How to create an empowering office layout

Office & Culture

Office space is a tool that can be used to transform and improve your company. Here’s some tips for creating an empowering workspace for your staff.

There have been a variety of quirky office fads that have caught on in recent years. We’ve seen swings, slides, bikes, hammocks and office grass. Fast-growing tech companies, like Google, lead the way in this area. By building cool office features, they hope to build their image as a fun place to work and attract new talent. The competition between companies for the coolest office space is fierce.

But while these office installations have a certain wow-factor, they don’t really aid in the growth of employees. They might provide some entertaining moments, but in the long run they are likely to end up forgotten and unappreciated like last year’s trendy must-have toys.

But what really matters? What can employers do to benefit their staff in the long term?

By creating an office space that empowers employees, employers will enable them to create, collaborate and produce really great work. And ultimately, a work environment that empowers people to do their best will benefit everyone. Staff will prosper and have a higher level of job satisfaction, while the business overall will benefit from better outputs.

Here are some things to consider when trying to create an empowering work environment.

Do your research

It’s important to take time to do your research when it comes to planning a new office space. Don’t just dot some flower pots and books around the office and hope for the best, when there are plenty of resources out there.

Don’t get bogged down debating whether an open office space or separate cubicles would be best. Remember, most office space strategies have already been tried and tested. If you want to empower your employees, you will be able to find an office layout strategy that has been proven to have that effect.

Office space is a tool that can be used to transform and improve your company. A lot of effort goes into hiring staff, but investing in workspaces will maximise your ability to keep them onboard.

Talk to your staff

Understanding your own organisation is key to planning an office revamp. The more you know about your company’s culture and values, the easier it will be to create the perfect work environment for employees. For this reason, there is no one-size fits all approach when it comes to designing an empowering office layout. What works for one company won’t necessarily work for another.

Workspaces should reflect the values and goals of a company. If something motivates and drives the people working in your office, then it should be be featured or represented there.

If you are a company that values your staff’s health and wellbeing, then your office space should reflect this. If you are a company that cares about the environment, you should provide a workspace that is as sustainable as possible.

Zurich Insurance Group are one company that makes sure to invest in research before changing up its office environment. When redesigning its North American headquarters in the Chicago suburbs, it investigated the firm’s culture, values, brand and future aspirations.

The company crowdsourced ideas from its employees and included some of them in the new building. Staff showed a preference for an environment filled with natural light, collaborative spaces and desks for both standing and sitting.

Zurich has started including some of these features in its other offices and in 2015 when it began looking at building a new complex in England, it teamed up with academics at the University of Cambridge to consult staff.

Once the research is done, you can make educated decisions about your office layout strategy.

Allow for collaboration

Again people often put a lot of work into hiring the best employees they can find. If you have a couple of creative geniuses in your office, you want them to be able to connect with each other and collaborate, even if they work on different floors.

When redesigning its offices in Illinois, educational company Follett Corporation surveyed its staff and found that a quarter of employees couldn’t see any other team members from their seat.

Using these insights for their grand design, Follett set about creating a collaborative environment. The company brought its three building together and at the centre of each floor created a flexible working space to encourage communication and collaboration between all its employees.

Don’t be afraid to change things up

Hot desking has become very popular with many modern office spaces. Thanks to Wi-Fi and laptops, people no longer find themselves chained to their desk. They can move around more easily and some businesses have embraced this by getting rid of desk assignment. Everyone sits where they want each day.

Companies like Accenture and Deloitte have embraced this approach. At Deloitte’s offices in Amsterdam, around 2,500 workers share 1,000 desks and this works for them. Again, it has the benefits of increasing the staff interaction and collaboration.

Earphone company Skullcandy have taken this to another level at their international office in Zurich, where the desks are designed like jigsaw pieces so that they can be completely rearranged at will. So staff can decide in the moment whether they want to sit alone or work collaboratively.

At Glandore, we have a culture of caring for the people working in our office space. We have created a working environment that encourages collaboration and innovation.

If you would like to find out more about us and how we can help your business grow, get in touch here. Our serviced offices in Dublin and Belfast could be just what you need.

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