Tackling productivity: Thinking outside the box when it comes to office space

Embrace the rise of alternative working practices

Whilst co-working is becoming more common in urban centres, it’s not hard to see why it’s still causing such a stir: by throwing out the comfortable notion of ‘one worker, one desk’, shared workspaces allow start-ups and micro-businesses to network, collaborate and reduce their costs. Likewise, flexible and remote working practices aren’t going away – despite the wishes of organisations such as Yahoo! and Vogue.

Many younger employees are actively choosing companies based on their openness to compromising on the nine to five. To get the most creative, talented workers through the door, employers are likely to continue to break with tradition. Expect offices to look even more like coffee shops in the future.

Think about space, and how you’ll use it

Practices like co-working have made designers rethink the ideal layout of an office, and fun, innovative spaces are popping up in all industries. Whilst a giant slide or ball pond may be a step too far for anybody other than Google, the principle is a valid one: every company and worker has different needs: and great design will respond to that. 

A high-powered corporate legal firm may well require an imposing front desk, large boardrooms and private offices: whereas a colourful open plan space with breakout areas may better suit a digital design agency. Once the office feels like a space that is built around employees and their role, those same employees end up feeling much more comfortable and productive in their surroundings.

Appeal to the senses

The human body is incredibly receptive to its environment: even if we’re not conscious of it. Sensory stimuli can make the difference between a lethargic, listless employee and one who’s energised, inspired and enthusiastic. For example, recent research has found that an enormous 84 per cent of employees are less motivated due to the winter darkness. Leading chronobiologist Dr. Victoria Revell explains: “A lack of daylight has a direct effect on well-being. The winter darkness, particularly in the morning, can lead to symptoms including sleep problems, overeating, depression, anxiety and lethargy.”

By looking beyond the basics of office space and thinking about their holistic working environment, companies can bring the best out of their specific group of employees and create a happy, motivated workforce.

Geraint Evans is the Sales and Marketing Director at Avanta Serviced Office Group, the leading provider of flexible office space, meeting rooms and support for growing businesses.

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