When was the last time you spoke to your staff about what inspires them, or whether they think their workspace helps them interact with colleagues?
Well, it’s about time you did because the world of work is changing and a people-focused approach to workspace design is key to helping businesses attract and retain talent, boost employee happiness and gain a competitive edge.
It’s all about creating engaging office environments that people genuinely enjoy spending time in by catering to everything from different working styles and personality types to generational preferences; creating places where people can have their own space whilst still offering tonnes of opportunities for colleagues to interact and socialise.
So, what are the types of factors that need to be taken into account when looking for the ultimate people-centric workplace? Here are a few things to consider…
Extroverts, Introverts and Ambiverts
Happy workers are more productive workers (as much as 20% more productive according to the scientists) and we’re all happier if we can work in an environment that suits our personalities. Collaborative, open plan, dynamic workspaces will suit extrovert types – they are perfect for creative teams used to sharing lively, spontaneous brainstorms, for instance. But for the more introverted worker who can be distracted in an open plan office, having a dedicated quiet space, like a library room or focus booth to complete tasks and concentrate is vital.
And what about the ambiverts amongst us – falling somewhere in the middle? Ambiverts want social interaction with interludes of peaceful focus. By incorporating a varied range of workspaces within your office, you automatically meet their needs too.
The Generation Game
There’s no doubt that today’s workspaces are being heavily influenced by the expectations of tomorrow’s workforce. Social interaction and work/life balance are highly prized by millennial and generation z job-seekers, and businesses wanting to get ahead in the war for talent need to factor this into their workspace experience. So, having informal, shared amenities like our expansive shared roof-terrace at the Neo building in Manchester is important.
And, with recharge space in greater demand than ever, incorporating areas where staff can escape and switch off for a while will help towards creating an attractive workplace. AI firm, Peak, which resides on the top floor of Neo has fully embraced this approach. Peak’s office space is centred on the idea of flexible working, while encouraging social interaction, productivity and collaboration. When team members need to relax and recharge from data intensive activities they can escape and listen to music or spin some tunes of their own in the dedicated DJ booths.
It’s also a good idea to base your business in an environment designed to encourage new social encounters and casual collisions – interiors experts, the Sheila Bird Group, who we work with on many projects are even taking this to the next level at the moment by creating a space for one of their customers which will literally make colleagues and co-workers bump into each other, to give an opportunity for interaction.
Health and well-being feature high on the millennial workplace wish-list but healthy workplaces have cross-generational appeal. Including things like stand-up workstations and meeting hubs in an office prevents employees from becoming too sedentary and has health benefits for all ages, as does the inclusion of a shared gym, meditation room or yoga studio.
At our Trafford House development in Greater Manchester our customers have the opportunity to access virtual fitness classes delivered by Les Mills, getting fit and meeting new people in the workspace community at the same time.
People thrive on variety and businesses thrive on people, so workplaces offering a varied and stimulating environment that supports well-being and enables employees to choose how and where they work will always stay one step ahead. Thoughtful, empathetic workspace design is shaping the offices of the future and that’s a good thing for businesses and employees alike.