Many employees recently set up temporary home offices . . . and recognized their shortcomings. Now, as organizations welcome employees back to the office, modern office design is being recognized as a priority. What does modern office design look like? What advantages does a modern office space offer to employees and management? How can open plan offices adapt post-COVID?
Modern office design prioritizes flexibility of space and creating environments for employee collaboration. The ideal office design is clean, inviting, incorporates natural light, and leverages technology to further promote connectivity and productivity. For example, shared benching workstations have worked well for many organizations. They facilitate collaboration and employees enjoy the camaraderie they invite. But the new need for physical distancing is a challenge that can be solved with design and furnishings.
Now more than ever, in-office teams need formal and informal spaces that safely allow small groups to meet and feel comfortable. If you have an open office floor plan, creating gathering places may require new furnishings. A small cluster of high-top meeting tables invites employees to gather for stand-up meetings. Seating areas may take the look of a lounge and welcome cross-functional teams to a common place to congregate and share ideas. These spaces should be comfortable for all – seated or standing – and should encourage interaction without feeling crowded.
If your current office design suffers from uneven usage (some areas are overcrowded, others like a ghost town) an updated design could deliver real value. As teams move back to the office creating flexible usage space can help solve immediate space challenges and encourage the relationship building conversations that bring colleagues, in-office and remote, together.
Consider what changes can made to make the most of your square footage. Do not think extremes – hard walled offices with solid doors or rows and rows of cubicles – think flexible spaces. Small window-less conference rooms (with all the charm of an interrogation room) can be combined to create open spaces with or without a door. Incorporate sliding glass panels to serve as translucent white boards and aesthetically pleasing room dividers for this flexible use space. Another design option to consider is the creation of small “quiet zones”. These can be small nooks in your floorplan or take the shape of over-sized phone booths that provide employees with a dedicated space to block out noise and distractions between meetings. These small spaces provide the privacy within the workplace that many employees crave. If you have the square footage, incorporate individual workstations. Physical barriers can help reduce noise as well as provide employees the sense of protection needed in today’s modern office design.
DESIGN IDEAS TO PROMOTE COLLABORATION
Productivity in the modern corporate office means balancing individual work and collaboration time. Walled meeting rooms certainly have their place in modern office design. Materials such as glass give literal as well as figurative transparency to business activity. Depending on your office layout, carving out new meetings rooms can give you the opportunity to update your color palette as well as incorporate natural light. The most important detail of your new conference room: technology. An investment in upgraded technology and wiring will be appreciated by all employees, in-office and remote.
Today’s modern conference room is wired for connectivity and ease of use. The days of “everyone” being in the office for the same work hours, Monday through Friday, appears to be a thing of the past. Businesses must adapt to the ever-growing remote workforce. Adding a remote colleague to an impromptu meeting should not take an IT degree. Strong audio and video are critical to a connectivity, so your modern meeting room design should include a large screen and adjustable lighting. A productive team is a well-connected team, and including colleagues from other offices, those working from home, as well as vendors should be quick and simple.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES FOR YOUR CORPORATE OFFICE DESIGN
Modern office design can be a comfortable blending of old and new. If you are in a historical building, embrace any exposed brick, high ceilings, or unique features your space offers. From there, give a nod to nature with soft colors, material finishes and fabrics. A new conference rook table and fresh coat of paint will not update your entire space, but do not underestimate the value of investing in modern design for your office. Employees, clients, and vendors may be anxious but eager to return to the office. Give them a fresh, welcoming, and well-designed interior to encourage communication, collaboration, and productivity.
REASONS TO INVEST IN A MODERN OFFICE DESIGN
If contemplating an update to a more modern office design for your commercial interior, consider all the opportunities a re-design affords you:
- Improve and equalize usage of your square footage
- Upgrade your office’s interior furnishings
- Reduce and spread out density of employee work zones
- Create new spaces and an environment that supports employee communication and productivity
Let us help. Key Interiors is a full service commercial interior renovation and design, build, project management team. We work with clients to create modern office designs. Contact us today to discuss your project.