How To Design The Perfect Workspace

How To Design The Perfect Workspace

Whether you’re an entrepreneur setting up your first start-up or a manager asked to consult on a proposed move, you may find yourself turning your mind to the business of work spaces. Business is increasingly moving away from the old model of closed offices segmented within a building furnished with a receptionist and little else: today’s workspaces are open, dynamic, and even virtual. But what’s the most effective way to disport your staff? The answer will depend on the type of business you’re in, and where your clients come from.

Reconsider open plan design

Over the past two decades, closed plan offices have virtually ceased to exist. Open plan is ubiquitous, with cubicles and low dividers replacing walls and doors. It’s championed as fostering collaboration and a shared culture – not to mention keeping rents down with smaller square meterage – but are open spaces always the way to go?

If your employees work in an industry which requires prolonged periods of concentration – perhaps they’re programmers, architects or analysts – the open office might be impeding their ability to produce. In this case, even if you’re wedded to the open space concept, consider incorporating some private spaces as well, so that workers can seclude themselves when they need to.

Encourage movement

Sitting for long periods of time is bad for your health and worse for your working relationships. Any office design should seriously consider encouraging people to stand up and move around during their workday. They’ll get a break from the screen and a chance to swap ideas. Consider installing an inviting break room with space for collaboration and the option for standing desks.

Virtual spaces

As technology improves apace, so does the rise of virtual or remote offices. The advantages are obvious for employers, from saving on real estate to increased productivity and job satisfaction of their employees. It’s also been found to reduce turnover and stress. And in this case you don’t need to worry about encouraging movement: remote workers move around more naturally.

On the downside, it can be harder to instill a company culture in a disparate workforce that rarely see one another, and if your company relies on foot traffic or face-to-face client interaction, it might not be suitable for your needs.

What do you think?

Does your office design work well? What’s unique or completely common about it? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

This article was written by Tanya Ashworth-Keppel on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: DIY Genius, Entrepreneur, American Express and Forbes.

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