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7 Ways The Office Work Space Is Changing For Small Business

Anybody who is in small business or any business these days knows that technology is changing the way we do things including how you can provide a healthy environment for your team members. It's very easy for us to carry on and say that young people these days don't work as hard etc but does that really help us get on with what we want to achieve? Most businesses that want to achieve small business growth need more employees so it is interesting to note Hubspot's Linday Kolowich's recent article about how companies are finding innovative ways to change their workplace environment.
 
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Figure 1: Movable desks are all the rage in Europe. Image Credit Business Insider

1. Hot desking

Many companies like the fact that their employees can move around and stay active. Hot desking is simply when nobody has a specific assigned desk.

Pro's

  • People need to move around so they collaborate more and have more conversations with other departments;
  • Less space required where employees work part time (save occupancy costs);

Cons

  • Studies have shown that if an employee does not have a designated desk, they will still try and find a desk they can stay at without moving for the rest of the day;
  • Communication can actually drop by up to 45%.

2. Movable Desks

Some companies in Switzerland such as Skullcandy have desks that can be easily moved around and fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Pro's

  • People can collaborate more easily by moving the desks around;
  • Ability to stay "fresh" in the workplace.

Cons

  • Employees sitting together for the wrong reasons (best friends, social chatting);
  • Distractions;

3. Overlap zones

To encourage collaboration, researchers have shown that where overlap zones (where employees are more likely to run into each other) are created performance improves significantly.

Pro's

  • Better communication;
  • Communal meeting places show easier inspiration for ideas compared to sitting at a monitor.

Cons

  • Congestion;
  • Unnecessary talking outside of work.

4. music rooms

Having a music room with instruments can be a good way for employees to let off some steam.

Pro's

  • Creates a sense of a fun place to work;
  • Attractive to potential employees who are looking for a place of employment with a difference.

Cons

  • Needs sound proofing!;
  • Time limits obviously required unless the team is meeting its performance targets.

5. Pets

(Bow) Wow - this is a different one! However some companies are actually doing it.

Pro's

  • Research has shown that pets help de-stress;
  • Encourages social interaction (ice-breakers).

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Figure 2: Wouldn't Barry (& I ) love to have him at work? Image Credit Balmain Baz & Lara Scolari Gallery

Cons

  • Cord tripping - make sure you keep saving when updating lengthy computer files (joking);
  • Toilet trained?

6. Superdesk

Imagine having the one big desk for everybody in the company? A company in New York has designed the one desk for 170 people!

Pro's

  • Collaboration improvements;

Cons

  • Cost;
  • Unable to move easily;

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Figure 3:  Bags not moving this desk! Image Credit Architecture Magazine

7. plants

Research has shown that by adding plants and greenery in an office can increase productivity by 15%. Being near nature and sunlight is actually very good for you.

Pro's

  • Aesthetically pleasing;
  • Eliminates concrete jungle look;
  • Improves employee productivity.

Cons

  • Can be expensive to set up;
  • Will water be required (maintenance);


CONCLUSION:

A business plan that takes into account work space premises could actually improve productivity and profitability. Team members are extremely important for growth and attracting the best employees could be due to the feel of the office and the innovative ways your company provides their surroundings. This can not only lead to better profitability and cash flow but also to a higher business valuation as attracting good people is a major key to success these days.

How does your office look? Is it the same as everywhere else or could a small fit out pay massive dividends in the long run?

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