By Ashley Espinal, Head of Communication & Culture, Bond Collective
What is your business’s most valuable asset? It’s not your proprietary technology, your brand, or your network. It’s your team. That’s why a happy, productive team is the gold standard of business in the 21st century. And nothing affects the happiness and productivity of your team like their office environment.
That’s where the workspace experts at Bond Collective come in. In this article, we’ll show you how to set up and run the best possible workspace for you and your team.
Tips For The Ideal Office Environment
Here are 11 of our favorite ways to promote a stimulating office environment that will have your team working better than ever.
1) Provide Easy Access To All Parts Of The Office
No one likes to feel like a rat in a maze, and nothing contributes to that feeling like a long, unbroken row of furniture. Even low desks can add to the sense of being “penned-in” if arranged improperly.
If you’re working in a large, open office space, try arranging the desks or tables in small groups with space on either side. That makes moving around the office much easier and eliminates the feeling of being a sardine in a can.
2) Break Up Open Spaces
Noise and movement — especially in large, cavernous spaces — can seriously affect the focus and productivity of your employees. With the open office layout, even the smallest sound or activity can disturb your employees’ concentration. Cubicles keep distractions to a minimum, but they make employees feel like a rat in a cage.
Minimize the intrusive effects of noise and movement by breaking up the wide-open spaces with bookcases, plants, shelves — anything that provides a change from row after row of desks. You can also incorporate a sense of privacy by separating work areas with large pieces of furniture, like filing cabinets or storage lockers.
3) Keep Your Office Environment Clutter-Free
In the minds of many, a cluttered office is a disorganized and dirty office. That can seriously affect the happiness and productivity of your team...not to mention sending the wrong message to your customers and clients.
Here are a few suggestions for decluttering your office environment:
Corral the power cords
Go wireless if possible
Invest in storage solutions
Minimize items on your desk
Hire a commercial cleaner
Provide each team member with a personal storage space
Give this issue some serious thought and we’re sure you’ll come up with plenty of unique ways to keep your office environment clutter-free.
4) Consider Getting An Office Mascot
When we say “mascot,” we’re not talking about an employee dressed up as an armadillo or a ferret. We’re talking about an animal of the canine or feline persuasion that lives at your office (or at least comes to work every day).
A recent study by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) reported that pets in the workplace improve work/life balance, reduce stress, and nurture productivity. All great things when you’re looking to make your team happier.
You will have to plan for food, exercise, and periodic walks (unless you get a cat, in which case, all you’ll need is food), but the reward is a higher level of happiness and productivity than ever before.
5) Establish Areas For Socialization
Socialization is a key component of creativity. In an office environment, socialization usually takes place in a designated lounge area. There, team members can take a break, unwind, converse with others, and get inspired.
When setting aside an area for socialization, arrange the space so that groups of different sizes can congregate. Include couches, comfy chairs, and four-, six-, and eight-person tables of various sizes.
Setting up your socialization area to be flexible in design can transform a chance meeting of four colleagues into an unexpected collaboration that brings about new ideas and new solutions.
6) Take Time Out For Your Passions
Everyone has a passion. It may be a hobby, like painting or Zen meditation. Or it may be a pastime, such as reading or journaling.
Whatever that passion may be, try giving your team members a half-hour every day to work on anything they want. It’s a great way to relax, get your creative juices flowing, and explore common interests.
7) Give Your Team A Variety Of Workspace & Seating Options
With the ubiquity of mobile technology, employees are no longer tied exclusively to their desks. In fact, some of their best work may occur elsewhere in the office.
Employees recognize that a change of scenery — or just a change from seated to standing — is an effective way to keep their creative juices flowing and their energy levels high. You can incorporate this new mobility into your office layout by providing employees with a variety of workspace and seating options.
Give your employees the flexibility they crave by incorporating adjustable-height desks, multi-person tables, stools, and a variety of other seating options into your office environment.
8) Wind Down And Get Inspired At The Same Time
On Friday afternoon, gather your team together, uncork a bottle of wine or pop the top on a can of beer, and talk about the work week gone by. Share problems you’ve encountered, solutions you came up with, or new processes or technology that made things easier.
This is a productive way to wind down, solve problems, and get inspired all at the same time.
9) Set Aside Quiet Areas For Focus
Another essential component of a productive office environment is the presence of quiet areas for focus and concentration. This may be where your employees’ desks are set up, or it may be another corner of the room entirely.
We recommend pushing the quiet work area to one corner or one end of your office space. Then arrange other areas according to increasing noise levels. Try to keep the quiet areas as far away from the collaboration and socialization areas as possible to prevent the activity in the latter from becoming a distraction.
10) Create Collaboration Spaces
Collaboration is vital to business success, so it’s important to designate a space within your office environment specifically for this activity. If you only use the collaboration section periodically or for team meetings, it can make an excellent buffer between the quiet areas and the rest of your office.
Otherwise, position the collaboration section in another area of the office space so that activity there doesn’t interrupt work in the quiet area. Either way, design an open space with a large table and plenty of seating that you can use to bring everyone together.
11) Incorporate A Training Space Into Your Layout
Training is an essential component of work in the 21st century. Well-trained employees are happier and more productive because they are confident in their ability to get the job done right the first time.
That being said, whether you’re introducing your employees to new workflows or getting them familiar with new software, you’re going to need a space dedicated to training.
The collaboration area or conference room can double as a training space, but what happens when the conference room is in use and you need to introduce one of your teams to a new software tool? You can see why it’s a good idea to have an area exclusively for training.
A Happy And Productive Office Environment Is Possible
At Bond Collective, we’ve designed our workspaces with your team’s happiness and productivity in mind. Each of our shared office environments incorporates inspiring design elements like natural light, open floor plans, vivid colors, and multipurpose workspaces — plus a whole host of other design factors that will motivate your team to greatness.
So, if you’re looking for a workspace that will increase your team’s happiness and productivity, consider becoming a member of Bond Collective. You can take advantage of our coworking spaces, dedicated desks, and private offices to suit all your business needs.
Visit our gorgeous office spaces in New York (Bushwick, 55 Broadway, 60 Broad, Gowanus, Flatiron) and Philadelphia (Station House) to experience the best that luxury office environments have to offer. And to learn more about the advantages of coworking spaces for digital nomads, remote workers, and businesses of all kinds, visit BondCollective.com today.