12 Fresh Approaches To Designing a Modern Workplace
What is one thing companies need to account for when designing a modern workplace?
To help your company redesign its workspace into a more modern environment, we asked business leaders and HR experts this question for their best redesign tips. From investing in common areas to rethinking desk spaces, there are several tips that may help you turn your drab office into the perfect modern workplace.
Here are 12 tips for designing a modern workplace:
- Invest In Common Areas
- Focus On Creativity
- Make It Dynamic
- Keep Team Collaboration in Mind
- Adjust PTO Plans
- Invest in Technology
- Prioritize Natural Light
- Enhance Company Culture
- Create Adaptive Environments
- Implement Full Kitchens
- Appropriately Space Desks
- Offer New Benefits
Invest In Common Areas
Offices have come a long way since high-walled cubicles, but I still see modern companies not investing enough in common areas for their employees. A simple table and chairs are not enough. I should want to spend time here even when I'm not eating lunch, and there are so many better options! I’d love to see modern workplaces have common areas with standup desks, multiple tables for breakout groups and meals, entertainment like a TV or foosball table, and anything other than just chairs (I’m thinking couches). Setups like this will pay off in spades as employees will find excuses to use them for both work and relaxing.
Focus On Creativity
Post-COVID, I would say the culture within a workspace is shifting more towards creating a space designed for creativity and spontaneity rather than having rows of desks. If I were to set up an office today, I would encourage home-working and have a central office with break-out spaces and large meeting rooms with whiteboards and rooms for brainstorming.
Make It Dynamic
Dynamic meaning a positive environment, full of energy, where new ideas are encouraged and welcomed, and change is not feared. Leaders can facilitate a dynamic culture at work by encouraging team members to engage with one another to evaluate current issues, ideas, and problems. Leaders can host listening sessions, focus groups, and round tables to collaborate and facilitate organized, creative problem-solving. In 2020, we learned that being flexible and open to change is a valuable attribute and attitude. This need to continue to ebb and flow with the world as it comes at us is not going away any time soon. Let's embrace it!
Keep Team Collaboration In Mind
When designing a modern workplace, it's a good idea to keep team collaboration in mind. With so many projects relying on the input of several different employees, creating a space that makes it convenient for them to work together in the same area can make employees more relaxed and at ease, leading to higher productivity levels. Also, pay attention to the decor, and include colors that spark the imagination, such as shades of orange and yellow.
Adjust PTO Plans
A modern workplace considers the needs of the individual employee. The reality is, since the COVID19 pandemic, things have changed. Many are juggling new responsibilities and have had to adopt a new normal. For some, that includes homeschooling children, becoming permanent caretakers for family, addressing new health concerns, etc. The strict 9–5 in-office model will likely no longer work for many members of the workforce. In order to retain employees and foster an environment of support, employers should consider reworking their PTO plans, offering employees the opportunity to set their own hours, and coming up with a hybrid in-office/remote model that is sustainable.
Invest in Technology
The main thing is technology because the modern workforce is more reliant on technology than ever before. Smart businesses put this fact to use by leveraging technology to make their workplaces more efficient, flexible, and collaborative. Tech tools like virtual desktops and AI-powered virtual assistants make it easier than ever for many employees to conduct their work from home or wherever else they happen to be. Technology provides the tools to foster a more cohesive and collaborative work environment. Tools like Slack, Trello, and SharePoint offer a platform for a wholly modern workplace in which communication, collaboration, and project management are rolled together into an instantaneous package. By introducing connectivity technologies into your workplace, you empower your employees to be more flexible, engaged, and team-oriented than ever.
Caroline Lee, CocoSign
Prioritize Natural Light
When designing a modern workplace, it is important to always take note of the natural light that comes into your office and make the most of it. Natural light can help a space feel more modern, uplifting, and motivating for your employees. Even if you do not get a ton of natural light into your space, you can amplify it by incorporating lighter colors and mirrors into your design.
Enhance Company Culture
People will tell you it's an open floor plan, a ping pong table, or something ridiculous like that. But really it's just things that are well designed. By this, I mean murals on the wall that look great, company branding all around to make people feel like they are truly part of a team, and great snacks/drinks, of course. Really you just want to design a place that enhances company culture. A place where people want to take pictures during their lunch break to showcase the job they're proud to work at.
Create Adaptive Environments
Organizations need to be able to adjust quickly to an evolving workplace. In the COVID-19 era, this may mean adapting company culture and HR practices to reflect the shift in more employees working from home or in a hybrid model. Making compliance training and other programs easily accessible on any device helps organizations maintain a safe, respectful and productive work environment and successfully adapt to changes, inside and outside the workplace.
Implement Full Kitchens
In the past, it may have been enough for an office to have a small kitchenette. Now, it is important for modern offices to have a full kitchen. Your staff may have specific food requirements, and so the ability to cook will allow them to fulfill these requirements more easily. A kitchen can also promote healthier eating, which is a win for everyone.
Appropriately Space Desks
Post pandemic, having desks appropriately spaced is going to be very important. If your staff can't socially distance when required, staff will have to work from home if there is another outbreak. When designing a modern workplace, this will have to be considered. I'm not sure that "hot desking" will be as popular moving forward!
Offer New Benefits
Remote work made many employers rethink their benefits structure. After the initial uncertainty, remote employees got used to the new normal and were, in most cases, able to deliver on their pre-pandemic goals. Most of them see the positive effects on their work-life balance and want to continue working remotely or semi-remotely after the pandemic. To stay attractive as an employer, companies will need to find creative ways to motivate their staff by offering new benefits. Free coffee in the office or fruits on Friday won't be enough. It might be a commute time counted in working hours, more PTO days, reimbursed commute, or a pay rise for those that need to come back to the office full-time. The key lies in engaging in dialogue with your employees and continuously putting their ideas into practice.