There’s no denying that working in an office environment can be insanely tedious. Walled in white boxes with bland colors, unsatisfying layouts and cluttered chaos that doesn’t fuel any employee’s creativity; an office space that lacks character won’t keep any staff happy. Crafting the right workspace can make a massive impact.

Workspaces that are designed with employee peace of mind and productivity as priorities create a healthier and happier environment. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a small business or a larger corporation, there are still a few tricks to create an office space that every employee will love and thrive off. After-work social outings, pizza and beers for the office, and workplace boat days mean nothing if employees aren’t happy in the day-to-day space. Here’s how to design a space that’ll make your staff never want to go home!

1. Create an Open Plan Flow

While there are debates over open-plan offices due to lack of privacy, creating a flow within the space by opening up the layout is great for boosting productivity levels. You can still create designated areas for conference meetings or brainstorm sessions that are private, but open-plan offices are proven for better working environments.

By removing walled-in barriers between employees, colleagues are encouraged to have better workplace interaction. It enables effective communication between staff, supervisors and managers and increases collaboration within the space – ideal for team bonding and great problem solving. Open plan offices are designed to be flexible and suit a variety of working conditions and working styles.

2. Color Me Productive

Color is notorious for boosting those tired productivity levels and creates a huge impact on the way we work. Most office environments tends to stick to bland, neutral colors which can make the working environment feel dull and lifeless. Influencing staff psychologically, the right color scheme in an office lifts communication skills, changes the way we process information and boosts our perceptual judgement process.

Because certain colors are associated with moods, it’s important to use it to your advantage to create a psychological mood or ambience that supports the function of a space. You can do this through the use of accessories within the working environment or a fresh coat of paint. Where possible, try to stick to the corporate colors to be consistent with the business brand.

3. Incorporate Activity-Based Working

A relatively new concept, activity-based working (ABW) is a system that encourages flexibility in the workplace. It’s designed in a way that supports different work activities optimally, rather than putting boundaries around each other’s space. Working hand-in-hand with open plan offices, ABW recognizes the need to attend to tasks in diverse ways. Whilst some require team collaboration, others will require you think creatively or have time-out for those mundane chores.

ABW works by creating office fit-outs or activity zones to cater for the various work needs. It’s a smart system for most corporations because it assists in shaping work employee’s work and commuting patterns to maximize work-family/life balance. Utilizing ABW encourages better concentration, workplace enjoyment and mindful task working.

4. Get at One with Nature

Merging the outside world with inside is a perfect remedy for transforming a space. As simple as incorporating fresh colors into the space, adding potted plants or natural materials in the form of décor can be a quick and cost-effective way to maximize productivity at work. Studies have proven the positive correlation between plants to cognitive attention and happy working environments.

Plants are great to filter the air too, making the office space healthier for staff. Opt for low-maintenance indoor plants that don’t need much light to thrive and this will help remove mold and bacteria from the environment too. Adding a few potted plants and natural décor to the office can also act as a striking focal point for a reception or client area and add a level of pleasing aesthetics to the space.

5. Light it up

While natural light is always best for productivity levels, energy and creativity, it’s not always possible in every office set up. Utilize the natural light options you have by positioning desks or office fit-outs as close to the windows as you can.

If natural light just isn’t an option, opt for indirect light that is soothing and comfortable. You still want ample light so staff aren’t straining to see, however, but avoid harsh lights or anything that shines directly on employees. Instead, use task lighting and LEDs for a better working impact.

6. Friday Fun Space

No office space is going to keep employees 100% content if there’s not a space that utilizes Friday afternoon wind-down time. Although you probably don’t want to encourage it all the time, encouraging staff to participate in Friday afternoon drinks and snacks can be great for team-building and de-stressing from the hectic work week.

Turning the boardroom into a comfortable chill-out space can be ideal or transform a room that isn’t being used. There’s no harm in adding a small wine fridge to the office kitchen, too, if you lay out the ground rules early—chances are, your employees will certainly love you for it and be more than happy to come back the following week!

Author: Jayde Ferguson writes for Interia Systems—the go to place for quality office furniture or fitout options with over 30 years’ experience in office fit-outs and equipment. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

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