Helen Ives: Office space tips

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In an ideal world employees wouldn’t want to work from home. The office environment would be so stimulating and accommodating that the challenge would be getting staff to go home. It’s important for businesses to create environments where employees still have the flexibility and ability to seamlessly manage work and their home life. They would never struggle with how to pick up the kids, travel back and forth to work, let in the plumber or find a solitary and comfortable space to tackle more reflective work.

In reality, businesses need to think about the needs of their people and intentionally create work environments that accommodate and unlock the potential of a diverse and empowered workforce. But how is this achieved? Is it a realistic goal on the employer’s behalf?

Here are my top tips on how to improve the office environment and achieve business success:

Adopt the distributed work environment

The office space should give employees the freedom and flexibility to work where and how they need to in order to be most productive. Distributed work environments are characterised by a wide variety of smaller individual and groups spaces with a higher sharing ration. This approach combines space for heads down focus work, formal and informal collaboration of varying durations, and social interaction. In addition to physical space, technology and communication networks play a key role in facilitating distribute and flexible ways of working.

Create community

When workplaces are planned in an open orientation it allows collaboration among employees and promotes the sharing of information and teamwork. By co-locating people who work closely together a business can foster learning, knowledge transfer and help build relationships.

Make the workspace scalable

Use furniture that that is easy to move and reconfigure as teams expand or are restructured. Workstations should be designed on a modular approach using standardised common building components wherever possible. Drop-in work areas will enable employee mobility between locations and easy integration of third party service providers, customers or clients.

Design to foster creativity

Design should foster and inspire creativity, and reflect a business’s persona. At Peer 1 Hosting our brand reflects dreamers, innovators and disruptors, so we have designed our office around that perception.

Natural light is a creative stimulant and should be used as much as possible for as many people as possible.

Become tech savvy

Office designs should incorporate technology solutions that improve communications, reduce business travel and enhance the employee experience and allow for easy adaptation to emerging technologies.

Adopt cost-conscious designs

Standardised workspace configuration and ease of moving systems furniture and storage components will reduce the costs associated with reconfiguring space or moving people. Installation of energy efficient equipment (i.e. lights equipped with occupancy and photo sensors) and consolidation of technical tools, such as printers, photocopiers and scanners into specific number of multi-function devices per floor, will reduce the amount of electricity consumption.

 Helen Ives, Director of People, Peer 1 Hosting 

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