Different work styles need diverse workspaces. Quiet areas for high focus tasks, collaboration areas for relationship building and idea exchanging or private areas for sensitive meetings and private conversations all require careful thought and consideration when planning your office space. Zones can be achieved through the use of varied styles of furniture, different styles of flooring, lighting, changes in décor, partitions, meeting pods and even alternative floor/ceiling heights.
Often the first impression staff or visitors have of an organisation, the Reception needs to make an impact and convey the corporate culture and ethos whilst appearing welcoming. This area prides the perfect opportunity to present your corporate brand and image and often incorporates a waiting/hospitality area for guests.
The main work area is made up traditionally of desks or bench style desk. Offices are tending to adopt collaborative workspaces where open plan design create a supportive environment and encourages creativity and motivation. This is the area where most of an employee’s time will usually be spent so comfort and practicality are key elements in the design. It cannot be emphasised enough how important ergonomic office chairs are for staff, and desks, screens, monitor arms all help to ensure that the workspace is functional and allow staff to be productive.
Zones for collaboration or less structured meetings are usually designed to promote innovative and creative ideas in an informal environment and result in brainstorming and sharing ideas. Moving to a collaboration area often reinvigorates staff and motivates fresh thinking.
Sometimes privacy and discretion are required, particularly in meetings where confidentially is important. Meeting Rooms are usually closed off from the rest of the office, especially useful in the open plan office. Solid or glass partitions are generally used to create these areas, with blinds or frosting offering extra privacy.
Sometimes you just need to sit quietly with no distractions in order to concentrate or reflect. Quiet zones are often places where no phones, Skype, or discussions are allowed to facilitate total focus and where you can be guaranteed that you will not be disturbed.
Ranging from Tea Points to fully equipped Kitchens, these areas are for eating drinking and mingling with co-workers at lunchtime and throughout the day. Bistro furniture, high stools, bench seating at tables or soft furnishings such as sofas and tub chairs offer different ways to sit and relax together. They give employees the chance to take a break from their work and their computers either quietly on their own or even with people from different departments who they wouldn’t usually get the chance to spend time together. Staff are more productive after enjoying a comfortable break during the day. Breakout Areas can also double up as informal meeting areas for workers or visitors. They are particularly useful if there are not many cafes or eateries local to the office building.
Many companies are now opting for areas where employees can socialise in and have a bit of downtime either during or after work hours, and they are highly conducive to staff efficiency and productivity. These zones can include pool tables, pin pong tables, video games, table football or TVs and foster rapport between workers in a non-formal way. This interaction is both beneficial their wellbeing, by reducing stress, and can also be pivotal in attracting and retaining key members of staff.
Increasingly organisations are becoming mindful of their employees mental and physical health. Well, Zones describe any areas used for sport or relaxing activities and the benefits to staff are obvious. Whilst they may seem a luxurious concept, a room put aside for yoga, for example, doesn’t have to break the bank and sends the message that staff are valued and appreciated.