The Changing Physical Work Environment

The way we work has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. Today, many so-called office workers don’t work in a traditional office, don’t work traditional hours, and don’t want a traditional desk setup. That has led to many new ideas in the way office space is designed.

Here are some trends and ideas you may want to consider for your company.

Consider an open office environment. You almost certainly are aware that the hip new start-ups tend to have an open office, meaning that workers are housed in one big, open room, rather than everyone having their own office. This can work for a lot of businesses, and often means you can occupy a smaller footprint, thereby saving money on rent.

However, you can’t simply tear down the walls and put everyone in a big square room. Open offices tend to be noisy, and there have been studies showing that they decrease productivity – clearly not what you’re looking for. The key is to offer opportunities for privacy – places for heads-down quiet work, small meeting rooms, and even “phone booths” for telephone calls.

Depending on the nature of your work, “hoteling” could be an option. Hoteling is the practice of not having an assigned desk for every employee. Instead, employees sign in for a desk on the days they come into the office. This often works for sales teams and consultants who are out on the road or who frequently are working onsite with a client; do they really need a fulltime desk if they’re only sitting there once a week? A similar option is utilizing co-working spaces, especially for remote teams in far away markets that your company is just moving into.

Provide employees the option of standing desks. It’s been said that “sitting is the new smoking.” In other words, sitting at a desk all day every day is generally not good for someone’s health. Employers are combatting this in many instances by providing standing desks – desks at which an employee has the option of sitting or standing.

Keep the office clean and well lit. This might not be a new trend, but it’s important to remember – your employees want to work in an environment that’s tidy and neat. Most experts believe that a clean, well-decorated office increases interactions between workers and helps to increase overall productivity.

Today’s workers are far more mobile in their careers than previous generations. This raises the expectation of being able to provide a great work environment; if your company doesn’t create a great space in which to work, chances are that your employees will start looking for somewhere else to work.

That means that paying attention to the new demands of physical work environments isn’t just a nice thing to do for your employees. It’s smart business.

Contact us at 215.441.4600 or Email if you have questions or would like to discuss how this topic may impact your business.

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