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article imageWhat makes the coolest offices in the world?

By Tim Sandle     Jun 5, 2014 in Lifestyle
An effective workplace design seems to be important for business success. This doesn’t mean that designs cannot be innovative or even fun. A new review considers what can be learnt from world’s coolest offices.
According to The Daily Worth, a finance website, cutting-edge companies like Google and Pixar have been celebrated for their unconventional office spaces, which focus on fostering collaboration. The review makes a link between cool and innovative design and the company’s success. Summarized by The Muse, the top five ‘cool’ features for the ideal modern office are:
1. Let the sun in. Recent research shows that when employees are exposed to more natural light, they work better and produce more successful results.
2. Incorporate play. This is based on the idea that taking time to be playful can inspire creativity and new ideas.
3. Adding variety. The idea here is to create offices that are designed for easy collaboration and flexibility, while still providing workspaces that allow employees to quietly focus on individual work.
4. Have white spaces. While certain paint colors have been shown to boost productivity for some workers, white is seen as the color most associated with productivity.
5. Open spaces. The idea of open space is linked to having spaces to encourage collaboration.
An open plan office.
An open plan office.
As to what makes a "cool" office, Inc Magazine has an interesting review of some of the ‘coolest’ offices from around the world. Although these are pretty to look at they are expensive. There are some less expensive things that office managers can do to increase employee performance.
First off, design space is important. A survey carried out in the U.S. last year revealed only one in four employees in the United States works in an optimal office environment. The other 75 percent are working in ineffective workplace environments, which can lead to losses in productivity, innovation and worker engagement.
Some companies have taken an innovative approach to the design of the office, based on the idea that a more pleasant environment leads to a more productive employee. Interviewed by CNN, Peter Surrena, design director at trend forecasting agency PSFK, says good office design is linked with increased employee productivity. Moreover, a study by the Center for Health Design suggests that good layout benefits a company by 6 percent of an employee's salary, and good lighting and temperature by half a percent.
Google Mountain View campus garden.
Google Mountain View campus garden.
Perhaps in light of this office design concepts are also changing. Interviewed by Louisville Business First, Jim Williamson, workplace practice leader at Gensler, said there has been a shift in how people work and in how office space is used. Williamson notes that many companies’ spaces are shrinking, so “every square inch is becoming more important now.”
Other changes include space is no longer organized based on employee hierarchy and, alternatively, space is designed around work activities. For example, some workplaces use "hot desking," allowing employees to use any computer; other workplaces have "quiet zones" for individuals to focus and more "active zones" where employees can go to work together. Such offices are designed to encourage workers to think more creatively or playfully.
Other offices feature athletic equipment with the aim of helping workers to reduce stress or get their blood flowing (which is always important if they sit behind a desk all day). Other work spaces feature lounges where workers can relax and feel at home.
Another concept is the modular office, which allows the space to be re-designed for different activities and in relation to different projects. Such spaces use effective office storage solutions to keep furniture, computers and equipment aside whilst the space is utilized for different activities. The modular office concept is more popular with creative. Similarly, for functions, entire modular buildings can be put up in less than a day, kept for the event, and then disassembled. It has even been argued that modular buildings are healthier because modular units are built in a factory, the materials are stored indoors in a controlled environment, eliminating the risk of mold, mildew, rust, and sun damage that can often lead to human respiratory problems.
More about Office, Design, Furniture, Space, Google
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