Some sectors have difficulty recruiting employees, with high turnover and absenteeism rates. Most of these are manual jobs, in the construction or catering industries among others, but in offices too it's essential to improve working conditions. How can changing office layouts help boost productivity? Here's a closer look at the latest trends in the professional world: flex office, phone room, huddle room...
Quality of life at work
A whole range of factors influence the quality of life in the workplace: safety and hygiene of premises, comfort, calm, pleasant atmosphere, aesthetic environment, areas dedicated to relaxation, ergonomic equipment, adequate lighting...
Ensuring the well-being of employees is becoming an obligation for employers. Initiatives in this area can bring many benefits for both the company and its employees:
- Increased motivation,
- Reduced stress,
- Fewer sick days and lower costs,
- Employee loyalty,
- Increased attractiveness of the company,
- Better brand image,
- Improved productivity and competitiveness.
It's a proven fact that when employees feel good in their work environment, they perform better and are more committed to the company's projects.
What do new workspaces look like?
Gone are the days of closed, individual offices. For several years now, companies have been adopting a collaborative working style, creating spaces that encourage conviviality and exchanges between employees (open spaces, coworking, flex office...). Some have turned to interior designers specializing in professional layout to optimize their premises.
A good office layout includes
- An ideal, constant temperature controlled by a thermostat;
- Air conditioning for hot weather;
- Non-aggressive lighting, natural if possible, with dimmers;
- Indoor and outdoor rest areas;
- Herbal tea room;
- Closed lockers for personal belongings;
- Green plants;
- Natural, soothing wall colors in shades of green, beige and brown;
- Materials such as wood, leather and stone;
- Ergonomic professional furniture: comfortable, adjustable, designed to avoid muscular pain and visual fatigue;
- Sound-isolating partitions to prevent noise pollution (some workstations require concentration, and need to be located in a quiet, interference-free environment).
The concept of introducing elements of nature into the office is known as "biophilic design". It is designed to reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace. It's one of the latest trends in office design.
Some companies have opted for the flex office, which means not assigning a fixed position to a particular employee. Everyone can sit down wherever they like and start work. In this case, it's imperative that the offices are modular to adapt to all needs and morphologies.
As a result of the pandemic and the need to distance themselves from society, many employees have been forced to telework. Telecommuting, which had previously been relatively uncommon, quickly became widespread. More than two years on, teleworking habits are still firmly entrenched in many companies, and are turning traditional workspaces upside down.
Although some companies have given up on having their own premises, most of them still feel that offices are essential for maintaining a social link, even if communication tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Workplace design has yet to reinvent itself. To anticipate a new pandemic, sanitary safety must be put in place: easily transportable, modular furniture, reinforced hygiene....
Hybrid working, i.e. 50% telecommuting and 50% face-to-face, seems to be becoming the norm, requiring equipment adapted to new needs. Phone rooms for telephone meetings, huddle rooms for video conferencing, and shared workspaces for all employees, whatever their function. Coworking already existed, but is now booming.
Workers now want a healthier workplace, with sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials and greenery. Used to working from home, they aspire to a cocooning work space, flexibility and a certain freedom.
Since employee happiness is a key factor in a company's success, it's essential for managers to take it into account.