Changing the Office Landscape: Social Space Integration in New Construction Part 2
Modern office spaces are becoming more of a community center than work-only environment. The idea of a strict 9-5 shift is rapidly changing to a more flexible atmosphere where social needs beyond work performance can be met. If an employer strives to provide a “home away from home” for their employees, when the clock strikes 5, they may not be so quick to leave. Here’s how some companies are changing their office landscape to increase employee productivity, contentment and retention.
The Office Commons
A common meeting space for everyone that is designed to be trendy and encourage interaction is a great addition to any office floor plan. Including an element of natural light and scenic views will influence employees to stay for a moment and connect with those around them. Designing the space to go beyond lunch room style tables and chairs will also push collaboration and socialization. Build in an informal coffee bar and include comfy lounge chairs to create a conversational setting. Install writeable surfaces, mobile work stations, Wi-Fi and private booths for one-on-one pop up meetings.
People are no longer tethered to a single desk for 8 hours a day. This freedom to choose where they work, coupled with a new and flexible office environment can increase not just personal interaction but overall productivity and work place morale.
Bring the Great Outdoors to the Office
Taking a deep breath of fresh air can make all the difference in the middle of a strenuous work day. Bring the outdoors to your employees by making part of the common area an outdoor patio or green roof. If there is green space around your building, start up an office-wide garden project pushing employees to work together and connect on a personal level-and who doesn’t love food?
If green space is limited, bring the outdoors in by filling your office environment with a variety of plants. They not only make the space more breathable, but also add an element of color and life to opaque office walls.
The Fun Factor
Fun in the work place is also an essential part of office morale. Creating game rooms, lounge areas and even a well-equipped kitchen provides employees with an opportunity to destress, refocus and remain clam when things get challenging. Keep things simple, yet playful – put a video game console in the common room or a foosball table in the lobby. Things like this add an element of fun to an otherwise drab day and give employees a much-needed mental break.
Ultimately, any construction firm must consider each company’s unique organizational needs and help design a space that’s just right for them. Working as a partnership, both the organization and construction firm can build an office environment that shows employees their company cares about their well-being and wants to develop a space in alignment with both their professional and personal needs.