Jacob Morgan, one of the foremost thinkers on the future of work, has been releasing a series of posts on work environments and what properties makes a workplace particularly productive or not productive. He rightly observes that while there are overarching trends that apply across generations of workers and types of industry, the “ideal” work environment needs to reflect your unique culture.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind as you consider what your ideal work environment is.
It’s open. There has been a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of the open office plan, and I’m not necessarily saying that a completely open office is the way to go, but your workplace needs to have a sense of openness about it.
The way things are arranged needs to imply that stepping away from your desk is ok—that communicating and collaborating with coworkers is encouraged, if not required. An open environment creates a lively atmosphere that is generally very good for productivity, morale, and collaboration.
There is privacy. Yes, there can be openness and privacy in the same office. In fact, I would argue that there needs to be in order to find a balance that makes the majority of employees comfortable. So while there are open spaces that serve as social and collaborative areas, there are also private areas where people can feel safe airing grievances or spending some quiet time doing solitary work.
It’s homey. Recent studies indicate that, despite many of our preconceptions about the way work used to be, many workers are more creative and productive when working at home. And no, that doesn’t mean you should institute a pajamas-optional dress code. Think about ways you can create a comfortable environment, whether that’s with lighting, furniture, or maybe amenities like snacks, blankets, or even animals.
While there is no formula for creating the ideal work environment, you should be able to use these three guidelines to begin imagining what your company’s ideal physical space looks like. Your workplace should be a place that encourages employees to be comfortable where they are and make the most of their work.
Do you have thoughts or questions on changes you’d like to make in your workplace? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or let me know in the comments.