This article is contributed by Samuel Gates.
The way most businesses operate and run their offices on a day to day basis is very old fashioned. While most companies will stick to principles that have historically proven successful, and will have invested a lot of time and effort into things like their office design and their choice of furniture; they unfortunately will also often be stuck in the past and be loath to try new things.
Technology has changed. With it business has changed. And with that, offices need to change too. Here we will look at what the modern office should look like, and at how that can help you to improve productivity, creativity and workplace satisfaction…
More Than One Space
Historically most of us have always worked at a single desk that has been ‘our space’ to work at. We’ll have our desktop computer there, all our papers and documents, and we’ll sit in that same position for the entire day with the exception of an hour-long break at lunch. Unsurprisingly, this is far from the most effective way to work and isn’t exactly conducive to enthusiasm or high energy – it’s essentially like being trapped in a small cage for 7-8 hours every single day.
Now don’t worry, I’m not about to suggest that everyone ‘desk-hop’. This is incredibly unsettling and even less conducive to your staff doing their best work. What I am going to propose however, is that you let your staff move around occasionally and have a single ‘base’ to call their own. This might mean having a small space to work at when they need all their documents and supplies, but then also having sofas to sit at later on when your staff want to work in a slightly more relaxed position. (Obviously this requires you to give your staff more portable devices to work from).
This then has countless benefits for productivity and creativity in your office. For one, it means that your staff can move once they start to get uncomfortable or restless. This then ensures that they keep their energy levels up and you’re likely to find that a change of scenery is very reinvigorating for them. Meanwhile, giving them the ability to relax and sit back while they work for a while rather than being constantly hunched over will help to prevent a range of health problems including back trouble and even RSI.
Then there’s the fact that this can help to improve creativity. Not only will moving around help to keep your staff more switched on help them to form new neuronal connections, but you’ll also find that the more relaxed and supine position they take up when on the sofas will help them to come up with more creative ideas: studies have shown on countless occasions that relaxation helps to improve creativity.
Likewise, the quality and quantity of ideas will also increase through mingling. Studies have also shown that ideas thrive best when they are talked about and when we have other people to bounce them off. By putting your workers in a more communal setting then, you can help them to exchange more ideas, to talk things out and to come to more creative solutions together.
Of course it’s also a lot more enjoyable for your staff to be able to relax with friends while they work, rather than having to sit alone at a desk. And if they enjoy being at work more, then they’ll be more enthusiastic and energetic coming in and will take fewer sick days.
The traditional office involves sitting upright in one position for long stretches, but it also involves a lot of grey and a lot of black. ‘Corporate’ could almost be a byword for ‘bland’ or ‘plain’ and of course this does very little to help most people enjoy being at work. What’s more, the lack of colour and visual stimuli could also be bad for our creativity and problem solving. It’s hard to feel inspired when you’re sitting on a grey chair in front of a grey desk and looking at a grey wall.
So don’t be afraid to inject a little colour into your walls, to add a little decoration, or to let your staff bring in their plants and photos from home. When you think you’re being professional and corporate, you might just be being misguided and stifling. The future of business is a little more colourful and a lot more relaxed – get with the program!
Author Bio: This post was written by Samuel Gates, an employee at BGC Modular. He is very passionate about art and he prefers sketching his ideas in the conventional style instead of using any software. Visit http://www.bgcmodular.com.au to know more about him and his company.
- old calculator image courtesy of Morguefile
- single desk image courtesy of Ben and Kaz Askins
- cash benefits image courtesy of source: http://pixabay.com/en/achievement-bar-business-chart-18554/
- stimulating colors image courtesy of jingdianjiaju2