Office Zones: 4 Ways to Design For Success at Work
The way that workers interact with their surroundings at the office and the office zones we work in is a major determining factor that affects office productivity; it is now, and it always will be. The mere fact that technology is ever changing at an increasing rate means that the way workers use that technology in their work surroundings will differ from one day to the next. Today’s technology is no less than a fascinating exercise in innovation, one that can transform virtually any space into the workplace, whether that space be on a bus or in a car, a seat at the airport, at home on the sofa, or literally anywhere else. This ever-changing nature of the workplace and office design has made it not only possible, but normal for a casually dressed person with a laptop working out of a coffee shop to be just as professional as her counterpart wearing a three piece suit in a downtown office building.
What does it mean to design an office for today’s workforce diversity?
The modern workplace seems to have an overwhelming number of possibilities when it comes to design intent for workstations, and it’s increasingly evident that office design matters. For one, it is increasingly popular to promote diversity, and to do so in a manner that attempts to be all-accommodating. Second, employers are spending more than ever on learning how to do more with less, and how to keep inventory down, and let’s face it, office furniture is inventory. Third, but certainly not last, there is the seemingly more reasonable approach which is to not only reduce waste, but to increase efficiency, and thus improve productivity. Doesn’t it make sense that the best approach would be a combination of all three approaches, that is to keep employees happy, costs down, and in doing so, create zones that ensure that productivity is at a maximum?
Collaboration zones: Where the brainstorming gets done
Despite today’s trend towards diversity, and the encouragement of individualism, some of the best work in the office still comes from people being people, that is, socializing, and testing out their ideas on each other. In order for this concept to produce actual results that go beyond fostering an environment that encourages comfort in the workplace, the concept must include both motivation for social interaction as well as a motivation for staying focused on work. Designing a workspace to encourage collaboration means making the space open, including amenities, and quiet lounges that give employees a reason to not only communicate and build teamwork, but to communicate about work.
Fun zones in the workplace: More than just a playroom
Workplace energy is critical to keeping employees focused and maintaining momentum on their work. No matter how efficient and dedicated an employee may be, nothing can destroy productivity like employee burnout and fatigue. Fun zones in the workplace can revitalize employees and keep them happy in the workplace, and happiness in the workplace translates to motivation, which in turn translates to productivity. Fun zones give employees a reason to pull themselves away from their office desks long enough to recharge, refresh, and motivate themselves to get back producing.
Quiet zones: Where the work gets done
The quiet zone is where the majority of the work gets done, and it’s imperative that the workplace environment be designed to leverage the time that the employee spends in that space to maximise comfort and efficiency. Soft seating and comfortable, quiet, office fitouts help minimize distractions and keep employees focused on their work. When employees get 80% of their work done in 20% of their workday, the quiet zone is an important part of the overall workplace design.
A place to meet or reflect: Private zones
Sometimes employees just need a place to retreat, reflect on their day, and identify their next steps or have a private conversation. Similar to the fun zone the private zone provides employees with a place that offers an alternative to the day-long monotony of a totally enclosed workplace. While the totally enclosed, private office offers the most privacy and least distraction, an open office plan designed to offer private zones accomplish the required privacy without forfeiting the communication that improves efficiency.