How has the British workplace evolved in recent years?
As employers have recognised that staff do not need to be desk-bound to do their jobs, combined with employee demands for more flexible working, there was an increase in people working from home. That is, a rise in transient workers with no fixed work base.
Many offices have downsized or used the freed up space for other purposes such as kitchen and dining areas, breakout spaces and meeting rooms. But now, with a realisation that people still need human contact and time with the team for inspirational brainstorming, there’s been another shift.
These veritable nomads want the flexibility to be able to come into the office if they wish. But I haven’t got a desk anymore? We hear them cry. It is the plight of the transient workers.
Office design for transient workers
There is a need to rethink office design to cater for transient workers and create collaborative areas for team gatherings.
This is where Trevor Blake really cuts the mustard. Here are our top three tips for making sure your office design works for employees that might not be office-based fulltime:
While each having a desk of one’s own is unlikely in those offices that have downsized, the organisation and feel of the workspace should be considered so it suits everyone who uses the space.
Some like to work in chaos while others crave order, as long as each employees leaves the desk neat once they’ve finished using it there’s no reason why they cannot put their personal stamp – be it quirky cat pictures, countless coffee cups or piles of books – on it while in use.
We suggest a desk that has multiple filing and storage options so that each user’s mess can be swept away and kept in their own personal storage space so nothing, even the employee’s sense of identity, gets lost.
Obvious but all-important, you can’t compromise on comfort if you want your workers to perform.
While they might be happy to tap away on a laptop in bed when working from home, you can make sure you’re looking after them as you should when they’re on your watch. Ergonomic chairs and desks – adjustable to suit different heights and needs – are a must for keeping transient workers’ postures in line.
Other considerations are footrests, ergonomic mice, wrist rests on mouse mats and below keyboards and monitors of varying sizes and with adjustable positioning. What about ventilation and lighting?
Anything natural is a bonus but there are smart alternatives available in the world of air-conditioning and electric lighting and these are always key in our office design considerations.
A truly inspirational workspace cannot be achieved simply by zoning out part of the office and jazzing it up with some colourful paint and furnishings, careful design is required.
We always think about how we can incorporate a collaborative working space within an office layout, not as an aside.
These should be spaces that are as flexible as the people using them, with functional furniture (perhaps modular) that can be moved around to accommodate needs.
The decoration is important also, nobody feels creative in a sterile and oppressive environment.
Bold colours, artwork and creative imagery were named as desirable office design elements in Capital One’s Work Environment Study and, done tastefully and in keeping with the business brand and ethos, this can work wonders.
Just take the new office design layout we created for SES Water, with its breakout space and collaborative and flexible working areas.
Trevor Blake has used these shrewd office design techniques when refurbishing and installing new offices for a number of businesses in the south-east of England.
Get in touch if you would like more information on office design for transient workers or if you would like us to quote for your office design, refurbishment or furniture installation.