From creative tech giants to innovative architect companies, there are brands all over the world which are striving to create a positive workplace environment via their office decors and furnishings. But why is this the case?
Reasons can range from boosting staff morale to gaining a higher level of productivity. Find out why workplace décor can benefit your business and how you can incorporate key interior design trends to enhance your brand.
Why is a ‘fun office’ important for a business?
Do you really need to be playing games, taking part in activities and being surrounded by quirky interior design features in the office? Well, research shows that, to get ahead, you do. The Centre of Economic and Business Research found that absenteeism costs the UK economy £18 billion (approx. $23 billion) in lost productivity, with this figure expected to increase to £21 billion (approx. $26.8 billion) by 2020.
It’s essential to make the workplace a positive, communicative place if you want to keep your staff’s spirits high. Reports suggest that it can even help combat feelings of anxiety or depression. Mental health charity, Mind, conducted a poll of more than 12,000 workers in 2017, which found that 48% of public sector employees and 32% of private sector workers have taken time off their jobs due to mental health issues. Could creating an environment that promotes happiness, staff welfare and communication help staff members discuss worries and issues before they get to the stage where time off is necessary?
It's beneficial to push for workplace positivity, both from an employee perspective and for the business as a whole. The American Psychiatric Association Foundation states that the economic burden of major depression accounts to $210.5 billion each year. Research conducted by Willis Towers Watson calculated the average health care cost per employee per year could be as high as $12,872 for businesses. Considering lost productivity, days taken as sick and the rising economic burden of treating mental health conditions such as depression, it’s easy to see how these costs can quickly build up.
Clearly, there are both personal and financial reasons to support investing in your workplace’s ethos and environment — but where can you get your inspiration?
Innovative office design trends
In 2018, there are some great examples of top-quality office spaces. But you don’t have to be a global conglomerate or billion-pound company to get in on the trend. Here is a selection of some of the best offices in the world and how they work to boost staff morale and productivity.
In the BBC’s north-west base in Salford, UK, you’ll find a maze of futuristic décor. With security guards monitoring the area on Segways and a quirky combination of bold and bright colors, this office creates a sense of innovation and positivity. There’s also a real focus on collaboration at BBC MediaCityUK, with lots of multi-colored ‘thought wheel’ chairs that arch over to encapsulate the seated grouped and plenty of comfy sofas dotted around the entire office for quick chats and spontaneous mind map sessions.
In Toronto, Canada, Corus Entertainment decided to invest £119 million into its headquarters, Corus Quay. Stepping into here in the morning, staff are greeted by giant TVs, board meeting tables inspired by ice hockey, and even a three-storey slide! The designers here have really focused on visual stimulation — swapping the boring for the interesting to boost engagement levels.
You have to see the SelgasCano office in Madrid, Spain, to believe it. Built half submerged in the ground to make the office cooler in summer and warmer in winter, staff are presented with stunning views of the sprawling, tranquil forest every day. As vast open spaces and natural environments often inspire calm and relaxation, this is a nice touch from the designers.
While the American office for Google is well-known for its quirky design, have you witnessed their Zurich base? Here, staff get free massages and a wine cellar. What’s more, the site is cleverly located near the beautifully peaceful Lake Zurich, making it ideal for mind-clearing nature walks during work breaks. Clearly, thought has gone into de-stressing!
It appears that relaxation isn’t the only important aspect for Google staff, but socialization is crucial, too. At 5pm, employees reportedly head to the office bar for drinks, snacks and a catch-up with their peers!
The £3 million offices for money.co.uk in Cirencester, UK, deliver a truly unique and quirky décor.
With a gym, games room, cinema, and offer of free food; the emphasis is on fun at this workplace. When it comes to inspiring productivity and communication, the informal seated areas and open-plan design create a sense of inclusivity and participation — perfect for getting the most out of team meetings and encouraging all staff members to voice concerns and suggestions. Oh, and did we mention it’s a castle?
Innovative office design trends
The scope is clearly huge when it comes to ways in which to create a positive working environment to encourage productivity, happiness and communication among staff. So how can you translate some of these inspiring creative ideas and apply them to your own office? Here are some top tips for creating a positive and collaborative environment that your staff will enjoy.
1. Make your meeting rooms inclusive and interactive
If it’s key for your company to encourage team development, it’s essential that you choose the correct meeting room design. Instead of drab, small, stuffy rooms; create a selection of spruced-up spaces featuring comfy furniture and big, circular tables to help everyone relax and get involved.
2. Invest in positive colors
Do you want to promote positivity? Warm and ‘happy’ colors, such as orange and yellow, can do just this, so consider painting your office or purchasing furniture in these shades. According to research, blue and green promote relaxation and calm, so perhaps make your communal zones these shades to help staff unwind on their breaks.
3. Create spaces for relaxation
No matter how small your office space is, there’s always room to create a ‘time-out’ zone. A few comfy chairs and perhaps a selection of books and magazines will suffice. If possible, you could hook up a TV or even buy a table football.
4. Go ‘open plan’
Try to make your office an open plan space in order to promote communication. As Steve Jobs once said:
“Ideas don’t happen in the boardroom, they happen in corridors.”
Install low dividers instead of walls so that people don’t feel segregated — this can even cut the cost of construction and office equipment.
5. Utilize visuals
Avoid the same old plain walls by adding artwork. Customize posters and canvases to drive home your company’s mission statement and show all your staff that they are working towards a collective goal every day.
6. Make it unique
Of course, your space doesn’t necessarily have to be as quirky as the examples stated earlier. However, try to choose furnishings and a décor that is personal to your brand and its workforce. Why not let staff customize their desks? This may help them feel more valued and they could bring in items that inspires or calms them during stressful days.
You don’t have to splash the cash on trips abroad. But, that’s not to say you can’t treat your staff to something now and then to keep up morale. Anything from free snacks in the communal kitchen to a quarterly team-building exercise outdoors will work towards creating a positive workplace culture that shows employees that you appreciate their efforts.
Author: Jamie Roberts is copywriter at Mediaworks