Optimising Office Design for Productivity and Teamwork
- 6 November 2023
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An office, is an office, is an office, right? It is just a space that is furnished with basic things such as a desk, chair, a printer/scanner, and stationery, in which we can perform our role in a business or company. Or is it?
Is our level of productivity, motivation, creativity and success solely based on, and determined by, our personal drive, commitment and level of input? Or, does the layout, design, décor, such as colour schemes, and the organisation of workspaces, have an impact on the workflow, productivity, and team spirit in an office, and essentially, the success of a business?
The environment that we work in has a significant impact on our mood, level of motivation, and the morale of a team. The condition of the office building, the colour of the furnishings, how up-to-date the technology is, how the different departments are organised, can promote or stifle your creativity, inspiration, and motivation.
Imagine having a view of Table Mountain from your desk, or for that matter, any beautiful view that will inspire you to go to work every day. In a well-planned office that view will not just be the privilege of one person, but a whole office will be able to enjoy it, and be inspired by it.
Wouldn’t you rather want to work in an office environment that is conducive to productivity, innovative thinking and brainstorming? What makes the difference? Well-planned and designed office spaces cater for every role and function in the business in a practical way, and provide various multipurpose spaces, in which the staff can work privately or meet over a cup of coffee.
The ideal would be a dedicated area where the employees can take a break to have lunch or a cup of coffee, or, when preferred, they can sit and work away from their own desk in an open plan office, on a comfortable couch.
Employees are a company’s best asset. If they feel valued, they will give their best to the company. In turn, the company will hopefully benefit from it, thrive, and achieve goal after goal.
Have you ever worked in an office where you felt that something was hampering your productivity, but you couldn’t put your finger on it. Everything seemed alright and normal, but yet, it wasn’t. You realised that the workflow was somehow slowed down, but couldn’t quite explain why.
It caused frustration among the staff and in time, had a negative impact on workings relationships and the team spirit. Years ago, when companies still employed internal messengers, it didn’t really matter, because it didn’t affect you personally. You just had to put your documentation in the correct tray and someone would take it to wherever it had to go.
However, since those roles were eliminated, it has been every person’s responsibility to pass the folder, job bag, envelope (whatever the case may be) on to the next person, timeously. That is why the layout and design of an office matters. In most businesses, the days of each staff member sitting in their own private office, are long gone.
Shared office spaces make more sense, which can be used by two to eight people at a time. Private work spaces must still be available to those who need to “put their heads” down for an hour, or for a day. In other words, offices should be designed to cater for everyone.
Glass walls between offices, as opposed to brick walls, also promote better productivity and communication. Open areas with boardroom tables, couches and coffee stations, can either be used for quick discussions to get everyone on the same page, or individuals can sit there and work.
When it comes to office spaces, the walls have literally come down, because there are so many options available to choose from. Even communication is positively impacted by it, and productivity is naturally encouraged.
Nowadays, the approach to office designs and planning are more practical. Various sized meeting spaces are provided, for example, for four to six people, or, for a larger meeting of eight to 12 people, etc. For an employee who has to meet with a visiting client, there is a closed-door office available, so that they are able to negotiate in privacy.
The larger meeting spaces usually have a coffee station nearby to make your client feel right at home, which sets the stage upfront for great discussions. Modern and colourful furniture, flooring and décor, all contribute to the general sense of well-being, positivity and wealth in an office
If you are working remotely, and often have to meet with clients, there are meeting rooms and boardrooms available at coworking offices. They offer impressive smaller and larger spaces at hourly and daily rates, according to your need.
These are stunning meeting rooms and boardrooms, that are equipped with modern technology. All you need to do is to prepare well for that presentation so that you can get your client on board.
When planning an office layout and design, it is vitally important to take everything into consideration that pertains to the personnel, the ambience, and the workflow. Why? Because it will directly affect the general feeling of well-being, as well as the level of motivation and productivity throughout the office.
From the layout of the offices, to planning the organising of the different departments, it will affect the workflow, the ability to meet deadlines or build an effective team, and essentially, a successful business.
Poor and unintentional planning in this regard, may contribute to high stress levels in the office, which in turn may lead to high levels of frustration, and negatively impact employee relationships. It will also counteract the best attempts to improve team spirit through team building events, or incentives.
It starts with practical decisions by putting the needs of the personnel first, in order to promote optimum collaboration. If you have high expectations of your employees’ performance, you have to create an environment that will enable them to achieve it.
They discover that they don’t have all the basic skills required for by the business, and they are not yet in a position to appoint someone else to do it.
Every business or company has different departments, such as sales and marketing, accounting and finance, production, management, etc. It is important that the departments are organised in a practical way to enable the best possible workflow and collaboration.
For instance, in an advertising agency, you would want your Copywriters and/or Account Executives, Graphic Designers and Traffic Manager, in the same area, and the CEO would want his CFO nearby to enable him to make informed decisions.
Having said that, you also want all the departments to have quick access to the boardroom. If the CEO decides on the spur of the moment to call for a meeting, he doesn’t want everyone to take 15 to 20 minutes to arrive in the boardroom, for a five-minute meeting.
As much as emails could be the first choice of communication in any business, sometimes a short meeting is required to bring everyone involved on the same page, after which they can return to their desks and carry on with their work.
The streamline of workflow is a cornerstone in the foundation of any successful business, and this is especially true within the dynamic environment of an advertising agency. Here, the workflow is not only a matter of efficiency but also of creative synergy and timely delivery.
The Importance of Workflow in an Advertising Agency:
For an advertising agency, the optimal workflow is crucial. Teams should be strategically grouped based on the size of the agency and its clients. This could mean large open-plan offices or smaller, more intimate workspaces for enhanced communication and functionality.
The Traffic Manager plays a pivotal role in distributing work and coordinating workflow. Their ability to communicate in person with team members is vital for tracking progress and meeting deadlines.
Without physical proximity, the speed of completing tasks, such as finalizing advertisements or sending proofs to clients, is compromised. The unpredictable nature of the advertising industry demands flexibility and quick turnarounds.
Proximity ensures better cooperation and reduces the likelihood of delays and misunderstandings, which could otherwise lead to errors.
An office layout that hinders workflow can adversely affect the well-being, focus, and productivity of employees, leading to a decline in morale and team spirit.
High-stress levels from poor workflow can cause friction and misplaced blame among employees, underlining the importance of a well-thought-out office layout to foster an environment conducive to peak performance.
Working in a fast-paced environment where accuracy, creativity and focus is non-negotiable, employees need everything to work together well. Every small thing that works against that, will negatively impact the processing of work and cause unwanted extra stress, in an already pressurised office.
Therefore, every detail of a business or company should be taken into consideration to stimulate productivity and efficiency, as well as promote employee wellness and success. Once employees begin to lose their motivation, or there is an atmosphere of animosity in the office, it becomes a problem.
Create an office environment that your employees will want to come to every day, an office environment that clients will want to be a part of and do business in. It all starts with the planning, layout and design of the office.
Don’t take it lightly, but rather envision and plan that office that will be the stage on which the success of the company can be built!
If you have a small business and are not in a position to rent your own building or to create an impressive office, as described above, we have a solution for you. Whether you need a hot desk, a coworking space or a boardroom, we cater for your need at cost-effective prices, with hourly, daily and monthly rates.
Alternatively, if you just started your business, but want to show your clients that you are serious about your business, you can rent a working space, or, you can impress your clients with a virtual office. Whatever option you choose, we have everything you need to build your business.
Jason Scholtz is the visionary force behind Liquid Hub, a game-changing co-working space that has been redefining the traditional office landscape since 2019. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, Jason has successfully built a vibrant community where creativity and collaboration are at the forefront. Located in strategic locations, including the bustling heart of Boskruin, Liquid Hub offers a unique blend of flexibility, essential resources, and networking opportunities. Jason’s leadership has been instrumental in providing freelancers, startups, and businesses of all sizes with an environment that fosters growth and success. When he’s not busy transforming workspaces.
Liquid Hub offers Office rentals, Coworking, flexible office spaces and meeting spaces to let