Does your workspace work for your employees? At Irvine Company, we know first-hand that the way a company thinks employees will use a workspace does not always align with daily reality, especially as a company grows and needs change. A large conference room may sit empty if teams prefer smaller break out sessions. Outdoor workspace can be underutilized if employees never feel comfortable meeting outside. Clutter can build up where accessible storage is lacking.
Small design changes can have a big impact on team collaboration and general morale. These are four easy ways to address unmet workspace needs.
Spot the need: Chairs pushed together to create space for impromptu meetings.
Rethink office furniture layouts to be more conducive to meeting needs when the conference room is booked. Start by assessing how and where people are congregating. Do managers need a breakout space to quickly brief a team, or are two people trying to collaborate on a project long-term? Create seating arrangements that can accommodate both impromptu meetings and longer work sessions, like a bar top area for a quick chat or a lounge space for teamwork. If you have outdoor workspace available, encourage employees to hold their daily team meetings al fresco.
Spot the need: Shoes and bags scattered on the floor and under desks.
Employees often keep a change of clothes in their office if they’re biking to work, exercising midday or heading out for an after-hours event. Providing additional storage can be as simple as repurposing an unused closet or adding storage cubes to individual workstations, discreetly concealing gym bags and athletic shoes. In addition to a tidier workplace, you demonstrate that you respect employee needs in and out of the office, strengthening your employer brand.
Spot the need: A giant, rarely used conference room.
If your company only uses the conference room once every six months for big meetings, consider moving these meetings to your building’s conference center. Next, poll your employees to better understand their needs. Would they like phone booths for private calls? Nap pods? Team rooms? Not only will you bring greater efficiency to this under-used space, but you will also get the added bonus of demonstrating to employees that you’re listening and responsive to their feedback.
Spot the need: Headphones on desks.
If headphones are littered on desks, it’s a sign that your employees may be having trouble focusing due to ambient noise levels. Consider which areas of the office can be dedicated quiet spaces. Block hours in a conference room or a communal workspace as “quiet time.” Or, if you have open desks, create a conversation-free section of the office available for hot desking.