Many workplace design trends are currently circulating, and these trends lend to improved employee engagement and increased productivity levels. Newer and more modern workplace design can mean a drastic difference in the way the work day goes and can change the way people work together.
Therefore, it is essential to know what your employees need and want, so you can ensure that they are performing at their best and have higher morale. The days of closed in and isolated cubicles are a thing of the past. Now we welcome a more collaborative and open workplace design for employee engagement and retention.
Why is Workplace Design Shifting?
Workplace design trends are evolving due to shifts in demographics, the increasing use of technology in the workplace, a shortage of talented and qualified employees, financial factors, and data from analyses that discovered how design affects their employees.
All of these factors came together to show us the need for a workplace design that can keep up with the employees and stay in line with the way business is growing and evolving.
Flexible and Focused Design
Having a flexible and more focused workplace design allows the space to become easily adaptable for the employees. It also allows for room to improve when it comes to the constantly changing needs of the company or the needs of the next big project.
For a more interactive setting, having a comfortable and open place for employees to meet and discuss projects is a good way to encourage a social and team-based environment. Have furnishings that come together and work in the space and are easy to move around.
Having an activity-based design means that you are effectively creating a more collaborative environment that provides functional spaces for employees to gather. While you still maintain private office space and conference space, you are also providing an open and inviting space. Having a mix of all these will ensure that you have a functional and versatile space that works for everyone’s needs.
These designs are typically modular, just like the flexible design already mentioned. It is a way to have a multipurpose workstation that is easy to access and can be moved to any location that is desired. It can combine the conference room with the open and collaborative environment if needed.
Finally, when you come up with a more interactive workplace design, you are also finding ways to improve movement and ultimately improve the wellbeing of your employees. Sit-stand desks are great to include in a workplace because they encourage movement and physical activity. Movement can also encourage productivity, boost energy levels, and reduce stress.
If the workplace is not adequately and appropriately utilized, then you may see rising costs and unforeseen expenses. You may find that you have space that is being wasted or you may not have enough space to do what you need to do. Either way, it can cause problems that can be easily avoided with the right workplace utilization metrics in place.
Find a More Efficient Use for the Space
You want to make sure that every available square foot of space in your office building is being utilized as much as possible. Doing so can help provide a more agile work environment that is more conducive to improved productivity.
When you walk through the office, what do you see? Are there vacant desks or unused office furniture or machines cluttering the space? If so, will removing them provide you with the opportunity to use the space for something more important?
Encourage Collaboration and Creativity
When you have an office space that is utilized properly, then you will find improved collaboration among the employees and increased levels of creativity. Make sure you have comfortable and open areas the employees can gather to discuss new strategies or other work-related tasks.
Do you have a meeting room available for private gatherings or to provide a more isolated and quiet environment? Having these things all show that you are using your office space effectively so that it suits the needs of your employees.
Finally, if you have a space that is utilized to its fullest and provides a comfortable, balanced, and flowing work environment, then employees are more likely to stick around. A modern and comfortable aesthetic can encourage employees to be their best and perform at optimal levels.
Measuring Workplace Utilization
Now that you understand the importance of proper workplace utilization, you need to know how to measure it.
To measure, you need to answer the following questions:
- How often is each space in the office used and what percentage of the space is often occupied?
- What are the times and days that these areas are being utilized the most?
- Are there times when certain areas are not used at all during the week or the day?
- Each desk should have an employee- how many empty desks do you currently have?
- How often are your shared spaces being utilized? For example, conference rooms.
Answering these questions will give you a better idea about how each space in the office is used so you can come up with a plan to make these spaces more effective or eliminate these spaces to make room for more productive areas such as a seating area for clients or worktables for a more open and collaborative environment.
Cleanliness etiquette is a concept that can be easily lost on some people, but it is an important concept that every employee in a workplace environment should adopt to help ensure a clean and functional environment for a more positive workday experience.
Do You Often Eat at Your Desk?
Have you found yourself sitting at your desk, frantically trying to finish up your work, so it is done properly and on time, but you also find that you will need to have a “working lunch” in order to do so? Then you may make the decision to eat at your desk to eliminate losing any valuable time.
But, when you eat at your desk, what you do with the garbage and discarded food products? Do you throw them into your waste bin at the desk or dispose of them elsewhere? The office trash can is not meant for this kind of garbage.
Proper etiquette says if you are going to eat at your desk, then you need to dispose of the trash in a designated trash can that is appropriate for this kind of waste- such as the breakroom trashcan.
Clean and Declutter Your Workspace
Most offices have a cleaning company that comes in at the end of the day to clean up the office. Proper etiquette teaches us that we should clean off our workspaces and declutter as much as possible, so the cleaning company can wipe down the desk and other areas without running into a bunch of obstacles along the way.
Working While Sick
Several of us have probably gone into the office even though we weren’t feeling at our best. So, while we think we are looking like the model employee that can suck it up and still do the work, we are actually putting others in the office at risk for the same sickness.
The office should be a clean, healthy, and safe environment for everyone. If you are feeling sick, then proper precautions should be taken to help keep everyone else healthy. Wearing a mask to cover your face, for example, is good to do if you can’t miss work and have to be there instead of staying home. You will keep the germs to yourself.
Following workplace etiquette regarding cleanliness can definitely help ensure that the workplace environment is a clean and positive environment for everyone. When everyone feels at their best, you will also see a boost in morale and productivity.
With the many advancements in technology and the evolution of the internet, we see several ways that artificial intelligence (AI) can drastically change the future of workplace productivity. The digital transformation that AI awards us will change the way we do business and interact with clients and ultimately change the way we operate as a company.
What is AI?
AI makes it possible for machines to learn and adjust to performing tasks that were set aside for humans to perform. Technologies like deep learning and natural language processing help make this possible, and when programmed, the data and patterns can be used to train so that machines can continue to accomplish these tasks.
AI can achieve accuracy because of image classification and object recognition and can adapt through progressive learning algorithms, can add intelligence to already existing products, and can also automate repetitive learning and discovery through data.
How AI Improves the Workplace
When you need to analyze data on a larger scale, AI makes this easier to accomplish. AI can even detect certain patterns that the human eye may miss.
AI also means advances in the marketing segment of a company as they can build digital experiences and harness improved communication efforts between the company and its customers.
It is also being used to secure the digital workplace by providing different ways to secure devices and information by requiring more involved recognition steps such as face validation and fingerprint scanning.
Finally, meeting ergonomics can also see major improvements when AI is implemented in the workplace, meetings become more productive and engaging because of the ability to use video so even if you are not in the office, you do not have to miss a meeting.
The Future of AI
With the advances being made to digital platforms and the implementation of AI, the future for the workplace is bright. AI can help effectively eliminate busywork so that our employees can focus on bigger and more important tasks and we can place ourselves in a better position to engage with our customers on a more regular basis through the use of Chatbots.
We will also see the decline of human errors because AI can pull from several databases filled with information at any time. However, as humans, we are more prone to making mistakes and causing errors that may take even more work and time to correct.
The quality of the air in the workplace is important because it can affect the health, comfort, and performance of the employees that are indoors all day. To ensure that the air quality in your office building is at exceptional levels, it is critical that you do not overlook cleaning the ventilation and ceiling tile areas of the workplace.
Not only will cleaning these areas improve the air quality for the employees, but it can also help extend the lifetime of the ceiling tiles and ventilation system when they are maintained, cleaned, and kept up with. This can ultimately save the company money and a few headaches in the long run.
The ventilation system is vital to the office building because it is what determines the quality of the air the employees are breathing in. A few contaminants that can affect the air quality include CO2 from people breathing, perfume, body odors, dust, fiberglass particles, and microorganisms or even mold. All of these contaminants can have a very negative effect on the air the employees breathe in and can cause sickness and other health problems when exposed for too long.
Even something as innocent as new furniture or a fresh coat of paint can cause a decline in the air quality because of the gases that are released such as formaldehyde.
Ceiling tiles directly above our heads are also caused for concern and should be cleaned regularly because of all the dust and contaminants that could settle here as well. Not only will dirty ceiling tiles cause the same adverse reactions as poor ventilation, the lighting for the office may also be affected.
What Can You Do?
To combat the negative effects of poor air quality in the office, you can follow a few of these cleaning tips regularly to stay ahead of the problems. Also, hiring an experienced cleaning company to come in a perform a more in-depth and deeper cleaning of the office is also a good idea because sometimes it may be hard to find time in between all the other required office tasks to get the cleaning done the right way.
1. Vacuum regularly. Try using a vacuum that contains a HEPA filter, has strong suction, and is equipped with a rotating brush. Go over the same areas more than once to ensure a deeper clean and don’t neglect the baseboards and furniture. Dust from ceiling tiles could always come loose and settle on all the different surfaces in the office.
2. Keep the humidity levels at between 30 and 50% to help prevent dust mites and mold.
3. Make sure to clean the vents and remove any dust and debris
4. Wipe down the light fixtures
5. Use a damp cloth to wipe down dirty ceiling tiles
And as already recommended, hiring a professional cleaning company is a good idea because they have the tools and resources that are needed to accomplish a much deeper clean of the office including the vents and ceiling tiles.
Creating a collaborative work environment also means you are setting yourself up for a more successful work environment. Collaboration in the work environment means that the employees can communicate and work together in a more focused environment, so they can put their heads together to come up with great ideas, rather than always working alone.
The following are just a few tips and tricks you can use in the workplace to make the environment more collaborative and creatively driven.
Encourage More Innovation
When encouraging innovation, you are basically encouraging your team to brainstorm ideas and talk freely amongst themselves about a project or upcoming project. They can talk through any obstacles they may be faced with and can come up with creative ideas.
It encourages team members to speak up and express their ideas and creativity which makes them feel more connected and invested in the project and company.
Build a More Cohesive Environment
When you provide a collaborative environment for your employees, you are giving them the opportunity to improve their communication skills and initiate meetings in which they can gain any help or insight they may need.
This improved level of communication can help improve the workflow and can lead to successfully accomplishing more goals and tasks throughout the day.
A collaborative environment also means the unique opportunity to identify and leverage the strengths of each employee. This means you can assign tasks to the right person and know that since it plays to their strengths, it will be done properly and successfully.
Build a Sense of Community
Finally, a collaborative environment is a good way to build a sense of community and respect within the workplace. Employees will have the chance to get to know each other better which can help improve communication and performance by helping maintain more of a personal focus.
If you choose to create a collaborative work environment and follow these simple tips, then you are well on your way to fostering a more creative and communicative environment. Be consistent with your efforts, and you will reap the benefits.
The break room in the office may very well be one of the most overlooked areas to clean, even though it is also one of the most frequented areas for employees. The break room is where you receive a bit of a reprieve from the everyday grind from your job, so why wouldn’t you want it to be a clean and organized space that is both welcoming and inviting?
The following are just a few tips to help clean the office break room.
Organize the Fridge
As anyone who has worked in an office can tell you, the break room fridge is one of the dirtiest spots in the entire kitchen because it often seems to be a dumping ground for unwanted and forgotten food and Tupperware containers.
However, if you organize the fridge and everything has a place, then it is more likely that people will keep it this way and food items won’t be pushed to the very back to be forgotten and left to rot.
Also, you should encourage the employees not to keep their lunch in the fridge contained in a plastic bag. This is also another way items get discarded and forgotten about in the break room fridge.
Always Have Cleaners on Hand
Just as you would always want to make sure there was hand soap in the bathroom, you will also want to make sure that employees have access to hand soap, dish soap, and other cleaning agents in the break room as well. When these items are handy, it is more likely that they will use them to wipe down counters, wash the dishes they use, and keep the break room clean and hygienic.
Don’t Forget the Coffeemaker and Microwave
Two of the most used appliances in any office break room would have to be the coffeemaker and the microwave. But how often can you honestly say these two items are cleaned and disinfected? Everyone in the office touches these items on a daily basis, so it is important that they get cleaned and wiped down to kill any germs or bacteria.
Additionally, the coffee maker should be cleaned regularly to help eliminate any stains or lime deposits from forming. If the microwave has some tough, baked on residue; place a cup of water in there and heat it up for several minutes. The steam from the water will help loosen any stuck-on particles and will make the microwave much easier to clean.
If you follow a regular cleaning schedule and everyone in the office participates, then the break room will be a much cleaner and more sanitary retreat that everyone will enjoy and be able to use to the fullest.
Regular cleaning of the carpet in the office can effectively remove stains, dirt, and debris and can help protect the carpet from wear and tear and damage and extend its lifespan. It is also recommended that in addition to the regular cleaning and maintenance, you employ a commercial cleaning company to professionally clean the carpets at least once every six months.
In the meantime, the following are just a few tips you can employ in the workspace to ensure that you and the employees are able to tread the office carpet for longer:
Utilize Rugs at the Entrance
The main entrance of the office is the busiest place and sees the most traffic. To help protect the carpet and make it last a bit longer, it is a good idea to use a rug or a mat at the front entrance to catch the dirt and debris that tags along.
Rugs and mats may also cut down on the amount of time you spend vacuuming the office because they will catch much of the debris before it hits the main carpet in the office.
Protect the Carpet from the Furniture
Protecting the carpet from damage incurred by the furniture is also important. Using mats to place the chairs on can help maintain the carpet and will cut down on the risk of damage from the chair rolling and pulling the carpet fibers.
Freshen the Carpet
As mentioned earlier, regular professional cleaning at least twice a year is a good way to keep the carpet looking new and also does a lot in the way of refreshing it and making it smell fresh and clean. If you have a busier office environment, then you may want to consider having the carpet cleaned more than just twice a year.
Regular Daily Maintenance
Other than the tips above, it is also important to vacuum the carpet daily to keep it looking its best. It also prevents any of the dirt or debris from settling deep into the carpet which may make it harder to clean later.
If you find that you are short on time during a typical business day but want to make sure the carpet cleaning and maintenance is not overlooked, then hiring a professional cleaning company would be in your best interest and will ensure that the carpet stays looking new and fresh for many years.
The overall design of the workplace is important when it comes to employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. Every business should strive to design a workplace that encourages their employees to think outside of the box and be a bit more creative and involved in what is going on in the business.
More People are Working Remotely
Today, we see quite an increase in the number of employees that are working remotely, rather than in the office at their desk or assigned workplace. Mobility is fast becoming one of the biggest trends that is influencing workplace design.
With that being said, the design of the office needs to be conducive for remote workers. Meaning, it needs to be a flexible and organized workspace that is inviting to remote workers when they come into the office, so they know where everything is, and they do not feel out of place. This will encourage them to visit the office more, while still maintaining the convenience and mobility of working remotely.
A flexible and organized workspace also makes it easier for employees from other departments to come in and get done what needs to be done without the stress or hassle of not having exactly what they need.
Create More Activity Based Workstations
If you are able to create more activity-based workstations, you can definitely boost productivity and engagement in the office. These workstations are open for use by every employee as a shared space in which they can also work together and collaborate on projects.
They also make a good place for last minute meetings or an individual workspace if one is needed with short notice. They provide a versatile space that everyone can find an appropriate use for.
Ensure Good Lighting
Lighting is also an essential component when it comes to the overall design of the workplace. Artificial lighting can even lead to diminished levels of productivity and can even induce fatigue. Offering more natural sunlight in the way of windows can drastically improve morale, and the sensory change can have a positive effect on workplace productivity.
Attention to Acoustic Details
Finally, paying close attention to the acoustic details of the office design are also important for optimal performance and well-being in the workplace. Some employees may prefer a quiet place they can retreat to for work and thinking so being able to provide this space for them is essential.
Additionally, you want an office design that will not disturb others. For example, you don’t want your meeting room to overtake the remaining workspaces because it shifts the focus of their work when they are distracted by the volume of the meeting.
As an office manager, you are tasked daily with many jobs that require a fair amount of your attention and dedication to ensure that the business runs smoothly and seamlessly. You are also tasked with overseeing employees and making sure that their work is also being completed properly and in the appropriate timeframes.
Having all this responsibility on your shoulders leaves very little time to pay any attention to the smaller details of office life, such as the cleaning and housekeeping of the work environment. This is where outsourcing janitorial services for the office may be more beneficial than you think.
It is a Cost-Effective Solution
Outsourcing janitorial services is a cost-effective solution for a business because you do not have to hire or train other employees to do this work which also means that you save on benefits. The outsourced company provides the people to clean without hurting the bottom line of the business.
Significant Changes in the Cleanliness of the Business
When the cleaning and janitorial services are outsourced, you will also see a significant improvement when it comes to the overall cleanliness you see in the space. A cleaning company dedicates their time to these important housekeeping tasks that other employees may do hurriedly due to lack of time.
Eliminate Other Issues
Not having to rely on your employees to complete the janitorial tasks also means that you can successfully eliminate a variety of other issues that may arise. Having to shift the focus of the employees work to complete cleaning tasks may take their focus off what needs to be done.
Doing so may also lead to rushed and poor cleaning and maintenance jobs being done on the property which can potentially lead to sickness or other workplace hazards and injury.
Find a Reliable Company
Outsourcing these services is in the best interest for the business and can drastically free up your time to place more focus and emphasis on the overall goals of the company, rather than making sure that the environment is clean and orderly.