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Building a better office atmosphere

If you think back to an office from the 1980s or 1990s, it’s likely going to contain a number of cubicles, walled-off office spaces for managers and break rooms filled with the usual tables and chairs. While this type of office was the norm in decades past, technology has enabled the creation of spaces that people will want to work in, and show up for every day.

New technology means hot desking, which allows staff to work in different areas of the office without disruption, and even other areas of the company. Coupled with new office furniture, a unique space can be put together that keeps staff engaged. So what is there to consider when it comes time to build an office with a better atmosphere?

The office is critical to productivity

A workspace plays a key role in the productivity of workers – after all, who would want to work in a drab workspace that’s filled with cubicles? Such offices can cut off communication with coworkers and create a toxic atmosphere. Of course, it’s not just the furniture that can impact productivity – lighting and ventilation too need to be considered.

In a study released by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Lighting Research Center, it was discovered that people working in offices with windows spent 15 per cent more time remaining focused and on task than those without windows. Another study found that on average, someone will waste around 4.3 hours per week looking for paper documents

Many office managers will likely be wondering what solutions are available, especially when budgets need to be managed. With technology and several unique approaches, an office fitout can improve productivity significantly.

Think creatively

Technology is an important part of building a better office space, especially when it comes to productivity and efficiency. Of course, plants, colour and music can add to the atmosphere and further bolster productivity.

Mobile devices: Using mobile devices doesn’t mean equipping staff with smart phones and telling them to get to work, but thinking more about how technology can be used in the office to better productivity. This means allowing staff to use ultra portable computers and tablets so they can work wherever they’re needed in the office.

For example, a salesperson may work with a graphic designer for a day, and then a manager the next – without needing to cart around a hefty computer.

Plants: In a paper published by the American Psychological Association, researchers found that offices devoid of distractions are terrible for productivity. In fact, they noted employees were 15 per cent more productive when a lean office was filled with simple house plants.

“If you put an ant into a ‘lean’ jam jar, or a gorilla in a zoo into a ‘lean’ cage – they’re miserable beasties,” Dr Chris Knight from Exeter University said. He explained that when people are put in similar situations, they’re no different.

Colour: According to the University of Texas, offices that rely on bland colour schemes (beige, grey, etc) can actually introduce sadness and depression into the office. Restful green and calming blue were noted as two excellent colours to improve efficiency and focus.

When thinking about the design of your office, consider the value of painting walls soothing colours to promote a better work environment.

Music: Lastly, there’s music. A University of Windsor study found that when IT specialists listened to music while working, they completed their tasks more quickly and came with better ideas than their colleagues. It’s easy to see why: music can improve their mood.

When incorporating music into the design of the office, it’s important to think about all staff – some may prefer working in silence. This is where hot desking comes into play, allowing staff to move around freely based on how they want to work.

Considering the Google Australia approach

To see how technology and other creative ideas are incorporated into a modern office, we’ll once again turn to tech company Google. Specifically, the Australian branch.

Starting off, a reception area is filled with greenery to counter the office setting. Gaming is also encouraged in various areas, with TVs and game consoles designed to relax employees. In a more physical vein, the company also stocks toy baseball bats, exercise balls and other equipment such as ping pong tables.

You won’t find any cubicles in the Google office – desks are either open with computer monitors the only barrier, or on islands to ensure collaboration remains open. Themed rooms are another key part of the Google office philosophy, with certain areas containing bean bags, hammocks and even fake wooden trees.

It’s not altogether difficult to change your office for the better, especially when working with an expert office interior designer like A1 Office. We can ensure that your office is overhauled so that it’s a space staff want to work in and a hub for productivity. Get in touch with us today!

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