It’s Underway: The Office Renaissance
It’s no secret that the office space has been under siege for many years, with many having predicted the death of the office ever since mobile technology allowed individuals to work from practically anywhere in the world. Logging on to emails and company systems is easier than ever, with figures now showing that a whopping 50% of people check their emails before even getting out of bed.
External meetings in coffee shops and restaurants have long been commonplace, with most establishments now providing free Wi-Fi services.
So, is it RIP to the office?
You could argue that we are in the midst of an office evolution. Business success doesn’t solely rest on staff interaction, but studies have shown that active collaboration leads to new ideas, new processes and in turn, increased profit.
So, should we leave the traditional office behind? Certain offices require elements of confidentiality, so bench desking and screens with meeting rooms are a must; but time and time again we have seen the office space change, with the adoption of new spaces and technologies.
The ‘Google office’ look has long been an inspiration to many. Not that all offices can incorporate an office slide or wall mounted pods, but, the desire to do something different is driving a lot of new look office development. No longer are businesses settling for simple desks with basic collaboration spaces, they want something more. Just like we’ve seen with the Google’s and Facebook’s of the world, if you take a risk you can reap the rewards.
As humans, the desire to interact with others is in our DNA; whether it’s simple interaction in a café or contact with colleagues, the need to collaborate is a natural instinct. And although working from home, remotely, or in a wall mounted singular pod has become common practice during the last decade, we can’t ignore our desire to collaborate.
We now see designs that encapsulate a variety of spaces that work for the new age worker bees we have become. Welcome to the free plan office space! Through incorporating specifically designed furniture to cater for both the meeting space/creative collaboration zone and the individual workspace, we can see the office evolution in front of our very eyes.
We have seen a surge in meeting booths, office pods, hot desking and media centres over the past few years, allowing even the smallest of offices the opportunity to create a space to accommodate teamwork and collaboration or alternatively to provide an element of privacy for internal office meetings. The face of the office space may be changing, but the fundamental requirements are the same.
So, what does this mean?
Thanks to endless amounts of research and development, we now understand the needs of staff and how they can be catered to. We spend over 90% of our lives indoors, with the average office worker spending the majority of their life in work, yet our desire to be outdoors, especially on the long summer days, remains with us.
Studies have shown that hotels rooms with a natural scenic view sell out twice as quick than those without, with guests even willing to spend on average £30 more to get the view. So, why would we neglect this desire in the workplace?
To help feed this need we’ve seen a growing trend of biophilic design being incorporated into many office spaces; bringing a piece of outdoors, indoors. The benefits have been staggering. Not only is this look pleasing to the eye, but the positive effect it has on staff wellbeing has seen an increase in staff memories, creativity, productivity and staff retention. This in turn all contributes to the most important thing for any business: the bottom line.
So, where does this trend leave office furniture?
Its fair to say that the days of the office cubicle, head down, strip lighting days are a thing of the past, and thankfully so. More and more research has proven that an office environment can greatly impact the staff and choosing to adapt and implement new designs can create a more effective working environment, which in turn results in a happy workforce. Staff wellbeing has become a core part of the missions and values for most companies and the execution of this becomes paramount during office refurbishment and/or relocation.
The office evolution has also seen the increase in soft seating in office spaces, introducing the creature comforts of home to your workforce to accommodate and appease the late finishers or early starters. Creative designs have seen nooks and crannies filled with innovative furniture pieces, maximising all office space whilst also providing an enjoyable place to work.
In order to meet this trend, furniture manufacturers have done extensive research into how to foster wellbeing and creativity in the workspace. Global leading brands in furniture are allocating huge funding and manpower into the research and development of their products. Keeping their fingers on the pulse in terms of office design is clearly very much at the forefront of their agendas.
The future of the office space
There’s been some fundamental adaptations to office space over the past two decades, with all these changes having a positive impact on both staff and businesses. Thanks to the findings of countless studies, we can identify the key factors that will be seen in most if not all of the offices of the future, beyond the current trends. Such as:
- Biophilic design – bringing the great outdoors, indoors. With natural elements proving to boost productivity by 8% and well-being by 13%, this trend is likely to become a foundational aspect of all future office design.
- Harmonious textures – linking with the biophilic trend, natural elements such as wood, metal and stone have also proven to have a positive impact on staff wellbeing.
- Outdoor space – not all companies can accommodate this, but any business that is lucky enough to have outdoor space should capitalise on this asset. Creating an area were staff can literally get away from the office for 10-15 minutes to refocus, make a phone call or chill out is an investment well worth making.
- Home away from home – from comfortable lounge seating to rugs and lighting, we are seeing more home comforts than ever appear in workplaces. These types of furnishings allow staff to power down, take time out from the task at hand, recharge and refocus.
Is your office space renaissance ready?
Things are changing for the better. Staff expect more but they are also producing more. They want to be happy and successful at work, so it’s important as an employer that you foster such an environment. If you don’t act first, your competitors will.
So, if you think your office is due an overhaul or if you simply want to discuss the possibilities with our friendly, expert team, please call us on 0151 345 3303. We look forward to speaking with you!