Anyone who has worked in an office knows a community of sorts is formed in the workplace. It may be one that fosters positive relationships and a sense of camaraderie, or it may be the type that makes you want to get in and get out as quickly as possible. Fortunately for those who work in office communities more akin to the former, research shows that a positive work culture improves productivity.
As a result, businesses are increasingly paying attention to office design and company culture in an effort to improve working conditions – and workplace communities. Designing office gathering places is one way to accomplish both goals.
Office Gathering Places Establish a Better Sense Workplace Community
Popular tech industry giants, like Google and Facebook for example, have been highly sensationalized for their over-the-top workplace designs. While we don’t necessarily feel you need to add a scooter track or a video arcade to your office, creating an attractive, comfortable and (perhaps even) entertaining gathering place isn’t such a bad idea.
The article Rethinking the Office Environment, posted on bloomburg.com, highlights research performed by San Francisco-based design firm, Gensler, using online input from more than 2000 office workers. When data was analyzed, a hefty portion of the workers (75 %) said they work better when they have a close relationship with their colleagues, yet only one-third of the respondents felt their offices provided a physical space for co-workers to interact or collaborate.
This is a bit depressing, especially when you consider that the bulk of current academic models – the ones training our future workforce – place a higher emphasis on collaborative student work than ever before. Modern students leave academia with one work model and often arrive at workplaces that don’t facilitate the way the new generation of workers were trained to learn, brainstorm or present their ideas. Not surprisingly, collaborative workers require spaces that foster collaboration, and a single, large conference room isn’t enough to cut it.
Gensler’s workplace design research has found that:
- Social workplace design should align with a measurable goal (improving morale, foster employee relationships, reduce turnover, increase productivity, foster innovation, etc.).
- Good workplace design includes a combination of employee surveys and on-site observation by the design team, so designers can watch how employees actually move, work and interact in their workplace, yielding a design that is as personalized as possible.
- Office gathering places don’t have to be big and ornate; simple, comfortable niches and alcoves can work just fine when they’re thoughtfully integrated.
There are many ways companies can take an existing workplace and integrate intimate and collaborate work spaces, spaces for quiet or even off-site break, game or lunch rooms for companies who want to maintain a more formal workplace atmosphere.
The good news in all of this? In addition to improving company morale and increasing productivity, your business and brand will become more attractive for the next generation of new hires if it implements a design that fosters positive employee morale. It’s time to get creative!
Contact LS&A Architecture and interiors to begin brainstorming attractive office gathering spaces that make sense for your workplace.