Most traditional office spaces were designed around the furniture in the room, paying little attention to the people who would be using the space. That way of thinking has proven to be a problem for countless companies.
The problem lies in prioritization.
Modern office design puts humans first by asking: “How will people use this space to accomplish tasks?” and striving to make it easier. Traditional designs focus on cramming as much stuff as possible in an area, and the humans are expected to adapt to that environment. If you want to get the most out of your team, furniture should not be your priority.
Most companies can’t necessarily afford a complete office redesign, though. When budget is a concern, you might need to find smart ways to adapt your space to your needs.
3 Easy Ways to Modernize Your Office Design
When you think of modern office design, you probably picture bright colors, trendy artwork, and lots of smooth surfaces.
Those things are all very common in spaces that are decorated to look modern, but actual modern design doesn’t have to look that way. Modern design is less about the way your office looks and more about how usable it is.
Start by paying attention to existing inefficiencies. Are team members walking across the building every day to ask questions? Do people need extra breaks to get up and stretch? All of the little ways that your office is working against your employees add up to a lot of lost time and effort.
These 3 small changes fix some of the most common issues in office design:
People who need to work together should sit near each other.
It may sound obvious, but few companies put much thought into their seating and layout. Employees who often need to work with other departments or people will have a lot of wasted time if they have to trek through the whole building to get a reply.
Keep in mind that digital communication has plenty of drawbacks, and getting face-to-face is still the best way to get things done.
Collaborating within a single department is important, too. Arrange desks and walls so that team members can easily talk with their peers without getting up.
In some environments like call centers, you might want higher walls between desks for more privacy and quiet. Most modern companies want to encourage more team-based work, though, and taking down walls is a great way to help that happen.
Let a little sun into your office and watch as energy levels rise.
Not everyone can get a window seat, of course, but that doesn’t mean you should keep the shades drawn on everyone. Natural light is great for physical and mental health, and when morale is better, so is productivity.
If you’re lucky enough to have skylights, make sure they’re clean and bright. Let some light in through the blinds and encourage your team members to bask in the glow.
Ergonomics is a lot more than a buzzword to describe expensive chairs and keyboards. It’s actually really important for your health and productivity, because ergonomics strives to create tools that suit the user instead of expecting a person to adapt to a tool.
Think of ergonomics like streamlining your performance. Instead of struggling to get through your day and going home with a headache, you could be sailing through your shift and heading home feeling energized and satisfied.
Yes, upgrading your furniture is probably going to be a big expense. It’s worth it.
An ergonomic workspace leads to fewer sick days and more work done during work hours, so you’ll earn back your investment.
Start with the things that are going to make the biggest difference – ergonomic office chairs, better lighting, and anything you notice is causing drag in your daily operations. As you grow, you can start spending money on details like computer mice and monitor stands.
In fact, all 3 tips we mentioned in this post are technically ergonomics! All you really have to do is pay attention to the ways people use your space, and adapt your space to the actual humans who are in it.