When it comes to the latest office space trends, the ideal can be expressed in a single word: vitality.
Office environment can play a big role in your business. That’s because where you work affects your employees’ mood and comfort level. The right office setup can get creative juices flowing and encourage collaboration.
In other words, it’s worth considering how to design a dynamic, employee-friendly office environment that sparks the energy, creativity and teamwork your company needs to achieve the next level of success.
Here are five tips to re-energize your office space this year:
1. Green it up
Companies are increasingly learning that bringing in plants, natural materials or even tasteful murals with natural scenery can improve productivity, according to an Inc.com article by Jeff Pochepan, president of office furniture provider Strong Project. It turns out that people are simply happier when they are around other living things.
“By providing a natural space that your employees will want to work in every day, they can accomplish more, give themselves more time to get creative, and make time to interact with their colleagues,” Pochepan says.
You don’t have to turn your office into an indoor Jurassic Park, either. A call center in the Netherlands found out that a plant placed every few feet in their minimalist-style office space greatly improved employee memory retention and other productivity factors, according to Pochepan.
2. Think differently about desks
Gone are the days of workers hunched over their desks and hidden behind tall cubicle walls. As Forbes Finance Council members recently recounted in Forbes, standing desks and open layouts increase physical fitness and encourage collaboration. Open doorways and larger conference rooms can give employees more chances to meet, fostering teamwork.
Standing desks can enable workers to stretch, increasing circulation. But they also have an extra, unexpected benefit, as Stacy Francis of Francis Financial reports in Forbes. The standing desks, it turned out, improved phone calls with clients. “Standing projects their voice over the phone and conveys confidence better than a seated position,” Francis says.
3. Give it a homier feel
Think texture, pillows, decorative carpets and custom colors. You want your office space to be inviting to employees and visitors alike. This can not only make it comfortable, but can also encourage more creative thinking.
Texture is especially important because so many offices are minimalist in style, with neutral or streamlined layouts, Pochepan of Strong Project wrote in Inc. that the right pillow or decorative carpet can add some home comfort and encourage creativity. “Think faux sheepskin chair throws, acoustic fabric wall panels, beach shell wall dividers, woven rugs and handmade baskets,” Pochepan says.
4. Bring voice activation into your office
Millions of people are already using voice-activated virtual assistants to stream music through home speakers, check the weather or news, and much more. It makes sense that these technologies could help around the office, too. Online giant Google unveiled Google Home powered by the Google Assistant last year. While the technology was designed for the home, it offers small businesses many practical uses including easily re-ordering office supplies, scheduling events, making calls and helping schedule out your day — all via voice command. It can also offer all the conveniences it does for the home, such as turning the lights on and off and adjusting the temperature.
5. Make your office smarter overall
The Google Assistant could just be the beginning. The CCIM Institute lays out the vision of the future office: “Eventually the shell of a building and its infrastructure will link together. The walls will have technology that talks to the furniture, which talks to the post and beam system and the floor. The floor will be underlaid with modular electrical systems, which the furniture plugs into, which also powers the lights. The walls will be personal property that define private areas but can be taken down and moved.”
The Internet of Things is coming to an office near you. It’s good to stay on top of the latest technologies and how sensors and analytics could make your company much smarter about how it uses its office space.