Importance of flexible office design to employees

There are certain basic elements that all workers expect in an office. From comfortable chairs to plenty of storage, these characteristics are considered must-haves. However, beyond these fundamentals, employees are increasingly looking to their offices to meet other criteria - and one of these is flexibility.

A recent survey of 3,500 workers carried out by financial services provider Capital One found that more than eight in 10 respondents identified flexibility as an important element of office design in relation to innovation, collaboration and productivity.

Promoting creative thinking

Nearly nine in 10 of those polled (85 per cent) said they believe flexible workplace design is important. In addition, 83 per cent suggested that they have their best ideas when they are working in flexible spaces. A similar number (80 per cent) stated that they are more productive when they move to a different environment or room while working.

The most desired elements of office design included easily reconfigurable spaces and furniture, collaborative zones, areas for rest and relaxation and bold colours. Natural light was also highly valued, along with artwork and creative imagery.

‘High expectations’

Commenting on the findings, vice president of workplace solutions at Capital One Stefanie Spurlin noted that workers today have “high expectations” in terms of their experience in the office.

She added: “By providing dynamic spaces to accommodate all kinds of work styles, companies can help facilitate the kind of collaboration and innovation that empowers employees to create breakthrough products and solutions for their customers.”

How to bring added flexibility to your workspace

If you’re keen to make your office a more flexible space, here are a few steps you can follow:

Create a breakout area

Consider creating a designated breakout area away from your main office where employees can go to hold discussions with colleagues or simply to have a change of scenery. Take your pick from furnishings such as meeting pods and soft seating units to give this section of your office a distinctive look and feel. You may want to use floor screens to separate the area from the main section of your workspace.

Provide a quiet space

Another top tip is to introduce a quiet area that staff members can retreat to if they want to escape the noise of the main office and work in peace. Think of ways to make this space relaxing. For example, you may want to decorate it in soothing colours such as green or blue to promote feelings of calm and tranquillity.

Introduce hot desking

As well as being an efficient use of space, hot desking can encourage workers to move around the office more. When they don’t have a designated workstation, there’s a greater chance that employees will use their environment in a more fluid way.

It’s clear that flexibility is a priority for many workers now, and by following suggestions like these, you should find it easier to accommodate their preferences. In turn, this could help you to recruit and retain the best talent, while also enhancing productivity among your personnel.

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