Is it time for a change at your office?

5 questions all companies should ask themselves

Do you feel that the world is changing rapidly and that it is time the same happened at your workplace? At Kinnarps we have regular contact with customers all over the world who are in this type of change process. We have found that there are some key areas that are important to focus on when creating a successful, new office. We have narrowed these down into five questions we feel every company and organisation should ask itself. This is also why we have developed Next Office, a process where we work with you, using extensive research, workshops and analysis to guide you through the process of creating your ideal office - all based on facts.

KINNARPS NEXT OFFICE®

Research, strategy and advice for creating your ideal office

Our Next Office concept consists of many different elements – we lay the foundation for a new workplace that is specially designed for you using concrete tools, workshops and analyzes. An environment that supports the various activities you perform during the day, both when you want to work individually with high focus and when you want to work together.

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1. Are you productive and creative in your office?

What makes the individual co-worker or team feel more productive and what adds to a creative climate? Efficiency and time consumption are indeed factors, but so too are the flow of new ideas and mindsets. Our research1 shows that the office environment can have a significant impact on employees’ job satisfaction, which suggests that an employee-centric workspace solution can be a genuine area of distinctiveness and can therefore play a key role in the employee value proposition. In the workplaces of today, creative and extrovert people who get on well in open plan offices have had the chance to thrive. This has many positive effects, but it is also important to remember the needs of the introverts. Spaces need to be created where everyone in today’s multifaceted workforce can find a balance between distraction and concentration in order to achieve maximum productivity and creativity.

2. Does the office environment encourage collaboration?

One of the ongoing trends that we see is that collaboration is a natural part of today’s workspaces. When creating collaboration settings that work for you, it’s important to start by analysing what kind of needs you have and what your future needs will be. It’s about choosing the right functionality and promoting a climate of creativity. The traditional meeting room can be complemented with informal meeting areas, project spaces, supporting agile working and social areas. It is often when we meet in a different setting, join in a spontaneous meeting or an ad-hoc get-together that creative things happen. Our surveys1 show that people would like see more meeting rooms suitable for groups of six or less, outnumbering larger rooms by a ratio of almost 3:1. Offer a choice of collaboration settings, such as room in a room pods and project spaces, and that ratio more than doubles. The age of the large conference room is being superseded by the era of smaller communication and collaboration hubs.

3. Is the office environment supporting health and wellbeing?

It is about the feeling you have in the morning when you enter work. Do you feel welcome and eager to get on with your day? Health and wellbeing are promoted by factors, such as interior design, which encourages movement, products with good ergonomic features, as well as the climate in the office. If you succeed in creating a working environment for wellbeing, you will also experience happier colleagues and increased productivity. Our research1 findings were alarming. 59% of respondents reported sitting for all or most of the time during the working day; just 8% stand more than they sit. Similarly, 60% leave their desks three times or less each day. 16% do not leave their desks at all. Do you vary between sitting and standing at work? Sitting for long periods is simply not good for our bodies or our productivity. It affects our posture and increases the risk of illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes. With the help of height-adjustable desks, you can change your work position and increase mobility, which in turn improves circulation.  

4. What do the acoustics, lighting and air quality add to the experience of your office environment?

Wellbeing and good ergonomics are so much more than just standing up during the day or sitting correctly. There are many other factors that affect our health, such as sound levels, lighting and air quality. Light has a great effect on us and if we are to work efficiently the quality of the light is important. When it comes to sound, research shows that the acoustic environment affects both how we feel and our productivity. Even at levels of 55 dB, 40% of office workers experience impaired concentration2. Therefore, it is important to see noise as an important part of the whole picture when you furnish an office, whatever the type of solution or type of workplace. Offices with a balanced noise level promote both wellbeing and success. Air quality is also important, since bad ventilation can lower productivity by up to 15%3. How much can you adjust the air, sound and lighting at your office? The key is to look at the whole picture and create a well thought-out working environment.

5. Is your office adapted to your way of working?

Does your workspace support the work you do, the activities you carry out or the meetings you attend? There is no such thing as a general solution for this, every office has to be tailored according to the specific organisation, department or company, depending on your needs, targets and goals. It’s about having the right interior design solution that considers all the functions being performed and creating a variety of settings that support the tasks being carried out, either on an individual, team or group level. The solution must offer time for both focus and collaboration. Is activity-based working something that you can benefit from? Also, does your office reflect your brand, your values and what you believe in? Experiences reported by our survey1 respondents emphatically confirms this. We asked people to imagine having a full toolkit of work settings to choose from and to identify their preferred working environment from a selection of 16 possibilities. Although the personal workstation remained a popular choice, the results were not as conclusive as might have been expected. The findings were reinforced by people’s experience of an agile working environment, in which the amount of time spent working at a personal workstation drops from 58% to just 18%. When alternative working environments are available, people are only too happy to make use of them. Collaborative spaces are particularly sought after.

Sources

1. The Kinnarps Agile Working Insight Reports 2018
2. Hedge, A. The open-plan office: A systematic investigation of employee reactions to their work environment
3. https://www.av.se/arbetsmiljoarbete-och-inspektioner/arbeta-med-arbetsmiljon/dolda-faror-i-arbetsmiljon/#nr1 

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