3 Ways to Embrace the “Old-Meets-New”
Change in Office Design
You may be struggling to update your office design to meet modern workplace standards due to budgetary constraints, or maybe you simply don’t know how the new trendy layouts will work for your type of office function and can’t decide where to start. It’s completely understandable to have these concerns when dealing with uncharted territory like this for your business. You want to improve your image to your customers, your office morale within your staff, and even freshen up your look for a new take on your approach to the way you work in hopes to improve overall efficiency, but how can you make these important changes without losing your brand’s identity?
Make the Old New Again
The good news is you can keep your “old” office and mix in a little bit of “new” without having to do a complete overhaul of the space which would be costly and create a lot of downtime during the construction process. Strip down your facility to the bare essentials, allowing the original architecture to show its true form. This will allow you preserve the history of the building while updating with modern amenities to live somewhere in between that old and new feel. This works especially well with older buildings that have a rustic indoor/outdoor composition consisting of brick walls and ceiling beams or other warehouse-type characteristics.
Bringing out the details that define your space will make you appreciate the original purpose of the facility and allow you to refocus on your overall interior design around it as it will enhance and complement the basic skeleton.
Rethink the way you work
You just have to think of the way your office moves, the way it flows, and then build on that to make it more fluid. The way we work is changing, and the speed at which we work and communicate is moving at a much more rapid pace. This requires special attention to open spaces for movement, getting rid of cluttered areas that inhibit freedom to move and communicate. Clean up unsightly cables with clean and simple wire management. Obviously, you don’t need your entire office to be one big open space with no focus on actual workstations; we’re not constantly on the move. But we are depending on a higher level of communication and need to be accessible, which means you should also consider taking previously unused areas that are just off of a main thoroughfare and turning them into small meeting spaces. They’re just enough out of the way to not impede on the flow of traffic, but close enough to invite you in for a quick conversation or impromptu sit-down meeting with others in the office who happen to be passing by who you need to catch up with or get their thoughts on a project. Equip these meeting spaces with accessible power and USB charging options to power phones and laptops to share or charge while meeting for added convenience.
Younger workers are having a stronger voice in office decision-making now simply due to their resourcefulness in web and social media communications, making their savviness a crucial part of forward thinking and growth. This is, in a way, leveling the playing field within the office hierarchy for some companies where executives are no longer retreating to their corner office, but rather are out on the floor to be in the mix and learning on the job about new digital opportunities. This forced camaraderie and symbiotic relationship of instilling old values and tribal company knowledge in younger workers and educating older workers on new age communications creates a greater need for accessibility and movement through the office to communicate effectively.
Make it a place employees want to work
Every office is inherently different and every company culture is going to reflect those different core values, but it’s important to know who you are as a company and who your people are and what they value. Ask around. What simple changes would make employees’ lives easier? Start with the basics – think about basic job function and how that can be improved, then think about room for growth, and then think about general wellness and what other amenities could make employees want to come to work. Being in touch with your staff will have a huge impact on overall morale. You can even start with colors. Maybe your office is dull or drab. Liven things up a bit, reenergize your space.
The workplace experience is now more important to younger employees than their actual salary. Having a voice in collaborative projects, having an opportunity for upward mobility, and having a comfortable work space are the new keys for employee retention. Sure, gyms, game rooms, cafes, and onsite daycare facilities might not be in the cards for your business, large or small, but figure out what values your employees share and start there. Start small, it doesn’t even take much. Taking the effort alone will show employees that you care about their overall wellness and improve morale. Create a great office to create great employees. Happy employees are happy to go above and beyond to create happy customers. It’s contagious, pass it on!