Outside the home, people spend more time at work than any other space. The average full-time employee spends over 8 hours a day working or commuting to work. With so much of our daily activities consumed by work, these spaces must add value to our daily lives. An excellent office space is productive, functional, adaptive, and inviting. These factors put together, create an engaging place that people want to work. How do you know if your workspace is actually working for you?

1) Office spaces should stimulate work.

An open desk floor is distracting for high-performing individuals tackling complex problems, while a tight office stifles collaborative brainstorming sessions. The spaces must function for the task at hand and not inhibit the daily activities. Think adaptive furniture that can group together or wheel apart, moving walls to open up spaces or provide privacy, or designated areas for certain types of activity levels. Give workers some flexibility to choose where they are working on a given task. Noise level matters, too. Some offices thrive on a lounge-like noise level, while others prefer soft pink noise. Depending on your needs, consider creating quiet zones for when workers need to concentration.

2) Office spaces mirror business needs.

No two businesses have the same space needs. Take an engineering firm. It’s likely the employees need places to meet with clients, for small-team collaborative meetings, and quiet areas with the tech tools for individual work. Compare to a photographer, who needs an open space for shoots and a private place to edit.

The workspace should reflect its use. For most businesses, a range of space is needed: places for highly focused individual tasks, places for partner or small-team collaboration, and larger meeting spaces. Harvard Business Review covers how to evaluate your business’ workplace needs for better functionality.

3) Office spaces need tech tools.

We’re a mobile, flexible workforce. The modern workforce expects to “plugin” whether in a coffee lounge or at a desk. Power and Wi-fi access are the top two needs to get work done, but there are other considerations depending on the unique business needs: better lighting, printing, copying, audio/visual display, et al. Equip your spaces with the right technology to get work done.

4) Office spaces must be accessible.

People want to find you. Find an easily accessible workspace. Nothing raises blood pressure like waiting in traffic, hunting for parking, and rushing to the front door to be on time. Offices need enough parking to meet its purpose, for employees and clients. Some workspace locations may want to consider bike-friendly access and storage.

5) Office spaces should inspire.

People spend hours a day in their workplace. Shouldn’t the office space be inviting? A workspace doesn’t have to be a sterile environment, but you don’t necessarily need to add game rooms to jazz things up. Spruce up the office with natural lighting, greenery, and comfortable furniture. Check out these examples that provide offices can have functionality, flexibility, and beautiful design. Those movable dividing walls? Perhaps they’re made of recycled wood or function as a “living wall.” Workplaces close to amenities, like parks, walkways, or restaurant help, too.

Don’t skimp on finding the right workspace. Thoughtfully designed workplaces inspire people, retain talent, and attract new employees. When the office design functions for business needs, employees are more productive and satisfied with their work.

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Abbey Weil

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