In the pursuit of a better work-life balance, businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers are taking a more flexible approach to working – something that has changed the way offices look around the world.
From home workspaces to the elaborate offices in Silicon Valley, a new emphasis on flexible working means they’re designed to help people get more done faster while reducing the stress of the daily grind. If flexible working is central to your professional goals, here’s what your perfect office should probably look like.
Flexible workspaces for better productivity
If you want to spend less time in the office and more of it outside living your life, then hitting the right level of productivity is crucial. This is key principle behind flexible working: creating different spaces that are designed to help you complete a range of tasks more effectively.
UK office design specialists Office Principles has spent the last 25 years researching and implementing flexible working spaces. It says breaking down your office into multiple working environments is the key to maximising productivity.
“By creating different working areas within the office you can ensure your staff have the complete freedom and flexibility to work where they want, when they want.”
This is the same principle behind the office design companies like Google and Facebook have become known for. Sometimes you need to be creative, other times you need to collaborate and there are tasks you simply need to crack on with alone to get them done without distractions.
By designing your office with flexible working in mind, you’re going to create different workspaces designed to help you complete each of your tasks more effectively.
With this approach to office design, you’ve always got the ideal working environment at hand when you need it.
Keep it minimal, invest in decent furniture and flood the place with light
A lot of research has gone into office design over the past few decades and there are a number of key findings that you’ll see in the vast majority of modern workplaces. You’ll also see these in the examples we look at in our other articles on office design.
- Keep it minimal: Minimal design promotes clean, uncluttered spaces and a calm working mind – plus they’re much easier to keep tidy.
- Invest in furniture: Aside from being comfortable you need furniture that encourages good posture and general wellbeing.
- Flood the place with light: Natural light has been found to improve morale and boost productivity.
- Get some plants: Plants and other natural touches are known to boost morale and create a more productive workplace.
- Add touches of wood: Wood is another natural touch that can bring a sense of the outdoors and detract from the keeping of being stuck indoors.
Something else you’ll often see in modern offices is a heavier investment in recreational areas, which is what most people think of when they imagine the Google and Facebook HQs.
Put recreational spaces at the heart of your office
According to research from Office Principles, kitchens are becoming the heart of the modern office space – not only a place for lunchtimes but also meetings and creative sessions.
“This development echoes the trends in interior design, where kitchens are the newfound hubs of domestic life. Startups and progressive corporations are riding the crest of this wave.”
First of all, the idea s to create spaces where people can genuinely relax and get away from work, even for a few minutes on their break. Whether you put in a couple of games consoles, fill a fridge with craft beer or set up a pool table, having a proper recreational space will have everyone coming back from lunch feeling a whole lot better about work.
In terms of the kitchen, giving staff space to prepare a healthy, nutritious meal always beats a trip to the nearest convenience store for a pre-packed sandwich. Encourage people to eat together, provide a comfortable space for them to enjoy their food and keep the kitchen open throughout the day for people to use as a meeting room when they need to chat things out and bounce ideas around.
Finally, make sure the place is kept clean, otherwise it will start to drain more energy than it restores.
Flexible working is about empowering people to do more with less of the stress we normally associate with office life. This is the design principle behind everything we’ve looked at today and it’s the same concept that could transform the way you work (and enjoy your life outside of the office).