There has been a shift in interior design and office refurbishment over the past several years as designers move away from the traditional model of closed-off offices, cramped common spaces and high-walled cubicles. Today’s designers and their clients are embracing shared spaces, open floor plans and mobile workstations.
So how can office design help your business?
The answer is simple: accessibility.
In a recent survey of professional interior designers who specialise in office spaces, more than 68 per cent said they were able to improve their clients’ productivity by making offices more accessible to workers. This included providing easier access to resources like equipment, information and other workers. To improve staff contact with these resources, the survey respondents implemented changes such as:
- Grouping team members together for easier communication.
- Establishing customised workstations to facilitate specific team activities.
- Improving access to shared resources like projectors, copiers and fax machines.
- Providing a logical office layout that lets staff find what or who they need easily.
- Converting traditional spaces (with cubicles and private offices) to more open floor plans that help eliminate barriers and encourage better communication.
Accessibility and Open Office Plans
The open office is now one of the most popular ways for companies to facilitate multi-tasking and better performance. Interior designers are frequently called upon to implement designs with lots of open space, smaller work areas and close groupings of teams. Open floor plans also make it easier for management to oversee operations at the ground level, known as “management by walking around.” This eliminates the traditional corporate hierarchy that can make some lower-level employees feel that management doesn’t understand or appreciate their work.
Accessibility for Faster Decision Making
Speed in business is more important now than ever before. Accessibility can make the decision-making process more streamlined, helping your company stay ahead of the competition. When staff has greater access to one another through shared workspaces or mobile workstations, management is able to transfer decision-making power further down the ranks to help encourage teams to work together more efficiently. As managers begin to see the value of collaboration as a way to boost productivity, the whole office will start to appreciate a working environment with fewer physical barriers.
Accessibility for Team Building
Teams or departments that work well together also help accelerate decision-making and can improve the overall efficiency of your office. Interior design can play a key role in helping your teams and departments work better together. Thoughtful workstation groupings can have a variety of benefits including team development and relationship building, improved communication across departments and a collective sense of purpose or accomplishment.
Office design trends that increase accessibility through open floor plans for faster decision making and team building are here to stay. As businesses look for ways to be more flexible and nimble in a shrinking global market, interior designers can play a key role in helping companies remain competitive.