In 2015, the Millennial generation became the largest in the workplace, larger than even Gen X and Baby Boomers, according to the Pew Research Center. About 33 percent of workers today are Millennials, born between 1982 and 2004. These numbers are important for employers to keep in mind, particularly since immigration is predicted to expand the numbers of the Millennial generation in the workplace. When it comes to interior design, what may have been successful in the past to increase productivity may not be as successful anymore. While giving employees flexibility and control in many design choices has always been a key in encouraging productivity, it is increasingly essential today. Here are five interior design ideas that many companies are using to improve their workers’ productivity. Some companies only use one idea, while others use various combinations.
Idea 1: Give Workers More Choices
One interior design idea to boost office workers’ productivity is to give employees more choices of spaces in which to work. This is especially attractive to Millennials and means deploying a mix of zones in interior design. The roots of this concept begin about 2008, when companies turned to open offices in order to conserve costs and save space. The open office trend has received mixed reviews as far as worker productivity; some people say that the increase in noise drastically hurt productivity. What many companies did notice is that employees do best when they have a variety of work spaces to choose from. At some periods during the day, they want to be alone to focus. At other times, they want to collaborate and let the creative juices flow. So, one interior design idea that has become popular is to design a variety of workstations such as open offices, cubicles and conference rooms that make it fun and easy for employees to be as productive as possible according to their needs at the moment. One way is to build common areas and nooks near each other. Booths and strategic placement of conference rooms in public areas are two other approaches.
Idea 2: Offer Amenities
One ultimate aim of quality workplace design is to make workers’ lives easier, thereby making them more productive. An approach that has been effective for many companies is to provide for a range of employee needs under one roof. For example, if they can drop their children off at daycare, grab a cup of coffee, work out at a gym and even do their banking under one roof, they become much more efficient and save time. Instant productivity. It is well worth the while of many businesses to study the feasibility of designing amenities in their offices. A company need not go all out, either. Simple amenities such as ping-pong tables, bike racks and fitness classes help employees’ productivity.
Idea 3: Portable, Easily Movable Systems
Two hallmarks of people in the Millennial generation are their environmental consciousness and their need for flexibility. Enter portable, easily movable systems. As company hierarchies have moved from strict top-down arrangements to more of a flat structure, interior designs have evolved as well. Teams form and dissemble often, with different folks joining new teams every few months. Combining zoned design (see Idea 1) with portable systems gives employees maximum flexibility. They retain optimal collaboration and brainpower ability, and do not need to sacrifice anything. However, for Ideas 1 and 3, it is important to ensure technological viability. Companies should equip as many areas as possible with Wi-Fi and any other necessary technology.
Idea 4: Biophilic Design
Another way to design with a green focus is to use biophilic design, or design that links people to nature. It includes simple but effective touches such as placing flowers and plants throughout an office space. It also calls for design that reduces clutter, such as desks that provide many organizational solutions. On a larger scale, biophilic design may include installing fountains and green space in a lobby, and using large, even floor-to-ceiling, windows to let in natural light. Artwork is oriented toward nature, for instance, with nature-themed paintings in place of windows in spaces where window installation is not possible.
Idea 5: Ergonomics
Design on a small scale is critical for worker productivity. After all, employees do not work as well when they are sitting in ill-fitting chairs. So, no matter how big the picture a company looks at for interior design, the small picture is essential, too. Good ergonomic design involves items such as computer screen supports, footrests, adjustable chairs, desks and conference tables, and palm rests. Even the right keyboards, mice, anti-glare devices and floor mats make a huge difference. Ergonomics also considers other factors such as how much room an employee has to move in, the noise level and even the temperature.
There is no question that interior design has the potential to greatly enhance office workers’ productivity. Giving employees fun and easy control over where they work is a great start, as is promoting their connection to nature. They must be able to work comfortably, and many people appreciate amenities such as bicycle racks and gyms that help them save time and be more productive overall.