From time immemorial people have renovated and remodeled homes and offices for progress and modernity. There have been many things overlooked while doing the changes which don’t show the desired result. You need to survey, research, and observe before embarking on such a project.
There may always not be the option of increasing space at the office just because the number of employees has increased. Where will you get that space from? Breaking down of walls adjoining or within may be an option, but not always so.
One of the solutions is to have differentiated and earmarked spaces for various activities and job profiles. This not only encourages employee collaboration but also paves the way for employee engagement and innovative ideas.
Group workstations: where many employees can sit and work around a large common desk or a workstation.
Conference rooms: where meetings and conferences take place. Since these events are usually regular affairs, many employees can work from here regularly.
Focus rooms: where employees on strategic projects and need more focus can work. This room can be used in rotation as projects complete.
Open area: this is for those employees who don’t have any other specific space assigned to them.
Work Cafes: Concepts of Work Cafés are catching up in many offices. The simple cafeteria is now a multi-utility space where employees work and take a break too.
There are lessons learned from such projects of remodeling offices. Here are twelve golden ones.
1. A Matter of Habit
Since the advent of computers, faxes, emails, mobiles, and other such gadgets, the use of paperwork has reduced to nil. There is no need for extra drawers and cabinets for storing papers and files. It’s all there on the cloud storage. Printing of matter has also reduced because of screen sharing options. People thus adjust to small working spaces as they realize that the need is not there. This also does away with the habit of storing unnecessary items at work.
2. Less talk and More work
When people worked in individual offices, cubicles, or enclosures, there are chances of more gossip, conversations, loud volumes of talking, and thereby, reduced output. In open work areas, employees are more conscious of the amount they talk and also the way they talk. Volumes go down and focus on the work increases.
3. Social Interaction and Confidence
Since managers usually get cabins and cubicles, some employees are pushed into the background. They often go unnoticed and don’t have much say in the office. But, the concept of collaborative workstations makes these come forward and be a part of the office. They socially and professionally interact more.
4. Social Interaction and Toning down
The exact opposite is also true. There are people who always push themselves forward and don’t give others a chance to interact. They are also those who have to be on the phone very often and for long periods too. Such people can be made to sit in small Focus Rooms where they get less distracted and also don’t disturb the other employees trying to work.
5. Different Spaces for Different People
Employees at the managerial levels can do with less space as they have the staff to take care of paperwork And documentation. Then there are those employees who work with the bare minimum of belongings or gadgets. They too can manage in small spaces. Give more space to those who maintain most files and records and need more space.
6. Space for Personal Items
Employees do need some space to keep their personal belongings and other knick-knacks at the office. Have options for smart storage for this. It could be as simple as a photo frame with the family picture or a favorite paperweight or a flower vase.
7. Freedom to Choose a workplace
Different people have different working styles. Some offices do give the liberty of the employees to chose where they want to sit and work. This leads to better creativity, innovation, and productivity. Some sit in different places for different assignments. Employees learn so many much by moving from person to person. This is important for personal growth and a better understanding among the employees.
8. Lighting and Ventilation
You will find a variety of people needing different temperatures of air conditioning in the office. Allow freedom to choose to sit near the fan or the air conditioner or away from these. Similarly, give employees the chance to sit near the window for the view outside. Ideally, fixed workstations should not be placed near the windows. That should be an open area for anyone to choose to sit there and work. Keep the place well lit. Fix different creative lights to brighten up the place.
There is no single key to open all the locks in the world. What worked well for one office may not work well for you. Therefore, try out innovative and different ideas to manage space. You never know what may strike gold with you. Take suggestions from your employees as well.
Often, in the throes of creating more space for more employees, you forget the basic facilities needed at the office. Make sure that connectivity to the internet is disrupted. Pay attention to the washrooms. Keep them clean.
11. Decoration and Ambiance
Productivity, morale, and motivation go down if the office looks drab and dull. Large halls and rooms will be useless unless they are bright and cheerful. Hang some lovely paintings or certificates. Display some trophies. Keep the walls and drapes colorful and bright.
12. Nature and Environment
It is not easy sitting inside closed rooms on high floors of a tall building. Keeping away from nature even on lower floors is not a very good proposition. Bring in some greenery. Go in for some potted fake trees and plants. You can choose from fake miniature palm trees, indoor decorative palm trees, indoor silk trees, and artificial silk trees. These plants look as good as real and have bright colors which last very long. They are also durable and easy to maintain as they don’t shed their leaves or wither away. Maintaining them is easy as there is no need to water them or add manure from time to time.
It is important to learn from these lessons and move forward for progress and growth of your office. So, read up, research, and then remodel your office. Happy working!