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Office Layout Ideas: How to Create a Modern & Productive Workspace

Base office space

Not that long ago you’d open the door to an office and find rows and rows of desks. A meeting room. Perhaps even some cubicles. 

Technological advancements, a new generation of employees and evolution in working habits have changed our expectations around what we require from our workplace.

This means putting much more thought into how to provide a space centred around employee needs, to assist companies to create an engaged workforce who enjoy their work environment. A PWC survey showed that committed employees put 57% more effort in and are 87% less likely to resign than disinterested workers.

Meanwhile 93% of workers in the tech industry say they would stay longer at a company which offers healthier workspace benefits, such as wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, sit-stands, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating.

As a result, when it comes to office layout ideas, there’s now much more to consider than simply some desks and plants.

At Bruntwood, we recognise that creating an inspiring yet functional space can bring a wealth of benefits - which is why we offer an in-house interior design service if you lease office space with us.

Why It’s So Important to Get Your Office Layout Right

At a time when your workforce may split their time between work and home, you’ll need to cater for both the in and out-of-office experience. The layout of your office can have a big impact on the productivity of your employees. 

In a recent survey regarding productivity in the office, 77% of respondents said they performed better when their office provides space for collaboration, while 88% wanted space for focused work.

A well-designed office can help to:

  • Improve communication and collaboration: When employees are able to easily see and talk to each other, they're more likely to collaborate and share ideas.

  • Reduce stress and fatigue: A comfortable and well-lit office can help to reduce stress and fatigue, which can lead to increased productivity.

  • Increase job satisfaction: Employees who are happy with their work environment are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs overall.

The way we work has evolved, and the space we work in needs to match this evolution.

How Have Office Layouts Evolved?

The office layout has been through many iterations in the 200 years or so it’s existed. From single-purpose order, to open-plan transparency to the more diverse spaces they have become now - the environment in which we work has a lot of influence on how we work.

Initially the office was designed to provide an employer oversight of their employees, with banks of desks and an enclosed space for the manager. In the 50’s this changed to better consider the flow of paperwork, before a recognition of the need for privacy, and an option to focus led us to cubicles. 

As technology evolved, larger space was required for computers and connectivity, and now we’ve moved into a time where collaboration and creativity are top of mind when considering what is important in an office layout.

There have been improvements and studies on increasing office productivity, which have led to increased light, better food and employee wellness.

Hybrid working has increased, meaning a reduction in dedicated desks and a focus on hotdesking; encouraging employees to use their time in the office to meet colleagues face to face, in what should be an inspiring environment. Bruntwood offers a variety of spaces to cater to this.

What Do Businesses & Workers Want From A Modern Office Layout? 

A modern office layout should pute the needs of a diverse workforce. at the heart of its design, offering areas that encourage collaboration, while also supplying areas for focus. 

Younger employees are most likely to want (and need) to be in an office as it plays a key part in their development and allows an established environment for them to be socially active.

As new people enter the workforce, expectations of workplaces change. With a growing trend towards sustainability, the new wave of graduates and Gen-Z workers are enforcing a change in mentality from their employers, with 77% of employees saying it’s important that their company's values match their own.

As such, and with an increased focus on employee wellbeing, many office spaces now place more emphasis on providing natural light, plants, and other biophilic additions. And the stats back this up with data showing increased productivity and reduced costs in these spaces.

Open spaces aren’t always the best option for all businesses. Meta have, somewhat controversially, turned to old-school office cubicles to address this, while a simpler solution is simply to offer meeting rooms - they can even be hired on an adhoc basis to suit requirements.

Small Office Layout ideas 

If you have a small office, there are still a few things you can do to create a productive and inviting workspace. Here are a few tips:

  • Create zones

Designate different zones for different activities, such as a quiet zone for focused work, a collaborative zone for brainstorming, and a social zone for networking.

  • Use vertical space

Install shelves or cabinets on the walls to store files, books, and other supplies.

  • Choose furniture that is multi-functional

There are many types of furniture that can serve multiple purposes. For example, a coffee table can also be used as a desk or a work surface.

  • Use mirrors

Mirrors can make a small space feel larger. Hang them on the walls or place them on the floor to reflect light and create the sense of more space.

  • Get rid of clutter

Clutter can make a small space feel cramped and disorganised. Get rid of anything you don't need or use regularly. 

Additionally, remember to increase natural light and add plants, both of which benefit everyone regardless of office size!

And finally, don't be afraid to seek support. A professional office designer should be your first port of call, such as the ones at Bruntwood. They can help you create a workspace that is both productive and inviting for your employees.

The Future

It’s valuable to keep one eye on the future, and there are several growing trends that are unlikely to go away. These include “activity-based working” (flexible workspace design allowing employees to choose a collaborative, open space or a quieter, focus space), the aforementioned biophilic design and sustainable office spaces.

The office of the future will continue down the path of blending work and social - with a greater focus on the employee experience and ability to offer more than just a place to work. 

The spaces we inhabit to be productive will offer us an engaging location that we enjoy spending time in, and will cater to our needs, whether we want a quick break to exercise, or grab a bite to eat.

To view Bruntwood’s office spaces, or have a friendly chat about your requirements, please contact us.

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