workspace Allocation
There are so many elements that can make the workspace complicated and discourage employees from being productive or pay close attention to daily activities. So, take your time and evaluate the workspace allocation based on the individual rank of each employee.
Avoid the traditional formula of the higher the level – the more square feet of office space. Of course, senior staff should have their designated workspaces, but it shouldn’t be construed or come in the way of employees. Assign a larger workspace to the employees, like a salesperson who spends the most time in the office. In short, ensure the allocated office space is adequate for “ALL” individuals.
Design Workspace that Fits into Organizational Culture
Your company has a unique organizational culture, and you have to ensure your design doesn’t drift far from it. Create an office design that celebrates and recognizes individual achievements. Once you’re able to define individual attributes, you can find new ways to attract their personalities.
It is also an effective way to retain top talent, partners, vendors, and clients. Your objective should be to reinforce your office design and connect it with your company culture. And before you know it – individual employees will find a newfound spirit and vibrancy in the office space.
Rethink Hallmark Technologies
Tech is evolving faster and it is getting difficult for companies to keep up. You can re-evaluate the hallmark technologies you feel should be part of the office to run day-to-day operations. Focus on wireless tech solutions that can create more room for employee movement in the workspace.
The discourse around wireless tech is endless. Focus on identifying the technologies that define your operations and support your employees. If you plan to bring new technology into the office space, ensure each team member is aware of its mechanics and what makes it a necessary tool.
Design Your Workspace on Activities
The more you observe your team members – the better you can figure out their daily activities in the office. If an employee’s job is to check voicemails and emails throughout the day – determine what design elements would be most practical and attractive to create more flexibility for that employee.
Focus on main activities like group tasks, team meetings, solo work, and touching down to design a workspace that considers individual needs. In fact, it is the best way to satisfy the unique requirements of the entire team.
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When designing a workspace with individual needs in mind, collaboration is one must–have. It is one of the elements that power up your business model and make things happen. Without collaboration, business operations would fall apart.
From small businesses to large corporations, there are always design elements that make collaboration easier among teams. So, add individual design elements to encourage collaboration across the office space.
Avoid One-Size-Fit-All Design Approach
Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all office. In fact, how employees work and communicate in today’s workspace is changing for good. Remember that what might be a flexible aspect of the workspace may be a hurdle for another employee.
So, find out the essential requirements of your workforce and then design a workspace that fulfills those needs. Your goal should be to create a compelling and flexible office environment that works for everyone. On the surface, semi-private and cubicle workspaces may sound like a great idea. But they can strip employees of their happiness and creative drive to go above and beyond for the company.
What’s the solution? Design an accessible office space that doesn’t isolate individual employees. Even if you plan to bring in cubicles – make sure they’re dynamic and don’t interrupt the workflow and privacy of employees. In the end, understand that what may work for another organization may not work for your company. In retrospect, identify the main variables that can impact “your” team members,
Here are a few essential design recommendations for a workspace that can help you meet individual needs and requirements:
- Opt for Natural Light
- Provide Modern Desk and Seat Options
- Take Down Traditional Style Walls
- Design to Minimize Wire Clutter
- Get Mobile Furniture to Promote Collaboration
- Inspire Individual Team Members with Vibrant Color
- Foster a Social Community through a Lounge Space
- Decorate with Intuitive Textures and Materials
- Design a Multipurpose and Diverse Workspace
Having plants in the workspace is more than just a visual attraction. Plants can help you make a productive office and increase each employee's creative and productive drive. And that’s because plants improve people's moods and general behavior and release fresh oxygen that is good for employees’ health who spend most of their time indoors.
With plants in the workspace, employees are bound to feel livelier. There is one study after another that proves that plants can motivate and keep the internal environment clean at the same time. If you want to improve the mood and maintain employees' energy – add plants in the workspace to help employees reduce stress and be creative and productive
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Today, if you ask ten employees about what makes up an ideal workspace design, you’ll get ten different answers. After all, there is more than one generalized way to decorate and structure the workspace. You have to think beyond how four walls, ceilings, and floor work to make employees productive.
Most importantly, don’t design office space for the sake of aesthetics. If you want to profoundly impact individual employees, balance the design elements to render top-notch productivity and creativity.
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By: Brandi Marcene