For a small business, happy and efficient employees are your biggest assets. So it’s important to organize your office space to promote collaboration, productivity and comfort.
But office renovations aren’t always cheap, and your time is valuable. Consider these three simple, productivity-enhancing updates when designing or re-organizing your office:
1. Have an open floor plan.
Dwight Zahringer. CEO of Trademark Productions Inc., a digital agency specializing in Internet marketing and Web consulting and Web design and development in Royal Oak, Mich., says that his employees enjoy the absence of cubicles, as there are only three closed-off offices in the workplace: “Everyone else is in an open space and there’s self-management of time,” he says.
Employees are able to move tables and chairs around freely for discussion and group work. “An open environment helps people to work better while policing themselves,” he says. “Employees enjoy openness, and at the same time, management is watching.” View photos of Zahringer's office here.
2. Replace empty offices with “huddle rooms.”
“Huddle rooms” are creative, alternative spaces for group collaboration and brainstorming, says Sandy Marsico, principal and founder of Chicago-based marketing and design firm, Sandstorm Design Inc., who transformed two empty offices into huddle rooms (shown on right). “We have large white boards on the walls, colorful rugs and soft lighting to change the mood,” she says. “The biggest impact is the great creative work we get out of the huddle rooms, as well as maintaining some peace and quiet in the larger open work space.”
With a small table in the center, huddle rooms are limited to four chairs in order to distinguish them from conference rooms. “In our giant loft office, it can get noisy really fast,” says Marsico. But in huddle rooms, it’s often messy with thought and vision: “It was the best square footage I’ve ever leveraged—we turned commotion into collaboration,” Marsico says.
3. Enhance your amenities.
Updating or adding features in your kitchen or break room is an easy way to boost employee morale and foster collaboration. Zahringer revamped the kitchen area in his office to include a large, centralized coffee bar with bar stools.
“It’s the little things that make people really happy,” he says. “We host casual client meetings where we can utilize the space and be more collaborative. [Employees] know that they can jump into the coffee bar and still get work done.”
Related Resource: Hidden Workplace Distractions—and How to Eliminate Them