Workplace Design that Enhances Company Culture

Jan 31 2023
Outline sketch of a interior office space overlaid onto photo.

Much about the way we work has changed over the past several years. The size of workstations, collaboration areas, technology, and employee priorities are just the tip of the iceberg.

As the working world continues to evolve, it is more important than ever for companies to re-evaluate their spaces to create safe and modern working environments. While now may not seem like the best time to consider renovating your office, a renovation might be the best solution to creating a comfortable and cost-effective office space that improves your employees’ experience and effectiveness. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider embracing this important undertaking.  

1. Optimizing your space.  

Renovating your office not only provides your space with an updated look but can also help optimize the space to best fit your company’s workflow. The layout of your office is incredibly important and will differ depending on how many employees you have, the industry you work in, and the type(s) of work being performed in the office.  

When working on an office renovation, design professionals examine the space based on the individual company’s requirements. Based on these personalized considerations, the designer will set up functional zones and workspaces.  

This workplace was designed to promote flexibility and collaboration with plenty of diverse seating types and meeting spaces for employees to work independently, in a small group, or in a large group.

2. Increasing employee wellness and productivity.

For many of us, the bulk of our day is spent at work; in fact, the average person spends 90,000 hours at work throughout their life. Since so much of your employees’ time will be spent at work, quality workspace design is vital to a less stressful and more productive working environment. 

Renovating your office comes with a variety of benefits for both you and your employees. Studies show that people who work in bright, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing offices are more productive and engaged.  

Finding a design team that is knowledgeable in wellness design and can implement WELL Building Standards and/or Fitwel into the design of your space is one way to ensure your space is designed with the occupants’ well-being in mind. The WELL Building Standard and Fitwel are building rating systems focused exclusively on occupant health. Both certifications are backed by rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific studies.  

This workplace was designed to bring the outdoors indoors. Natural wood finishes seen on the feature wall to the left, plenty of bright lighting from the windows to the right and center, as well as plenty of greenery from the various office plants create a relaxing atmosphere.

A few examples of design solutions that can help boost employee wellness and productivity include:

Developing Collaborative Spaces, Private Spaces, and Social Spaces   

For many years, open plan workspaces have been a popular layout choice for companies across the country. There are several benefits to having an open, flexible floor plan such as fostering stronger employee collaboration; however, it is also important that employees have quiet, private spaces to work when needed. Creating different work zones will allow your team members flexibility for collaborative or focused work.  

Many companies are choosing to move away from the popular open floor plan and choose to implement Activity Based Workplaces (ABW) and Neighborhood-based Choice Environments (NCE) into their offices.

Activity Based Workplaces encourage movement and empower workers to select the right space for the tasks they are working on. Activity based workplaces are designed to be an ecosystem of spaces that allow for solo work, collaboration, and learning. This layout requires the designer to create spaces that encourage employees to be flexible and less reliant on having an assigned desk or workspace.  

Neighborhood-Based Choice Environments create a “neighborhood” or home for different teams to operate from while still allowing for workers to have access to a variety of work settings. This layout still provides employees with the flexibility to choose where they work, but also provides them with a sense of “belonging” by giving their team a designated space.

Creating flexible, ergonomically crafted workspaces    

Most office workers spend most of their day sitting. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can negatively impact health and wellness and increases the likelihood of developing depression, anxiety, and other mental and physical health issues. Designing flexible workspaces with ergonomic furniture can help alleviate the stress of sitting all day and help your employees feel more comfortable at work. Ergonomic furniture is designed with the movement of the human body in mind and is easily adjustable to suit many body types.

These standing workspaces are designed to promote wellness and physical activity for workers. The desks shown in this photo can be adjusted so workers can alternate between sitting and standing.

Rethinking Your Office Lighting Design to Maximize Natural Lighting  

A study conducted by the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University showed that employees sitting within 10 feet of a window reported an 84% decrease in eyestrain, headaches, and other vision issues. Adding skylights or additional windows are a few ways you can increase the presence of natural light in your office. Maximizing the amount of natural light in your office will help your employees’ physical and mental well-being, increase their productivity, and reduce utility bills.   

Improving indoor air quality    

Many office workers spend most of their workdays inside. Multiple factors contribute to the quality of air inside of a building including the design and maintenance of building ventilation systems, moisture and humidity, and pollutant sources both in and outside of the building.   

Maintaining good indoor air quality requires attention to the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, the design and layout of the space, and pollutant source management.

A few design solutions that can help improve indoor air quality are:  

  • Creating smoke-free environments both in and outdoors. Integrating signage that prohibits indoor and outdoor smoking, including e-cigarettes.  
  • Upgrading the HVAC system.

3. Creating safe working environments.  

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your facility’s users have a safe space. Offices that have not been renovated in a while can have safety concerns as well as legal issues if the space no longer complies with safety, security, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. You can mitigate this liability by hiring an architect or interior designer to analyze your space and recommend ways to address any non-code compliant items.  

The design of our Asheville office is meant to promote collaboration and wellness. This workplace was designed to allow lots of natural lighting to come in through the windows and allow employees plenty of personal and collaborative space.

4. Highlighting your company’s brand.  

A renovation is the perfect opportunity to incorporate your company’s branding into your office. Your future clients and potential employees derive their first impression of your company through your branding. Carrying your branding throughout your office is another way to reinforce your company and core values.  

Your company branding should go far beyond showing your logo at the reception desk. Your branding should flow throughout all spaces of your office and should seek to highlight your company’s personality, core values, and products or services offered.  

Adwerx's headquarters was designed to showcase their company culture with branded design and intentional layout. The open design of this office shows that the company values collaboration. Quality workplace design has enhanced this space significantly.

5. Strengthening employee attraction and retention.  

When it comes to retaining your staff, or finding new people to join your team, there are many varied factors to consider, such as overall job satisfaction, company culture, and compensation. However, many managers overlook the importance that the design of your office plays in the overall happiness of your current employees and in attracting new employees.  

A well-designed workspace leads to improved retention, decreased turnover, and more interest in your company. As you plan to re-design your office, take a moment to evaluate what are your employees’ top priorities, as well as what spaces are being used the most in your office and why. Collecting this data is important to retaining your employees. It gives them a voice in the design process and ensures that you are designing with them in mind.  

Workplace wellness and flexibility are two key priorities that today’s workers look for when applying for a new position. Employees today are looking for a balanced working environment that gives them the flexibility to work where they choose. They want to know that their employer values their well-being so that they can focus on producing high quality work. Your office renovation should reflect the values of your company and those important to your workforce.

The recent changes in working culture might make it seem like renovating your office is an unnecessary expense; however, now may be the best time. Giving your office a brand-new look can help motivate your staff by making their work environment more functional and comfortable and can help attract new employees and new clients to your business.  

Willow Tree ATC Office