By Giles Fuchs, co- founder and CEO of serviced office provider Office Space in Town
In the last few years working weeks have become longer than ever, 70+ hours at your desk becoming the norm for many. With British employees working the longest hours in Europe, it has never been more important for us to ensure that our working environments continue to both engage and inspire.
As a result, we are seeing more and more companies move away from the traditional workplace concept and opt, instead, for innovative office environments. This aim to boost creative thinking, optimise performance and productivity and ultimately enhance profitability.
The Effect of Innovative Design
With so much time now spent in the office, employers are realising a desirable work-place vital.
In order to revitalise their workforce, some leading corporates have overhauled their traditional office space through significant and innovative redesigns, others have simply introduced quirky ‘break out’ features from ping-pong tables to high-swing hammocks.
Smaller companies should not be put off by the hefty price tag associated with a full office redesign: a small budget does not preclude creativity. Easy alternatives to reconstructing the office can come through simple changes: such as introducing plants, or increasing the levels of natural light. Recent studies show that these small alterations can increase employee’s productivity by up to 15%.
Introducing Areas for Creative Thinking
We have seen the rise of the ‘business lounge’ as a new addition to the office environment. This aims to promote ‘accidental interactions’ where employees meet by chance and exchange ideas, as well as offering areas of ‘free thinking’. For many people, being restricted to a desk can hinder their ability to think creatively and effectively collaborate with employees. Integrating a business lounge into the workspace, can help facilitate face-to-face encounters and provide a dedicated space for collaborative working.
Business lounges also permit employees to enjoy the casual functionality of a meeting in a coffee shop but without the noisy distractions - allowing them to focus on the task at hand.
Fighting the Lunchtime Chaos
With lunchtime now becoming even more chaotic than the daily commute, many employees are forced to spend their break either desk-bound or out on the streets, battling the crowds in a desperate search for an average sandwich. This undoubtedly contributes to only 20% of workers now taking their full hour lunch break. For those who don’t, it’s statistically proven to reduce productivity.
By offering a good quality, company-subsidised onsite café, employers encourage employees to step away from their desks for a revitalising lunch time break.
By the end of a working day most people are unlikely to have spoken to the majority of those in their office, let alone anyone else in their building. By organising social gatherings for everybody in the building, colleagues and co-workers of the building are able to mingle at a social level, away from their desks.
With a drink in hand, these parties boost conversation and confidence, stimulating creative thinking. As structural hierarchies temporarily disappear, people feel more at ease with one another, which means that engaging with each other’s ideas becomes a lot easier.
In a building full of different companies, co-working parties can also quickly become cross-company events, a great way to meet office neighbours and do some close quarter networking.