Let's Look Closely at What Makes a Good Office Space
Characterizing a “good” office space is extremely subjective. What makes a good office space for one person, might be less than ideal for another. For some, a good office space is defined by its lighting, for others it is the way their desk is set up, or the amenities provided such as a cafeteria. For others, a quality office space is less about any one characteristic, and more about the feeling they have when they're at work.
While there may not be any one, universal answer to the question of what makes a good office space, this article will endeavor to share some of the general desires most employees share. This can help you to design a perfect space in which anyone would feel comfortable and productive. Creating a comfortable, well-designed space that leaves room employees to personalize their work-space is key when you try to create a good office space.
Make it Comfortable
One of the most important parts of designing a good office space is comfort level.
This begins with the chairs you offer. You should make sure that you choose chairs that are ergonomic and designed to help support the lower back and neck. Reducing stress on the body of your employees will create the ability to work longer hours without strain.
Lighting is also a variable when it comes to comfort. In addition to providing a well-lit space in the proper light temperature, there needs to be an opportunity for each employee to increase and decrease the amount of lighting at their own desk. Desk lamps are not very expensive, but providing this option to your employees can have a significant boost on their productivity, health and wellness.
Anytime someone is able to customize their own space, it will add a huge boost to their level of comfort, which can impact every aspect of their workday.
Make Your Office Space Attractive to Clients
If you own an office that regularly welcomes clients, then you know that having an attractive area where they can enter and spend their time is very important.
Consider having a client space where there is water available and a computer, or tablet for use by the client. Make sure the same rule regarding comfort applies here as well, and offer comfortable chairs. In your office interior, you want your clients to feel as though they are in a safe, private space where they are free to share their ideas.
If you have an open office design, make sure there are plenty of well-appointed conference spaces available.
The Benefit of Offering Private Work Spaces
While having an open office space can be great, sometimes employees need a bit of private space and time to be alone with their thoughts. It may surprise you, but most workers actually get more done and many prefer the privacy offered by cubicles.
Whatever the layout of your office space, offering a private space (or spaces) where employees can occasionally go by themselves is a great option for this. Everyone thrives in different environments, and by providing areas with comfortable chairs, private standing desks, or an in-house cafe for those who enjoy a "coffee house" work environment can prioritizes mental health and create a good office space where your employees are allowed to be themselves and work in the way that best suits them.
Invest in Live Plants and Improve Ventilation
Not only do plants produce cleaner air, but studies have shown that working around plants can decrease stress and increase productivity as well.
Plants have actually been proven to increase productivity by 10-15%. With cleaner air and good ventilation, the overall brain capacity of workers will improve due to more oxygen reaching the brain.
Think Critically About Your Office Lighting
There are two main options when it comes to office lighting. These are natural light, and artificial light.
Although compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have been known to be good for the environment, this light has been proven terrible for your eyes. VisionMonday.com lists possible threats as macular degeneration, cataracts and retinal damage.
Natural light is a much better option whenever possible, and if your office space lacks windows then daylight bulbs can be a great option for an office.
Some offices invest heavily in smart, programmable lighting which allows management to gradually adjust the brightness and light temperature throughout the day to mimic the arc of the sun in the sky. This can have a far-reaching impact on the wellness and productivity of your employees ... improving their ability to enjoy deep, restful sleep later that night and return refreshed the next day.
You should also consider offering a different light temperature for different spaces. Break rooms and waiting areas should have warmer light, which will allow employees to fully relax during their breaks and allow clients to relax while they wait for their appointments. Office spaces should have cooler light in the daylight spectrum to improve focus, alertness, and productivity.
Set Up More than One Meeting Room
Having multiple meeting rooms allows more than one meeting to exist at the same time. This can mean that your employees can speak to two different sets of clients at the same time. Another example is it can also allow developers to have a meeting, while the design team is meeting as well.
Setting up more than one conference room is a relatively small investment that will allow time to be maximized and no one will be competing for a meeting room. Most people agree that offering employees multiple conference and meeting spaces is one of the things that makes a good office space.
Wall and Floor Color is a Cheap Way to Transform Your Office
When deciding what color scheme to use in an office, the choice should be based upon a few things.
First realize that colors elicit different responses. For example, you might make the client room blue, as this is known to be the color of trust. Red is the color of power, green is wealth, and orange is for attention.
Using more than one color, or incorporating unique angles that draw the eye on the wall or floor can totally transform the atmosphere of your work space and can make your office look both fun and professional.
Allow workers to bring in pops of color that inspire them as well, and you can also use your wall color as a way to reinforce branding by incorporating your logo or brand colors.
Try to stick to colors that evoke emotion rather than choosing plain white or tan, but no matter what you choose ... have a plan. We recently wrote an in-depth article on how to choose the right office paint color if you'd like to learn more or get inspired.
Offer Great Amenities to Enhance Your Office
One of the nicest things to have in an office are good amenities. What this means for your office can vary.
If your employees value a good cup of coffee, you might invest in a high-end espresso machine and provide them with different types of gourmet coffee through a subscription service. If your office loves to snack, create free snack area for when the mid day blood sugar drops.
Some offices may even be able to offer a gym area or outdoor seating to provide places for your team to blow off steam or recharge in a tranquil setting.
Having a daycare at work is also a very nice option that can turn a good space into a great space, and making your office dog-friendly and allowing employees to periodically bring their well-behaved pups in to work can create some positive vibes in the office and can even help you attract top talent.
Investing in amenities could be seen as a high additional cost without much upside, but there are creative ways to take care of this. For example, if you want to offer daycare at your office you could bring on one or two experienced babysitters who charge a flat fee per child, and that could be paid by the parents (you're just facilitating and providing a space ... they're still paying for the service). Most employees will recognize that this still lowers cost in general, eliminates a stop on the way to and from the office each day, and allows their children to be close by as well which creates less stress for both child and parent.
Give Employees Tools to Control Temperature at their Desk
Everyone has different feelings when it comes to temperature control, but everyone cannot always be accomodated. Originally the temperature 65-68 degrees fahrenheit was known as the temperature for productivity. Now we have learned that if someone is too cold, their brain will not function properly.
Sometimes in the winter certain people might feel hot, and others completely cold.
In the summer there may be a few members who feel terribly cold with the air conditioning on.
It's a modest expense to provide heating pads, fans, blankets, etc. to your employees so they have the ability to regulate the temperature in their work space to a comfortable level. Allowing your workers to customize their own space which will lead to a better office environment and will avoid the war of the thermostat.
Invest in Good Heating & Cooling Systems for Your Office
Playing off the last statement of temperature control, having a reliable and efficient HVAC system in place at your office is also important. Whether this means updating an old air conditioning unit, or providing maintenance to an existing unit, both can be the breaking point between a good and bad office space.
In the winter it is important to have a good heating unit, because blankets and space heaters only go so far. Part of what makes a good office space is that it is comfortable, with good air quality, and regularly replacing the filters and providing maintenance to your HVAC system is a big part of that.
"What?" Address Noise Level Issues in The Office
Noise is something we cannot always control. Whether the voices of people in the office are simply loud, there is music playing, or there is uncontrollable outside noise.
If everyone has the same taste in music, you could invest in speakers and play some background music in the office to keep everyone alert and engaged, but another option is to provide high quality noise cancelling headphones to your team so that people can listen to music or podcasts during the workday without being distracted by nearby conversations and ambient sound in the office.
This can be especially important in open-office arrangements where people are constantly in view and conversations between coworkers are easy to hear.
Other options are to install white noise machines throughout the office which can help to deaden ambient sound and allow people to focus on what they're doing. Carpeting and sound-absorbing wall panels can work as well. While cubicles have never been that popular with employees, those old beige panels can really soften sound in a work space and provide relief from distractions, so it's something to consider if noise levels in your office become too high.
What Makes a Good Office Space? You.
Everyone might not always agree on how they prefer to work in an office. But if you focus on the main issues that many business owners and employees struggle with in their office space, you can begin to improve your workplace environment.
No longer will someone think to themselves, “I wish I could turn up the air conditioning,” because you will have created an option for them to enjoy a private fan right at their desk.
The same goes for wishing for a bit of space and quiet. If you give the option to escape occasionally to work or relax in different lounge areas, you will be creating a better office space and empowering your team to stay focused and positive.
Focus on what you can do to give options to employees. Provide the tools so that they can customize their desk and workspace, and the quality of your office space (and team morale) will naturally improve.
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