Cracking the furniture code: how to design the right workspace for your business

Employers and schools appreciate that all staff and students are different. What they might not realise is that these different people also have very different workspace needs.

By thinking about the diverse factors that influence the way people work and study (and empowering staff and students to choose where they work best) companies and schools can see significant boosts in morale and productivity.

What to consider

Here are the main things companies need to consider when creating or updating a workspace:

  • Personal factors – Age has a pretty big impact on how people like to work and study. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers usually prefer a dedicated desk, while Millennials gravitate towards more flexible work environments. Personality type is also a factor – introverts work best in a quiet environment, and extroverts thrive with a lot of background noise and social interaction.
  • Type of work – What sort of work is needed to be done, and how can you best design your space for these activities? A creative agency will benefit from an office that encourages collaboration, while a financial services firm may want more of a focus on solo work.
  • Ergonomics – A healthy employee and student is a happy and productive one. Make sure individuals have variety of choice of sitting, standing or lounging, and consider any specific ergonomic requirements for each role.

Choosing your furniture

Once you’ve identified the needs of staff and students, you can start investigating the different types of workspaces that meet those needs. Some of the ones you’ll want to look at are:

  • Workstations – The desk still has an important role but these days it’s more than a boring lump of wood. Height-adjustable desks give the choice to sit or stand, while easily movable workstations promote collaboration and teamwork.
  • Focus pods – Small, quiet rooms let staff and students settle in and crank through some serious solo work. Comfort is key, as is insulating the pods from any significant background noise.
  • Group spaces – Most workspaces benefit from a range of collaborative areas. This includes traditional meeting rooms as well as less formal breakout spaces.
  • Community spaces – Shared ‘non-work’ areas build a sense of community and encourage casual collaboration. Break rooms, a canteen, picnic tables and recreational areas are some of the things to consider here.
  • Assembly areas – Large spaces for events, presentations and whole-of-company meetings provide a sense of importance and occasion.

Get expert advice

Companies and schools need to think about all of these things carefully, as well as take into account the latest design trends and research in the field of organisational culture. It’s an art as well as a science, and it can get pretty confusing.

That’s why you might want to bring in an expert. Someone who knows every corner of the furniture industry, stays on top of all the latest research, and can design a workspace solution to meet the needs of your staff and students as well as your company and school.

For more information on OfficePace’s needs-driven approach to workspace planning, visit officepace.com.au.

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