The office market is still struggling to catch up with how the tables have turned. Despite the fast-approaching flexible future of workspaces, many Landlords are still making school boy errors and lacking ideas for office design. They are investing a significant amount of capex to fit out a space with hope that it will appeal to a tenant.
We’re more interested in the companies who will ultimately win knowing that workplaces designed for people will help them move forward, learn, attract talent and remain highly competitive.
6 Ideas for Office Design in 2021
We recommend leaders think through seven office design approaches as you consider your hybrid strategy.
1. Activity-Based Who?
The concept of activity-based working is simply that different work activities need different settings. Employee’s roles are complex. They require different ways of working that can be supported by their working environment to get their head down, collaborate or brainstorm, etc.
Considering activity-based working in your layout is critical as your office space in London is now competing against working from home. While re-designing your office, make sure that you’re taking into account the needs of everyone who’ll be using your space by zoning it into distinct areas. Of particular importance are quiet focus-zones, banks of hot-desks, and casual breakout areas that can comfortably accommodate small teams.
2. Collaboration Ideas for Office Design
A fixed design won’t cut it. You need your space to be flexible and adaptable as new work patterns emerge. Innovation and problem solving often use agile approaches. For example, quick stand-up meetings which require visible, persistent content which can be hosted in open spaces, defined by flexible furniture, easy-to-access tech, and other design elements.
3. Solitary Confinement
Well, not quite. But collaboration is not just about group work, it actually involves solitude too. Effective collaboration happens when there’s an ebb and flow of people coming together to work as a team and then moving apart to focus individually, process their ideas and follow up on assigned tasks. Too much together time, without enough individual focus time can result in groupthink, so it’s important that the pendulum not swing too far by designing offices that are all about the “we” and not balance the need for “me” spaces.
3. Geography Class
A part of your team is together in the meeting room, but the rest are geographically detached as they work remotely. Therefore, meeting their communication needs – and assuring them that they will feel involved – are essential components to striking the balance between offering a flexible working policy and supporting your entire team’s needs.
You’d most likely need to install a video-conferencing room fitted with excellent AV hardware, with small sound-proofed video conference booths. Ultimately, you need to approach a digital-first design based around your team’s needs in a thoughtful and well-executed way.
4. Nobody Cares For Privacy
Uh, that’s not true. Most of our clients want to leave their serviced office in London due to the lack of privacy (plus feeling like they are actually growing their business).
Private communication is essential. Although how many meeting rooms with privacy glass or smaller soundproofed video conference booths are subject to a team’s specific needs.
Parallel to that, security is also commonly reported as being important, which isn’t a surprise. Simple lockers for hot desks or secure coat rooms normally suffices.
5. Smelly Breath
You may not want to go that close to your colleagues, but it’s great to see them again. The forced lockdown(s) have caused unwanted isolation that no amount of zoom calls can help.
It’s part of our DNA that a social culture at work inevitably helps with our productivity levels, amongst other benefits.
Therefore, we need ideas for office design that will accommodate social interactions. Breakout areas in particular are key to fostering a social environment in our workspace, so make sure to build it into your design.
In case you’ve not heard, ping-pong tables aren’t actually that desirable anymore. Really learn about your team’s collective and individual preferences to design an optimum social hub alongside their specific workplace requirements.
6. What’s Nearby?
The chance to stretch your legs or have a walking meeting is vital for some. For others it’s local amenities, a place to grab lunch or have a team dinner at your favourite restaurants.
With most people wanting to go to the office 2-3 times a week, your office must become a destination. Even if you’ve not rented a new office, your location and amenities really matter.
Some companies are able to design and build a café or bar into their space, others can form a partnership with local retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
Steelcase, for instance, have optimised their own space by executing ideas office design that supports hybrid meetings in the morning, transforms it into a café at lunch, hosts a town hall in the afternoon, and can rent out their space for an evening event.
Takeaways for Ideas for Office Design
Everyone loves a good take away. Our take home message is that to rethink ideas for office design for a more flexible future, designing employee engagement in digital-to-physical space means thinking like a movie director – lights, camera, audio, content.
Some solutions we’re seeing are angled or mobile tables, additional lighting, extra speakers, in room microphones, and easy-to-move marker-boards and displays. But that’s only half of it.
Ultimately, you really need to re-design your office space around your people – collectively and individually. Think carefully about how they work – and how they function – so that you are supporting their social wellbeing and optimising how they can do their best work.
Canvus finds, designs and manages the best workspaces.