Building an agile office design for productivity | Oaktree Interiors

It isn't just how we work that has changed over the years; with this global, increasingly digital-first economy, the needs of employees have changed too. Productivity is no longer about measuring whenever someone clocks in and out; it's about how efficiently and effectively someone uses their hours. It's all about working smarter, not necessarily harder.

Working smarter means that the environment employees perform in must be able to support them, rather than employees having to comprise how they would like to work; this is at the heart of what agile office design is all about.

The rise in agile office design

The set-up of a co-working space allows employees to choose where they work in the office;opening up a number of possibilities. Many businesses adopt remote working, in which people can take advantage of flexible internet-connecting technology to move around the office to work with whomever they need to, or even work from home and pop into the office when it suits. Then there are firms who re-imagine their offices to create new 'zones', in which lively open plan areas are balanced with private rooms, relaxation spaces and breakout rooms.

The rise in agile office design doesn't just cater for the trend of remote working and more flexible working hours, it also tells us that there is a preference for large businesses to rely on smaller, leaner teams who can show their deep expertise on each and every project.

A productive workplace is not only a flexible or a balanced one, with room for various functions, it is also agile; it is a workplace design that reflects the creativity, development and design stages that are at the centre of the work itself.

So how to place agility in a workspace?


Creating an agile workspace

When it comes to creating an agile work environment, there are a number of different areas to consider, including:

Open plan areas

The framing structure of every agile office design is the open floor concept. This type of working space can help with informal communication, organic interaction and engagement between employees, and is ideal for computer-based work.

Open office design is conscious about the space it uses, as it allows people to work on their own tasks, whilst also giving them the opportunity to converse with their colleagues sat across or at the side of them. This creates somewhat of a 'community feel' within the office, a home-from-home (and considering we spend almost as much time at work than home, this is a very welcome feeling to have!)

Resource areas

Another vital aspect of any workplace; the open area must have space allocated for the storage (and use) of the resources that employees need to complete their work. Having these facilities is crucial in ensuring that the team has easy access to everything they need; whether it'sprinters, copiers, stationery storage or recycling outlets.

To avoid any build-up of physical clutter and to cut down on the noise that will doubtless provide a mental separation for those working, the resource area should be partitioned off and cleared of any strewn paper or debris.

Breakout areas and comfortable office furniture

Offering a (more) comfortable haven from the often-stressful work arena, breakout rooms allow people a more comfortable space in which to rest, recollect,think, even to hold unofficial meetings and to build rapport with their fellows. In today's offices, they are very much a fixture; but how to design one?

The types of furniture used can vary. From sofas to benches, individual tables to small group tables to seat two or four people. Wi-Fi and electric charging points should be within easy reach and many businesses even combine their breakout room with a tea point/kitchen to give people an opportunity to grab a brew and relax. Creative collaboration and spontaneous problem-solving happens best when people are relaxed, after all.

Quiet zones

These are areas within an agile office design where privacy,silence, thinking, focus and concentration are required. To keep in line with these requirements, enclosed 'pods' or partially-covered booths are popular amongst many of today's businesses; they are designed to eliminate distraction and noise.

Quiet zones are ideally placed close to the breakout areas. Even though a number of team members may be occupying these spaces at the same time, once the team has 'broken out' from the creative environment of their dedicated collaboration zone, they will be able to immediately enter a space in which ideas expressed will still be at the forefront of their minds.

This is precisely why it's vital to have a physically allocated space that, on one hand, does not produce total isolation but rather offers a connected facility to the collaboration space, for deep thinking. This helps people to disconnect with noise and distraction, and connect with the work instead.

Touchdown area

The addition of touchdown areas within an agile office design is for when teams need to get to the heart of a project and need a way to communicate, face-to-face in a fast and easily accessible manner.

This can be achieved with the placement of long tables with one side pressed against a wall on the outer perimeters of a room, finished with chairs. Their functions can be to provide an informal, short-term workspace for remote, contract or less-frequent workers or for to catch up on quick tasks, such as organising notes or catching up on e-mails prior to a meeting.

Just like the breakout room, touchdown zones should also have Wi-Fi and charging points, with all wires able to be tucked away or beneath the table. This area should also be easy to access from a walking standpoint to communal (but enclosed) meeting rooms and breakout areas.

Looking to improve your office interiors? Get in touch with the experts

So that was our guide to building an agile office design. If you're interested in improving the effect that your workplace has on your employees'productivity, why not consider getting in touch with the expert office fitters here at Oaktree Interiors?

For many years now, we have been creating bespoke office designs for all manner of business operations; from recent start-ups to links in the chain of multinational corporations. No matter the requirements involved, we have a proven experience of creating modern working environments that lay the foundations for opportunities for businesses to grow and prosper. Why not see our case studies for more information?

To learn more about how we can help, please feel free to give our office fit out team a call on 0345 21 86955 or send an e-mail to hello@oaktreeoffice.com.

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