In the 1960s, they thought people of the future would have robot maids and their cars would fly (thanks, Jetsons). In the 1980s, we all imagined by now we’d be getting around on hoverboards and wouldn’t have to lace up our own tennis shoes like Marty McFly. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting on those things to happen.
Previous predictions have shown we can’t perfectly predict what’s going to happen in the future. But one thing we can tell you for certain is that in regards to future workplaces, companies will all be aiming for one thing—to get the most out their employees.
You can’t control everything in business; but one thing you can control is your office environment. Here are 4 things you can do to provide an environment that helps each employee become their best self and give you their best work.
1. Get employee feedback for design tips.
People want to be heard and appreciated. It’s as simple as that. And it’s just as simple to ask employees what they want the office environment they spend 40-plus hours a week in to look like. Have managers ask employees in their one-on-one meetings, or send out an employee feedback survey that asks insightful questions. Either way, ask your employees for their design feedback, and then listen and implement changes they want that make sense.
Acting on employee feedback helps you develop better products and services, reduces voluntary turnover by 48% and gives you more engaged employees, which can increase your earnings per share by 147%. It creates a space employees will want to work in and will feel ownership over, and thus have more respect for and for you.
2. Acknowledge that we all have different ways of focusing.
Don’t think of your workforce as a single entity. It’s made up of unique individuals, and each of those individuals has different needs, requirements and personalities. When you understand that each of your employees has their own way of getting things done, you can help them reach their full potential by creating the space that allows them to be their most productive self.
In our experience, we’ve found that diverse companies tend to best thrive when they offer fully-flexible workspaces, in terms of shape, function and furniture, that provide the needed balance of an employee’s work needs with your company’s need for collaboration.
3. Customize each space to the department.
If your employees prefer to sit in the same area every day amongst their department peers, then the way to get the most out of each department is customizing their space to their specific needs. Salespeople might like to walk around and talk on the phone, so put them in an open area that allows for that. Your developers may work better in low-light areas, so put them in the basement, away from windows or buy really thick blinds for any nearby windows. And while your marketing team will excel in an open layout that fosters collaboration, the legal team needs quiet breakout rooms to make private phone calls and focus on all those legal papers they have to read.
Instead of designing a total open-office layout or putting everyone in cubicles, find out what each department needs to be productive and then customize their individual spaces to meet their own set of needs.
4. Make your walls interactive.
No we don’t mean make your walls able to have conversations with you. You make office walls interactive by making them flexible. Build walls that can become interactive whiteboards or a screen to project office presentations on. You can even easily transform a large conference room into two smaller meeting rooms or vice versa thanks to walls that descend from the ceiling.
These office design trends of 2016 and 2017 will help you design your future office for employee experience—and that’s how you’re going to get the most out of every employee.