The business world is shifting quickly, and the workplace is changing as well. With remote work becoming increasingly popular, businesses increasingly feel that they have to merge the physical and digital world to keep up, actively engage their talent and keep the team happy.
The office plan of today’s modern business looks very little like the one your parents might have grown up with. An embrace of modern technology and an increased focus on fostering cooperation between team members has led to a dramatic overhaul. From amenities to on-and-off-hours workplace interaction, here are some creative and unique office features that can boost your office climate.
1. Multifunctional Space
Gone are the days of a structured office filled with cubicles where everyone toiled away until they were called into the manager’s office. Today’s office plans are dedicated to a number of operations, sometimes with more than one business or division working out of the shared floor plan. You’re much less likely to see walls, literal or figurative, separating your team members.
Today’s offices are largely designed to be collaborative, to make it easier for team members to access each other in the office space. This cuts down on the time it takes to contact someone about a work issue and creates a more welcoming environment that fosters team cooperation and emotional well-being.
2. Nature Integration
It might be time to consider bringing the outside-in. Studies show that elements of nature being brought into the workplace can help the collective mood of the office and increase productivity. This can be as simple as placing plants around the office, but some offices have gone further and introduced office pets – ranging from fish tanks to free-roaming cats where no one has allergies.
However, depending on geography, it may be possible to take the whole office plan and fuse it with the outside-in concept in some unique ways. If you have the building space, creating an open-air courtyard that provides the opportunity to work in the sun during certain seasons of the year may be worth considering. Not every employee will appreciate the touch of nature, but the majority may benefit from spending less time indoors.
3. Cloud Technology
It might be time to switch to a cloud-based computing system to improve efficiency in many ways, such as allowing for data storage without worrying about capacity. It’s also ideal for centralizing your communications systems and making it easier for customers to contact your office without worrying about extensions or mailboxes.
If your business is a hybrid one with both remote and in-office employees, you’ll want a system that provides maximum mobility. A virtual PBX system allows you to stay in contact no matter where someone is, and all the data from your communications – be they voice, video, or text – will be stored in the same secure place. Additionally, cloud-based systems are easy to upgrade as your business grows and needs more capacity.
4. Adjustable Lighting
If you want your employees at their peak, it’s essential to ensure the lighting conditions are ideal. Either extreme can have poor results. If the lights are too dim, employees may find it difficult to do their tasks effectively. Likewise, bright lighting may lead to headaches and fatigue. Not everyone will have the exact lighting needs, so the ideal solution is to install adjustable lighting in each office and keep the lighting in shared areas at a moderate level. This minor detail can make a major difference in productivity levels.
5. Recreation Area
This feature may not actually increase productivity—it might even seem like a waste of time to some. But recreation areas in the office can improve your team’s morale and make people look forward to coming to work every morning. What features you have in the recreation area will depend on the demographics of the staff, but having it as an option during break periods might cut down on employee lateness and reduce the lost work time from waiting for them to get back from breaks.
These ideas may not always be ideal for your business, but they represent the current changes in the workplace. Employers are creating a new person-focused, open, and tech-trendy office for the new work paradigm. How could your office be upgraded today?