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Office Design and Workplace Happiness

The right workspace can greatly increase employee peace of mind and productivity. But before you panic and install a Google-style indoor go-cart track in your accounting firm’s headquarters, relax. Even the most well-designed office will make employees unproductive if they feel chained to their desks. Make sure that employees have the space to get up and take a walk occasionally, or maybe a lounge area where they can get a little work done without sitting in the same place all day.

Create people magnets.

People often need to be encouraged to talk together, yet when they get fully engaged can provide each other with helpful ideas and connections. ‘People magnets’ are spaces that concentrate things that attract people and hence leading to greater chances of synergy and serendipity.

Breakout areas help bring people together.

Communal areas towards the core of the building have a magnetic effect, creating a busy hub, this leaves shared areas away from the core may well receive less traffic, ensuring quiet areas where people can focus without the hustle and bustle. Airport lounges are a good example of this informal balance.

Shared space.

Increasing space shared across the workplace reduces the need for individual and team space, but requires that people be prepared to share. With no direct mandate for sharing, shared areas may need negotiation. Also it is import to keep in mind that people do not like to be thought of as “not working” when they are occupying less structured, soft-seating areas, so ensure it is well defined and recognised as a working area, not a leisure spot or the space will be shunned by the workforce.

Create a pleasant vista.

When people are working, many gaze into the distance for inspiration and as a pause from the work. This is one reason why window seats are popular. These need not be broad vistas—tantalizing glimpses can also be pleasant. Create views and vistas that are pleasant to look at. Where outside views or glimpses are not available, views across the office can be used, with colour, pictures, shape, etc. being used to create interest.

Office design for small businesses should be focused on allowing employees to feel like they’re a meaningful part of the organization and its purpose. When the workforce walk into the space, make it apparent that the company values them.

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