Traditional office arrangements and layouts are quickly falling by the side due to major paradigm shifts by employers. Companies are finding that employees’ wellbeing, productivity, and job satisfaction increase when they work in an environment that they prefer.
It’s not entirely possible to create an office space that works for everyone; however, it is possible to accommodate most employee work area preferences. This can be accomplished through the creation of an agile workspace.
What is an Agile Office?
An agile workplace is an office that includes several different spaces. These spaces create a flexible environment, which allow employees to work where they’d like at any time. They may also have a choice in how they work; for example, some may choose to work at standing desks, while others may prefer working on a comfy sofa. The basic concept of an agile office is that it creates a flexible, fluid environment for employees.
An agile office may also include flexible work schedules, remote working, and more. This is a concept where most employees are free to work in different spaces. And those that prefer a dedicated workspace have that option, too. Employees are given the freedom to choose where and how to work so they can be more productive.
Key Elements of an Agile Office
The agile office is a workplace that is modern, accommodating, and flexible. But are the elements that make an office agile? In the next sections, we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of spaces included in a flexible work environment.
1). Open Floorplan
An agile office includes spaces created for different types of work and to accommodate employee preferences. Some companies are choosing to stay with an open plan layout, but incorporate areas where people can find privacy, space for meetings & collaboration, and more.
An open floor plan fosters the collaborative spirit for employees who work together on specific tasks or projects. Modular office furniture is a great option, which allows workers to reposition desks into a meeting space when needed. When the meeting’s finished, the desks can be individual workstations once again. The key is to use flexible office furniture and design elements.
Employees then have the perfect environment for communication and collaboration. One of the downsides is that type of space can become noisy. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to include privacy pods or something similar for those who need a quiet space to work or make important phone calls.
2). Quiet Zones & Privacy Pods
As noted above, these areas are essential if you have an open floor layout. These are areas where employees can go to work when they need to get away from the noise and chaos. Quiet zones or privacy pods make it easier to focus, work on confidential reports/tasks, and more.
Some businesses create individual privacy pods, which include a door and sound proofing. In fact, these strongly resemble private offices but they’re for one individual. Other companies choose to go with a quiet zone, which is a space that’s removed from the open floorplan space. Here, there are many options including providing a range of desks that have partitions between them for privacy. Remember those study desks at the university library? This is much the same concept.
Either way, providing quiet zones is an essential when choosing an agile office layout.
3). Breakout Areas
Breakout areas are created to be multipurpose spaces. These are popular for when a team needs to take a break from their normal workspace, have an unplanned meeting, eating, relaxation, and more. That’s why these are called “breakout” rooms. Employees can take a break from their normal work environment, and head here for relaxation and time away from their computers.
Breakout rooms aren’t only for employees; these are great spaces for visitors and guests, too. The breakout space can be designed to create a welcoming, relaxing environment where visitors/guests, and employees can take a break from the regular office.
These spaces generally employ creative seating and furniture such as canteen chairs and high tables, booths & tables, comfy sofas and chairs, for instance. It’s all about making everyone feel comfortable, as if they’re not at work.
4). Touchdown or Landing Spaces
These are areas that are designed to accommodate guests, remote workers who visit the office once in a while, guests, and more. Consider this space as a temporary work area where employees can take care of short-term tasks. Such tasks may include catching up with email, making phone calls, and more.
Touchdown or landing spaces require modular furniture or a long table with several chairs. And don’t forget charging stations. These will be essential for employees or visitors who are only in the office for a brief time.
5). Spaces that Promote Wellbeing
More businesses are choosing to invest in the wellbeing of their employees by creating spaces that promote physical and mental health. These are areas that help relieve stress and anxiety caused by work, which can lead to physical health issues.
Spaces that promote wellbeing include onsite gyms and showers, which allows employees to exercise during their workday. The gym may include a number of exercise machines and allow space for other types of physical activities. It’s also possible, depending on the space available, to create a walking garden, which is outside and creates a beautiful relaxing setting.
Other methods to promote wellbeing in the office include adding live plants, allowing more natural light into office spaces, and more. Colours can also make a difference with employees’ wellbeing. Pastel colours, for instance, have been proven to help people feel more relaxed and less stressed.
Agile, innovative office designs and layouts are necessary when it comes to keeping employees satisfied and productive. Not only do people feel better with the freedom to work as they prefer, but the environments in which they work can be made more flexible, attractive and comfortable. Then everyone is able to choose to work in a space that’s best for them. A more agile office design helps employees to work at their best, while improving their wellbeing at the same time.