Over the past few years, some doomsayers proclaimed the corporate office dead, hailing remote work as the new normal. While many employees are now opting for remote work arrangements, most U.S. workers are returning to the office – either on a part- or full-time basis.
Many commercial real estate experts see this as an opportunity to update workspaces so that employees are eager to return, reimagining spaces to better support creativity, collaboration and employee wellness. Common design trends around this idea include everything from high-panel cubicles to bench seating, low/no panels, bullpens, and shared seating.
More broadly, there’s another office design trend on the minds of many office managers: creative workspaces.
One of the main reasons many organizations are eager to get staff back together in person is to boost collaboration and engagement across their teams. Video conferencing tools can function as suitable alternatives for remote teams, but that format negates the benefits of being in a shared space – particularly one specifically designed for such a purpose.
What is Creative Office Space?
Creative office spaces marry imagination with functionality and are a break from typical office layouts of cubicles and perimeter offices. These are spaces to be shared and built with a specific purpose. The Achilles heel of multipurpose rooms is that they don’t have enough intentionality – leaving it to employees to assign their chief function, which often can be at odds with one another. For example, one employee might need quiet and deep concentration to get a task done, while another might want to collaborate with coworkers and play music. By defining spaces, it allows employees to let their imaginations run wild instead of worrying about whether they are doing the right thing or bothering someone else.
Here are some popular types of creative offices and suggested design elements that should be helpful for your workspace design.
The Office Brainstorm Room
Although this room can also be used for regular meetings, it’s best to view it as a place to collaborate and problem solve. For that reason, it’s smart to limit distractions in this space and focus on comfort and stimulation. A few possibilities are to pick a room with an abundance of natural light, make as many surfaces writing friendly as possible (e.g., walls, tables, whiteboards) and choose soft and ergonomic seating.
Color can also play an important role in helping employees relax and get in a creative headspace. Featuring deep blues, vibrant reds or lush greens in a space can help set the tone depending on the project.
The Office Quiet Room
There are several approaches for designing a quiet room in an office. Many organizations have opted for the “phone booth” style cubbies for employees who want to make private calls or focus on putting together a presentation or pitch. Be aware that spaces this small can sometimes feel confining or uncomfortable for certain employees.
Two must-haves are a minimum level of sound proofing and a door that locks from the inside. Employees should feel like their concentration or peace won’t be trampled on. Other considerations are adding a dimmable light for people who need to reset and charging outlets for various devices.
The Office Library
At first blush, the concept of an office library might seem a bit strange. “Why would my employees need a place to sit and read when they should be working?” Knowledge is power and having access to knowledge is crucial. Designing a space where employees can spend time learning about a new subject relevant to their job is a great place to start.
These rooms don’t have to be just a traditional library with books and periodicals, they can also feature computers for watching presentations or videos and nooks to have one-on-one conversations. Anything that can stimulate or encourage learning and sharing information is a positive. The office library also can be an effective place to meet with new clients or business associates to help them better understand your organization’s culture for learning.
The Office Game Room
More and more companies are taking the expression “work hard, play hard” literally. To help employees achieve a better work-life balance, some offices have introduced game rooms or recreation spaces. The great part about designing this kind of space is that the sky is really the limit. It mostly comes down to a question of how many employees might typically use the space and how often.
Frequently, participating in games together can help coworkers build friendships and become stronger as a team. Mental health has become a greater focal point for companies in recent years too. Game rooms can offer a place to destress and pursue activities outside of work that make your staff feel satisfied and inspired.
The Office Workout Room
It’s not uncommon for companies or organizations to provide staff with gym or wellness center memberships. Of course, maintaining physical health goes hand in hand with mental wellbeing. However, if space allows for it, you might consider creating a workout room to bring that level of convenience into the office.
Workout rooms don’t have to strictly be filled with weight equipment and cardio machines, they can also be set up to host yoga or calisthenics classes. Anything that gets employees away from their desk and moving can increase blood flow and brain activity. This creates a positive cycle: good health results in good work and vice versa.
Hilldrup Does Workplace Design
Regardless of a space’s function, it should feel authentic to your organization and its culture. Creating it also shouldn’t take away from your staff’s focus and productivity. Adequately achieving both points is a tall task for any organization to do on their own. Partnering with a workplace solutions firm like Hilldrup can ensure your new space fulfills its intended purpose without major setbacks and frustrations along the way. Not only do we specialize in unique office layout design, our workplace solutions team also offers end-to-end furniture installation services.
If you’re looking to update your office to take advantage of your team’s creativity and boost employee engagement, our workplace solutions team can help!