Getting the max from your office space?

11 May 2012 by Sarah Leembruggen.

Creativity is inspired by environment and so innovative office design is a must if you want to get the most from your people. Out go the grey padded cubicles familiar to the cult US film Office Space and in come hot desking and collaborative working, around ergonomically designed desks, in sustainable spaces… some of which wouldn’t look out of place in Willy Wonker’s Chocolate Factory.

The office is now anything from a converted bank, to a railway station; it’s got a juice bar, a pinball machine, or even a lawned picnic area. It has specially selected finishes and evocative textures. Carl Jung, the grandfather of colour psychology studied how mood and behaviour is affected by colour, and we know it’s a principal that’s widely used in office refurbs.

So, why do the world’s most profitable businesses invest so much money, design and science into their offices? Because a happy team is a productive team, and a pleasant working space creates a positive office culture. And a strong sense of office culture generates a sense of positive employee value and inclusion. This in turn will increase productivity, reduce sickness and absenteeism and send morale through the roof.

The shape and feel of the office is a reflection of the business and its brand; take Google, Microsoft, Skype and Facebook, as a clutch of tech firms that understand the power of a great workspace (among other things).

Desk allocation used to be a case of, ‘dust it off - it’s yours’. Not now. Microsoft in Amsterdam has been much discussed in the design sector. Everyone hot desks, something made possible by open plan working and new technology. And since its introduction the company has saved on costs while boosting productivity. In other firms, teams are carefully placed together in small enclaves. Meetings are held in booths or pods, often standing and more recently walking meetings. Caterina Fake, the Co-Founder of Flickr says: “Interaction should be constant, not crammed into meetings once a week. You just turn around in your chair and bounce an idea off one of the other 10 people in your office. Keep the floor plan open so people can talk to each other. As the company gets bigger, keep dividing it into smaller and smaller groups.” She advocates following the Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos’s two-pizza rule: Project teams should be small enough to feed with two pizzas.

Do you work in an uber cool office? Send us a pic and tell us why it works for you @theworksrecruit.

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