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Office Space Design Trends: What To Look For

The workplace is rapidly changing, with the tech industry piloting this shift. In the past 5 years, companies have increasingly focused on employee wellness, retention, and engagement. The end results are more productive employees, lower turnover rates, and a competitive advantage in attracting top talent.

Optimizing the workspace is a crucial aspect of creating a great workplace culture. This doesn’t necessarily mean having bean bags or kombucha on tap, but rather making meaningful, functional changes that work for your business. While it can be hard to wrap your head around investing extra resources into your office space – especially for those in big cities like NYC or LA, where office space can cost up to 80 dollars per square foot – these adjustments will help productivity long-term. In this article, we’ll cover some of the changes that any company can adopt, no matter how conventional. We’ll also go over some fads to stay away from, as well as what measurable results you can expect to see after revamping your workplace structure.

Prioritize Flexibility

Circumstances can change quickly, especially for smaller businesses. If you’re not sure what your organization will look like a year, or even a few years from now, it’s best to prioritize flexibility in all aspects of your commercial real estate needs. Look into turnkey properties or outsourced office management services, which will make for less work for you when your company scales up or down. Additionally, depending on your industry, paying a premium for lease flexibility may be advantageous when compared to a traditional 5+ year lease, which can be risky to take on without a clear snapshot of the future.

After finding the right office space that’s appropriate for your company, make sure your furniture reflects the level of flexibility you’ve chosen. Opt for furniture and workstations that are portable and that require little assembly in order to minimize the hassle of moving.

Be Open, Be Private

Once you’ve chosen your space (or if you’re simply looking to refresh your workplace layout), you’ll need to think about the optimal design for your business. Again, going for what’s trendy is not always the right move. A good example of this is the popularized open floor plan, an arrangement which many modern offices boast. Though they can make for a more collaborative and engaged workplace, they also create more opportunity for distraction. The best way to enhance your office design is to strike a balance between openness and privacy, which encourages productivity.

One way of doing this is to create small workstations with walls no higher than neck height. This setup allows for interaction if desired, but provides relief from distraction and unintentional eavesdropping that occurs in open settings. You may also want to designate dedicated “zones” in your office — collaborators can work in the communal zone, while small groups or individuals can break off into semi-private or private spaces for more distraction-free work or important calls. This ensures that employees have a setting for any need or context that may arise.

Drive productivity and savings through sustainable practices

There are multiple ways to adjust the traditional workplace environment in a way that fosters employee productivity and comfort. People spend the majority of their time at work, so creating a space that employees want to come to is one of the first steps to increasing engagement.

These adjustments don’t have to be extravagant, either — while Google’s offices may have slides and ball pits, for most businesses, a little can go a long way. Simple elements such as lighting and plants can be effective in improving your office design. Sub in softer, lower-watt bulbs and standalone light fixtures to help break up harsh fluorescent lighting. As an additional bonus, using more energy-efficient forms of lighting can help reduce your electricity usage costs.

Another office design element that makes a sizeable impact on your employees’ day-to-day contentment is temperature control. There’s few things more unpleasant than spending 8 hours in either a sweltering or a frigid office. Make sure you’re monitoring your office’s climate — OSHA recommends keeping the office at 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit, which you can adjust seasonally. These minute but effectual details are arguably the most important ones to consider when making updates around the office.

These easy-to-implement tips will help you and your employees get the most out of your office space. Amidst the kegerators and cold brew, tech office trends feature some highly worthwhile design adjustments that may seem small, but have a large impact. And prioritizing company culture and employee engagement will serve your company well in the long run, especially as it relates to attracting and retaining top talent. Culture has become one of the predominant focuses among job-seekers, and having a thoughtfully-designed office space can help seal the deal during the interview process.

Choose your space carefully, and keep your future goals and predictions in mind. How will your space grow with your company? What office space elements will best serve your employees? Answer these questions before signing a lease to make finding and crafting the ideal workspace much easier.

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