Every day, more employees are choosing to work longer hours because the demands of the business are increasing. Since they want to maintain a separate work life from home life, employees will often choose to put in an extra hour or two at the office.
Why are they putting these hours in? It may be because their workload has increased.
But it’s worth considering whether the office layout is hindering employee productivity, thus contributing to the necessity for longer hours.
For example, if an employee is uncomfortable at her desk, or has trouble hearing or concentrating due to an open office design, she may take twice as long to complete tasks. If there is only one conference room available for private meetings, then collaborative work sessions–which often speed up communication and decision-making–may be delayed, slowing down entire teams. These teams then feel pressured to work longer to get things done.
Take a good look around your current office. Identify bottlenecks in productivity, heavy traffic areas, limited room or access, lack of comfort or resources. Write down what your needs are for each room or space–if you can’t identify what exactly you need, write down the problem itself.
The need for “smart” contemporary office layouts is increasing as business processes evolve.
If you’re struggling to usher your workplace into the 21st century and catch up with the demands of your teams, here are four modern office furniture options to consider.
Adjustable Height Desks
Adjustable height desks accomplish two things: they’re a smart use of space, and they contribute to the overall health of your employees. Studies show that sitting at desks for hours at a time can cause back and neck stress, long-term health complications, circulation issues, joint pain, and heart disease.
Often, an employee will opt to continue working at a bar-height cafe table in the lounge or a recess area to increase their comfort levels rather than reporting to Human Resources that they need a change for their workstations. It should always be communicated to employees that ergonomics and employee health are important to the company, and encourage an open line of communication for work environment requests.
Conduct a survey for your employees, or have Human Resources audit the number of employees whose tasks require hours put in at a desk. You can then get an accurate idea of how many employees should be equipped with adjustable height desks, and begin to upgrade your work space.
We’ve extolled the benefits of acoustic furniture before, but this new wave of contemporary office furniture brings with it more benefits than almost any other solution for the modern open office layout. When it takes 40 minutes instead of the proven 20 minutes to settle into a longer project or task, the culprit is often the inability to concentrate due to external factors.
In an open office, you’re dealing with music, phone conversations, impromptu desk-side meetings, and maybe even ping-pong table matches or the occasional dog bark. This can be highly stressful, especially for introverts who are forced to accomplish goals in an extrovert-designed work space.
The solution to increasing concentration, improving productivity, adding collaborative work space, and encouraging brainstorming meetings is: acoustic office furniture. From wall panels to fully designed “think pods,” these padded, soft solutions are made to absorb noise and create a sense of cocooning. This furniture is available in all ranges of colors, sizes, and modular pieces so you can mix and match based on your specific office shape and employee needs. For example, a call center will have different needs from, say, a graphic design agency or a law firm. But acoustic furniture can be used in almost every industry you can think of.
Conference Tables with Smart Tech
How many times have you walked into a Monday meeting, or had to rush to join a conference call, only to trip over laptop, VoIP speaker, and TV wires in the conference room?
When it comes to furniture outfitting, conference tables are typically considered by decision makers to be low priority, even though they are a featured staple of any commercial office space. Simply put, no team member wants to deal with changing a conference table. They’re big, they’re heavy, they can be expensive, and they often require a custom space.
But a smart modern office conference table is actually one of the best investments you can make. Save time without having to play the “Who Gets to Sit Near the Outlet?” game. A table with tech built in–and even lighting!–cuts down on bundles of wires as well as workplace hazards. Enjoy WiFi hotspots, conference speakers, additional monitors and laptops, as well as a smartphone charger within reach (and not in the corner on the conference room floor).
Filing and Storage Systems
We don’t usually talk about filing and storage systems because let’s face it: filing cabinets are not sexy. We would rather focus on cool chairs that allow you to work laying down, or the newest modular workstations outfitting a unicorn start-up.
But filing saves hours of time, and lowers stress levels for employees, especially new hires. When you have a beautiful, sleek storage system, you (and your assistant) are more likely to treat the task of organization with more care and more enthusiasm.
If you’re still operating with clunky, five-tiered silver metal filing cabinets stuck in any available corner, it’s worth taking a half hour to browse and create a concept list of new filing systems. From floating cabinets to roll-away carts to workstation add-ons and hallway skinny mailboxes, there are plenty of beautiful, modern filing system options out there.