Conceptualising the workspace- supporting work systems that promote productivity and innovation

In today’s world, enabling employees to achieve maximum productivity is the holy grail of performance optimisation in all types of businesses. Industries such as manufacturing and construction often have tools, technology, and applications that can help to improve the efficiency of business by automating manual tasks. Offices on the other hand require a knowledge-based working environment, where raising the level of productivity is more challenging due to the variety and complexity of work activities required.

Tasks for workers more often than not require high levels of individual work and concentration, while others require high levels of collaboration and discussion between many employees. Also known as ‘activity-based’ or ‘smart’ working, clever workplaces should aim to increase the productivity of employees by matching as close as possible the physical space from which they work to type of activity or work style that they need to perform in order to complete both efficient and effective work.

The goal is to utilise space, and to foster an environment that is geared towards the way employees will interact and collaborate today. The end result for the business is a productive work force and smaller requirements for real estate, which can decrease company costs significantly. At Buzz Furniture Melbourne, the combination of our expert consultants and carefully selected office furniture products have the ultimate aim to assist you with the design of your workplace that does support maximum productivity according to the requirements of your organisation.

Buzz Furniture was created because there appears to be a large gap in modern workplace systems, where many workspaces used today are products of the 90’s office era. During this time, every employee was given a desktop and a semi-private desk which in turn encouraged the widespread use of an office cubicle layout. Each worker had a fixed line telephone on their desk, and there was a power point and network connection for each desktop. This format reduced the communication infrastructure of the business, where the inability to be flexible or mobile resulted in static (and often stagnant) work environments. Fast forward to the last twenty-something years, and modern workplaces are pushed to reduce space per employee.

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The new generation of employee.

Other factors impacting how businesses are driven the rethink their office layouts and business structure include:

  • The increasing cost of real estate
  • Shifting from a homogenous to a heterogeneous environment- from one desktop to multiple operating devices, and from Microsoft office systems to using multiple operating systems
  • Enterprise mobility and wireless communications
  • Changes to the way we work, particularly in relation to greater emphasis on workplace collaboration
  • The influence of new-generational employees that have grown up with mobile technology and who are geared towards collaboration due to modern teaching methodologies in schools and universities

Often the biggest factor driving organisations to become interested in developing modern workspaces is because of changes in property and/ or high property rental costs. After employee salaries, property rental is usually the next largest expense of corporate businesses. Particularly in Australia both real estate costs per square foot/ metre in large cities such as Melbourne, as well as the cost of electricity to serve these spaces is already at high and on the increase. Á CBD office often needs to review the size of its occupied floor space, which may require moving to a new space due to business growth of downsizing. For these businesses, the question begs to be asked: Do you need more space? Or is there a cheaper, more effective way of using the current office environment?

New generation office employees are more demanding in terms of how they prefer to work, and which tools they require to perform their tasks. Generally, enterprise mobility has encouraged organisations to adopt policies such as ‘bring your own device’. Workers can choose from a variety of devices which can be their own or company-owned in order to access their data and applications smoothly and seamlessly regardless of their location. Businesses that offer this type of flexibility can reduce travel expenses dramatically, and attract and retain the most discerning of employees.

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Technology of the new generation.

 

​Conceptualising Workspaces of Tomorrow

Creating a workspace that maximises productivity and innovation between employees really comes down to knowing how to link people, technology, and the work environment. Visibility, flexibility, and improved employee retention and productivity are undeniably important goals of any organisation.

At Buzz Furniture, we have carefully selected a range of office furniture that, with careful planning by our experienced office furniture consultants, can play an important role in fostering both productivity and potential in the workplace. With the inclusion of great office furniture, you can have the ability to take your business to the next level. A quick Google image search of the office fitouts of Fortune 500 companies (or really any successful business) is overriding evidence that office furniture makeovers can encourage employee happiness, productivity and ultimately business growth and income. Here are 5 reasons why well thought-out office furniture can enhance your workspace:

1. Boring furniture makes employees lazy
Not only does boring office furniture foster laziness, it also tends to make employees irritable and clumsy because of the mountains of work piled up on their desk. Surrounded by nothing stimulating to look at, workers very easily lose interest in their work which in turn effects the work that they produce and the length of time that they do it in. Less-than-optimal performance during the critical paid 7 to 8 hours of the day not only impacts the overall productivity of the workplace, but also translates into how the employee perceives their work and overall wellbeing. At Buzz Furniture, we have a large range of custom chairsdesks, and workstations that come in a range of custom colours and innovative designs to encourage employee interest. To view these products plus many others that can contribute to the productivity of your workplace, click here.

2. Vibrant colours builds employee enthusiasm
Lots of offices are now opting to choose office furniture that incorporates bright colours. Colours have been linked to health and emotion for centuries. Ancient Egyptian doctors bathed their patients in colours of light to heal their ailments, and in modern society the use of colours as a stress therapy has re-emerged in new age medicine. An interesting cross-cultural study found that blue was the most preferred colour across cultures. Other preferential colours included hues of orange, green, and white. On the other hand, black was found to have a negative connotation, and this perception dates back to 2300BC.

Prominent marketing author Philip Kotler found that colours were very important in creating attention, conveying messages, and creating positive feelings such as enthusiasm that could increase both purchase probability of clients and productivity of employees. Colours are also believed to influence the passage of time. For example, time appears to pass more slowly under heavy red light, and more quickly under blue light. Conceptualising a modern workplace requires a strong understanding that colour has strong emotional loading that influences employee enthusiasm and overall workplace efficiency.

3. Dividing the office reduces stress
Dividing an office space into two different zones can help strike a balance between your employee’s professional and private lives by accumulating two very different environments in the same office. Great workplaces put as much thought into employee working areas as they do for areas that can be used within free time. An exaggerated example of this (and a great idea for your workplace) is a modern architectural approach called biophilic design.

Biophilic design works on the theory that the acceleration of business in the modern world has exacerbated human separation from the natural world, which increases stress. The use of environmental features, natural patterns, organic shapes, and encouragement of human relationships in the break room can help to alleviate workplace stress. This can be achieved quite cheaply with the inclusion of plants, a great colour scheme, and the right tables and chairs that are not only relaxing but encourage communication and comradery between work colleagues and can foster productivity and collaboration when they get back to work.

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Inside Google HQ.
4. Cleanliness and accessibility reinforces positivity
Great office furniture should not only offer innovation and excitability for both employers and employees, it should also encourage cleanliness in the workplace. Disorganised offices are notorious for depriving their employees of the enthusiasm and zeal to properly work. A clean and well-adjusted office on the other hand, is going to keep workers comfortable and provide them with the ability to be more productive in whatever task they need to perform. The ideal workspace design also makes sure frequently used office accessories (for example, a printer or fax machine) that are easily accessible for all employees.More often than not, employees put off their work or get side-tracked from their current projects because they need to get up and go to an additional place to finish their task. Keeping items handy will both speed up their work, resulting in a greater contribution to your business. Buzz Furniture offers a range of creative deskingworkstation, and storage options that will assist in keeping both yourself and your employee’s stationery, paperwork, and electronic devices easily accessible and clutter-free. You can enquire about how strategic workstation options can benefit your organisation by emailing us here.5. Sit-stand desks increase health
Humans are upright for a reason. Our heart and cardiovascular system have been adapted in the upright position. Better bowel function is linked to the upright position, where individuals who are hospitalised for bed rest frequently have problems with their bowel regularity. Physical activity leads to improved cardiovascular outcomes and improves our overall energy and endurance. It also strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis. Sitting excessively can thus be harmful because when body parts are not used for extended periods of time they can be weakened. An Australian study has found that for every additional hour participants spent sitting on a daily basis, their overall threat of dying over the 7-year study period increased by 11%. A later American study additionally found that if the average person limited their sitting time by 3 hours a day, life expectancy would increase by 2 years.
Buzz Furniture offers a range of sit-stand desks that decrease the risk of these health problems. Sit-stand desks are very easily height-adjustable, and provide employees with the option of sitting or standing while they work. Employees who use sit-stand desks as part of their work routine report that being able to stand while working helps in alleviating back pain, releasing energy, and increasing focus- particularly while on the phone. Even healthy employees vouch for the benefit of sit-stand desks, reporting that working while standing up gives you a different perspective and helps spark creativity. Standing while working can also make you look more approachable, and employees have reported greater likelihood of impromptu meetings with customers and potential clients while standing at their desk.

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The sit-stand desk.

Conceptualising modern and innovative workspaces conducive to work performance both extends into and influences your organisation’s culture; it requires knowing your people. Does your company have the necessary vision, strategy, and courage to embrace this new and progressive way of working? The most productive workplaces are instigated and utilised by the people at the highest level of the workplace hierarchy, and should have a downstream influence on how other employees approach their work. For example, can you identify which employees are primarily desk-based according to the work that they perform? Developing exciting workspaces is not only about accommodating mobile, remote, or guest workers, it’s also about enabling and satisfying those employees that are desk-bound, task-based employees that are required to be at their desks every day.

The activities and related spaces of a sales executive will have very different requirements to that of a personal assistant. Each of these roles have very different amounts of time spent at desks, meeting rooms, and so on. Incorporating these new concepts into an office space requires a great deal of change management. For example, how might an innovative office fit-out impact your HR policies? People and culture are often overlooked when implementing great workspaces, but they should always be the starting point when you are conceptualising the type of work environment you need.

What aspects of practical design and aesthetics need to be considered when you are ready to incorporate a new office design? Buzz Furniture has an extensive range of office furniture solutions that can help in your decision-making. It is important to consider which areas will be used for which activities, such as:

  • Individual work requiring a desk and degree of privacy and/ or soundproofing.

Buzz Furniture has a large range of screens, acoustic panelling and private desking options that can optimise individual performance without the need for a claustrophobic cubicle-style layout. Additionally, click here to ask us about how both choice and strategic positioning of office furniture can be made more conducive to how sound travels in the workplace.

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Acoustic panels enhance privacy in a busy office.
  • Private, one-to-one conversations that require a small meeting room.

A good meeting room space requires adequate soundproofing and a well-executed furniture layout that encourages interaction and collaboration between employees. Buzz Furniture offers a great selection of modular tables that can be customised to your preferences. Ask us how you can create the perfect meeting room here. Additionally, we stock a range of whiteboards that are useful for quick brainstorming sessions.

  • Larger meetings in formal boardrooms and conference rooms with high quality videoconferencing capabilities.

The design of your boardroom should adequately reflect the values and working philosophies of your company and be a seamless extension of your brand. One of the key factors in running a successful business in presenting the right image, and this is why good boardrooms and conference rooms are so vital. If your formal meeting places look tired, with boardroom furniture in need of an update, this will be the first impression your business creates to outside parties. They need to be aesthetically pleasing, provide ample space to foster creativity and allow people to think clearly, and be able to house and manage all the technological tools required to best encourage the development of working business strategies and creative ideas. Buzz Furniture offers extensive boardroom and executive options, as well as cost-effective stackable table-arm chairs best for large-scale conferences and corporate training rooms.

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Larger meeting areas should reflect the purpose and philosophy of your company.
  • Casual collaboration or break rooms in informal areas.

Break rooms are mainly for providing a place that employees can go to give them time away from their screen or the stress of everyday working life. Utilised well, a well-designed break room can also be used for spur-of-the-moment meet-ups with fellow employees or informal meetings with clients.

Buzz Furniture provides a wide range of casual furniture that will fit perfectly into your break room. Multipurpose chairs around a basic table provides somewhere meetings can be held or lunch can be eaten. Soft furniture such as tub chairs or sofas can also help make employees and clients feel relaxed and comfortable. Informal areas do not need to be extravagant or take up much space. If your office space does not allow for a spare room, a screening system that sections off part of your open plan workspace with comfortable chairs and tables can offer just as much relief as a separate area.

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Informal area at RedBull HQ.

​Formulating a sound strategy and roadmap in creating an amazing office space requires the need to involve the right stakeholders and decision-makers in the organisation early on in in the process. For example, those responsible for HR need to determine how the new fit-out can work with office culture, people, and policies; facilities managers for the office environment, and ICT managers for the technology components.

The perfect collaboration between your workspace and your work culture will be determined by identifying your current employee profiles and their work styles, workspaces, and utilisation, as well as envisioning how you would like these to look in the future. The best way of achieving this is by seeking the guidance of a solution provider that has holistic expertise in people, environment, and technology. Often, consultants in these areas are brought in individually and at a late stage in the creation of new workspaces or when an overall vision and plan are lacking. This makes it difficult to make adjustments and changes that could have an impact on the overall success of the workspace.

At Buzz Furniture, our expertise in office fit-outs can help you understand your current situation in terms of strategic and operational capability, and show you where your business can be tomorrow. We offer extensive experience in bringing together all the necessary elements in creating a modern concept space that works for your company and ultimately propagates the success of your business. Talk to us about your amazing office space ideas by calling 03 9537 0737 or emailing us at hq@buzzfurniture.com.au.

A blog that aims to inspire the creative conceptualisation of amazing workspaces.

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