The offices that design us

14/08/2019

The offices that design us

Winston Churchill once said "we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us". He was trying to explain that the design of the British Parliament had influenced how the country’s political system worked. If we follow this train of thought, we could say that we might design our offices, but it is them that then give form to us, as their design has a decisive influence on the way we work. This post seeks to analyse some of the office design trends that are prevalent in 2019:

Collaborative spaces. We should be aware that sharing our workspace with others is a great help, as it allows us to see our projects and day-to-day duties from other perspectives, offering a new viewpoint that frees up our minds and let us prioritise urgent work. Individual offices and cubicles have been obsolete for years. If we want teamwork to function well nowadays, spaces need to be organised with that in mind – large tables at which a number of employees work, expansive common areas and a canteen that encourages people to take a break in the middle of the day to have lunch with the rest of their workmates.

Concentration spaces. Working together is essential. However, sometimes we need quiet spaces in which we can concentrate on our work or make a call without bothering the rest of the office. These tend to reproduce the design of a library, meaning that people are able to work in silence.

Biophilic design. This refers to an office natural elements that help us to relieve stress. Nevertheless, such a design goes beyond a simple flower or plant. It is essential to create different environments that allow people to carry out their work and have a bearing on general wellbeing: dynamic spaces that stimulate creative thinking, more laid-back areas with forms and shapes that are in tune with nature and encourage relaxation and concentration, and large windows that allow natural light and fresh air to come in and help to alert our senses.

Adhocracy culture. This type of design focuses on the creativity of employees and seeks to create flexible settings within environments that stimulate the workforce, ensuring spaces that are designed for leisure activities that are not directly related to work. Spaces for rest and relaxation that seek to offer workers a break that allows them to disconnect from their everyday routines and lets them return without any sense of fatigue. Such an approach to design leads to value proposals such as those put forward by Utopicus, which seek to combine flexible spaces in which a wide range of activities take place that encourage innovation, cooperation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

In short, it should be clear that where office design is concerned, there is no easy formula for all. Nevertheless, the design of workspaces can have a direct influence on business culture, improving the professional success of employees.

 

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