We all know the stereotype of a traditional office with its confined cubicles and grey walls from movies and TV shows, but these fictional depictions hold some truth to the reality of office spaces. The cubicle layout and separation between coworkers was popular just a few decades ago and its remnants have left certain businesses to deal with the repercussions of an environment that doesn’t foster unity or enjoyment. While many start-up companies have recognized the necessity for a change in tradition, some older companies might find the transition hard to commit to. Here are a few ways anyone can help make their office a bit more contemporary in its practices and appearance.
Open Floor Plans
These types of layouts aren’t necessarily recent, but still considered contemporary in comparison to the alternative. Open floor plans, unlike cubicles, foster a sense of community and communication that’s necessary for any business to function smoothly. The ability to flow through the office seamlessly encourages employees to correspond freely and with less inhibition than if there were a series of walls to bypass or corners to traverse. Connection is key when it comes to building strong workplace relationships and recognizing that the company – whether big or small – is a team that needs to work in unison.
Furthermore, studies have shown that employees are more creative and inspired when their desks face a scenic window. While this might not be possible for every office, depending on location, it is still worth noting. Rather than focusing desks in toward the office space, shifting them to face a window is a simple way of transforming the space into a motivating and energizing environment.
Keeping Things Online
Many businesses have made the switch to cloud-based storage services, however, there are a few that still work with physical files and documents. Not only is this an unsustainable work environment, it also costs the business extra in supplies that can otherwise be eradicated by storing their documents securely online. Virtual data rooms are a great alternative to that stack of paperwork on your desk and should be utilized to elevate the experience and performance of a business in today’s digital marketplace. Any confidential client or corporate information can be uploaded onto the platform easily and the administrator of the data room has complete control over who sees what data and for how long. Rather than fumbling with photocopying, printing, or mailing documents, VDRs offer instant world wide access to necessary participants.
By taking company documents online this also allows employees the opportunity to work remotely – a common tactic businesses are implementing to save money on rent. An employee can access any important information from home while still ensuring that it remains safe with the various security levels provided by the virtual data room. This creates a sense of connection between employees from every sector of a company and from anywhere around the world.
Brightening The Décor
The easiest way to make an office look that much more modern is by changing the décor and opting for all-white walls that reflect light. Much like with facing desks toward windows, white walls create the sense of a larger, brighter room that inspires motivation and productivity among employees. No one wants to spend their workday trapped in a small, dreary space and while you can’t control the physical size of the building, you can control the way it appears aesthetically. Every era seems to have their defining colours, and ours is most definitely white because of it’s simplicity and malleability. An extra step to modernizing the office would be adding plants to purify the air, create a bit of natural colour, and promote a sense of social responsibility in their daily maintenance.
Promoting Health & Wellbeing
The simplest, yet most effective, way to modernize an office environment is by promoting mental and physical health for employees. This has gone unnoticed for decades so the recent push toward speaking about mental illness both in personal and professional environments has been a refreshing change for those who are struggling to balance work and life. Provide employees with the resources to get help if they need it and remain understanding of the impact mental and physical health issues can have on work performance. The more a community shines a light on problems once brushed under the rug, the sooner we can all take action to fix them, if only slightly.
Make Your Office Dog Friendly
For those who need the assistance of support dogs and don’t want to compromise on their work life or those who simply don’t want to send their dog to a pet sitter all day, this makes an immense impact on an employee’s life. Dog friendly offices have taken off in the recent years and have become a big factor in what it means to have a “modern” office. Many job hunters look specifically for companies that can offer this along with other benefits because of how understated, yet immensely important it is for dog owners to feel comfortable when at work. While, of course, not all companies can provide this due to allergies or other factors, it can make a world of difference to the overall culture and environment of an office to have the freedom to take your dog to work or to take a break and play with a fluffy friend before tackling the rest of the day.