The world’s best workplaces and how to enhance your company with a ‘happy office’
Which companies offer the best office environments on the planet for employees to work? From creative tech giants to innovative architect companies, brands all over the globe strive to create a positive workplace culture via their offices’ decors and furnishings — but why?
From boosting staff morale to increasing productivity, there are plenty of reasons companies should invest in the look and tone of their office. Find out why workplace décor can benefit your business and how you can incorporate key interior design trends to enhance your brand.
Why is a ‘fun office’ important for a business?
If we head into the office to work, do we really need games, activities and quirky interior design features? Research shows that, to get ahead, you do. The Centre of Economic and Business Research found that absenteeism costs the UK economy £18 billion in lost productivity, with this figure expected to increase to £21 billion by 2020.
Making the workplace a positive, communicative place is essential to keeping spirits high and even helping combat feelings of anxiety or depression. Mental health charity, Mind, conducted a poll of more than 12,000 workers in 2017, which found that 48% of public sector employees and 32% of private sector workers have taken time off their jobs due to mental health issues. Could creating an environment that promotes happiness, staff welfare and communication help staff members discuss worries and issues before they get to the stage where time off is necessary?
Not only is pushing for workplace positivity beneficial from an employee perspective, but it’s also advantageous for the business as a whole. According to statistics from the Centre for Mental Health, it costs £21.2 billion in lost productivity, £10.6 billion in sickness and £3.1 billion in staff turnover to cover the costs of mental health problems at work. Clearly, there are both personal and financial reasons to support investing in your workplace’s ethos and environment — but where can you get your inspiration?
Innovative office design trends
There are some amazing office spaces in 2018. But you don’t have to be global conglomerate or billion-pound company to get in on the trend. Here is a selection of some of the best offices in the world and how they work to boost staff morale and productivity.
This BBC base located in Salford, north-west England is a maze of futuristic décor. With security guards monitoring the area on Segways and a quirky combination of bold and bright colours, this office creates a sense of innovation and positivity. There’s also a real focus on collaboration at BBC MediaCityUK, with lots of multi-coloured ‘thought wheel’ chairs that arch over to encapsulate the seated grouped and plenty of comfy sofas dotted around the entire office for quick chats and spontaneous mindmap sessions.
Found in Toronto, Canada; Corus Entertainment invested £119 million into its headquarters, Corus Quay. Stepping into here in the morning, staff are greeted by giant TVs, board meeting tables inspired by ice hockey, and even a three-storey slide! The designers here have really focused on visual stimulation — swapping the boring for the interesting to boost levels of engagement.
This architect business in Madrid, Spain has to be seen to be believed. Built half submerged in the ground to make the office cooler in summer and warmer in winter, staff are presented with stunning views of the sprawling, tranquil forest every day. As vast open spaces and natural environments often inspire calm and relaxation, this is a nice touch from the designers.
Many of us already know about Google’s American bases and the array of fun activities and zany interior design tricks they have implemented, but have you heard about the tech giant’s Zurich base? Here, staff get free massages and a wine cellar. What’s more, the site is cleverly located near the beautifully peaceful Lake Zurich, making it ideal for mind-clearing nature walks during work breaks. Clearly, thought has gone into de-stressing!
Not only is relaxation important for Google staff, but it appears that socialisation is crucial, too. At 5pm, employees reportedly head to the office bar for drinks, snacks and a catch-up with their peers!
Based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire; the £3 million money.co.uk office delivers a truly unique and quirky décor. With a gym, games room, cinema, and offer of free food; the emphasis is on fun at this workplace. When it comes to inspiring productivity and communication, the informal seated areas and open-plan design create a sense of inclusivity and participation — perfect for getting the most out of team meetings and encouraging all staff members to voice concerns and suggestions.
Innovative office design trends
Clearly, the scope is huge when it comes to how you can create a positive working environment to encourage productivity, happiness and communication among staff. Here are some tips for transforming your office into a positive and collaborative environment that your staff will enjoy.
Make your meeting rooms inclusive and interactive
If you want to encourage team development, the design of your meeting rooms is essential. Instead of drab, small, stuffy rooms; create a selection of spruced-up spaces featuring comfy furniture and big, circular tables to help everyone relax and get involved.
Invest in positive colours
Warm and ‘happy’ colours — such as orange and yellow — promote positivity. So, consider painting your office or purchasing furniture in these shades. According to research, blue and green promote relaxation and calm, so perhaps make your communal zones these shades to help staff unwind on their breaks.
Create spaces for relaxation
As we’ve seen in the above examples of the best office spaces, offering places for employees to ‘zone-out’ for a while is a popular tactic for successful businesses. No matter how small your office, you can always create a ‘time-out’ zone. A few comfy chairs and perhaps a selection of books and magazines will suffice. If possible, you could hook up a TV or even buy a table football stand.
Go ‘open plan’
Instead of having a series of rooms, try to make your office more open plan to promote communication. As Steve Jobs once said: “Ideas don’t happen in the boardroom, they happen in corridors.” Install low dividers instead of walls so that people don’t feel segregated — this can even cut the cost of construction and office equipment.
Use artwork to add colour and character to your office instead of the same old plain walls. Customise posters and canvases to drive home your company’s mission statement and show all your staff that they are working towards a collective goal every day.
Make it unique
You don’t have to be as quirky as the examples above but try to choose furnishings and a décor that is personal to your brand and its workforce. Why not let staff customise their desks? This may help them feel more valued and they could bring in items that inspires or calms them during stressful days.
Your company may not have the petty cash to lavish your employees with free massages or trips abroad, but that’s not to say you can’t treat your staff to something now and then to keep up morale. Anything from free snacks in the communal kitchen to a quarterly team-building exercise outdoors will work towards creating a positive workplace culture that shows employees that you appreciate their efforts.
Start planning your office transformation today…