In the 21st century, office spaces are being revolutionised with an underlying theme of employee work satisfaction. Gone are the days of isolated offices, rigid hours and vending machines packed with unhealthy, sugary goods. These days it's all about health, vitality, job satisfaction, connections and flexibility.
The Google office space is the perfect example, where vertical ladder chutes connect the lower levels of the building to the upper levels of the building in the New York City campus. The theory around this as that not only are employees not forced to wait for the slow elevators but they can pop up or down to other levels and other teams spontaneously, which leads to what Steve Jobs labelled
Another interesting fact is that restaurants, kitchens and other snack areas litter the building so that no one is more than 45 metres away from food at any given time. This too encourages collaboration with members of other teams.
Working shouldn't be a slog in this day and age, it should be a fun and productive exercise that leaves you feeling motivated and fulfilled. Here's how to achieve your own Google office space.
Open plan offices are the latest trend, moving away from the old-school notion of crowded cubicles and desks in isolation.
From an employee perspective there are tons of advantages, including the most obvious fact that open plan makes it much easier to engage and connect with one another constantly. This enhances relationships and bonds and allows for more frequent conversations and collaborations, leading to a more productive work situation. This less formal approach to employee interaction instils a sense of trust between individuals and allows for creative and bold ideas to be bounced around without fear of being shut down.
This constant and enhanced form of networking and collaborating is better for the business or organisation, as trust and good relationships breed great ideas, progressing the company much quicker.
Open plan also means a more sustainable office space, with less costs and less impact on the environment. This is because less building materials are needed to create separate office areas and a more communal environment is created.
The right bright colours not only make the work space look cool but they can lead to higher concentration, increased motivation and enhanced creativity.
This awesome shelf by Stocubo, for example, creates a functional storage space for books but also adds a gorgeous element of yellow into the room. Psychiatrists say that yellow promotes creativity, stimulating optimism.
Bright primary colours also create a more cheerful environment and a happier space meaning that employees actually want to be at work, sitting behind their desks.
Google's offices around the globe include primary colours with brightly-coloured desks, large logos that shout from the walls, comfortable and colourful booths and all sorts of other furniture that bring in a trendy and cheerful design.
You don't have to spend as much money as Google to create this effect, however. Introduce bright primary colours into your office by painting the walls and adding peices of furniture here and there. Use vinyl art stickers to put your company logo, slogan and inspiring quotes up around the office, keeping employees motivated and excited about the brand.
Meetings around boardroom tables can be very formal and uncomfortable, leaving quieter employees feeling intimidated or shy. These employees may have the best ideas but don't speak up.
Google's modern lounge area creates a more informal, relaxed and casual space for meeting. This leads to more free-flowing conversation, more creative brainstorming and more input from the whole team.
A modern lounge area is also a lot more comfortable for employees, which means that they are likely to hang out together longer. Hanging out together longer means longer time to collaborate and come up with innovative and fresh ideas.
Offices like Google, Facebook, Pixar and Twitter have all moved towards the creation of more relaxed, informal spaces such as modern lounge areas where employees can tell their stories, bond and get to know each other. This stimulates the mind, builds trust and rapport and leads to a better working environment.
Spending eight hours or more at your desk is reason enough to ensure that your office furniture is comfortable, cushy and ergonomically sound. There is no need for bad backs, stiff necks or wrinkles from squinting at your computer screen.
Ergonomics are playing a huge role in the way that offices run these days, helping employees feel more comfortable while they are working, which ultimately leads to increased productivity. Comfortable employees are also more likely to stay in their chairs and do their work for longer periods of time.
Office ergonomics involves the right chair height for you, good posture while sitting at your desk as well as enough space between equipment. The right types of chairs and desks also play a huge role.
There are ergonomic experts around South Africa who can help turn your office into one that is healthy and comfortable, providing the best support while you spend hours hunched over a desk, staring at a computer screen.
Just like Google's rule of people always being within 45 metres of food, a cool cafeteria can change the whole culture of an office.
Being able to meet over coffee or lunch in a place that's trendy, tasty and informal is a wonderful addition to an office space, resulting in individuals fueling up on the right food, having creative brainstorming sessions without even realising it and keeping their blood sugar levels at optimal, productive levels.
Cafeteria's can also add funky design elements to any old office space with trendy booths, colourful furniture and dynamic features.
Many offices are also promoting healthier lifestyles, stocking fresh fruit and vegetables in their cafeterias, encouraging individuals to car pool, walk or cycle to work and supporting staff in weight loss efforts. A cafeteria provides a wonderful space in the office where these goals can be talked about and encouraged, all while munching on a healthy salad.
Google is currently planning the building of its Mountain View headquarters, where glass walls everywhere will be the main architectural feature.
a giant glass-encased greenhouse the building will look like one, huge piece of glass suspended across poles that hold it up. Not only will this allow for sustainability, naturally heating and cooling the building, but it ensures that the employees feel as though they are outside at all times and are one with nature.
Natural light filtering into an office space is incredibly beneficial, keeping the space temperate. It also means that employees aren't working under the harsh glare of artificial lights all day.
green buildings transition is one that is very popular in South Africa at the moment, with big corporate companies doing their best to create work environments that are eco-friendly and conscious of their employees.This glass design by Google is the next step in futuristic, office architecture.
Google is a wonderful example of where office design is heading and how employees, their health and job satisfaction play an increasing role.
Passionate about office design? Learn: How To Create The perfect Study Area For Your Child.