The world is just over 3 years removed from a global pandemic, one which heavily altered the workforce and its many nuances. As discussion continues around a return to in-office work, one of the most important factors might well be your office itself. Designing a space where your employees want to come into the office can be a major contributor to in-person work, employee retention, as well as new-recruit conversion rates. The overall layout of a workplace has continually evolved, from traditional cubicle ‘farms’ as shown in “Office Space,” to open-concept warehouses with foosball tables and beer on tap. As with art and music, design has long been a subjective medium, but today we will explore a few of the hottest trends in office space design, as well as highlight a couple of Colorado companies who have gone above and beyond in their floorplans.
Collaboration Will Conquer All
Following long periods of isolation, many companies have placed their design focus squarely on collaboration and unity. The rows and rows of cubicles have been tossed in lieu of open-concept floorplans, featuring ‘pods’ of desks, moveable furniture, and many community tables. Several companies have even moved to modular glass walls around their building interior so that when a wall may be required for privacy, the entire team still feels connected. Incorporating in-house cafes and coffee shops have also been shown as highly motivating for a return to the office.
Bringing the Comfort of the Home-Office, In-Office
Many employees experienced remote work for the first time in 2020, and many companies saw steady progress (and even improvement) in their employees’ work when completed from the couch. Replicating the comfort and warmth of the home in the office is a great way to ensure your employees are happy and motivated. Several offices can now be seen with couches, rugs, and even bean bags scattered across designated lounge areas, with employees socializing and building rapport. For an expanded experience, framed artwork, mirrors, floor lamps, and warm lighting have proven beneficial to employee mindset and happiness.
Sustainable Design Fosters Sustainable Employment
The workforce in 2023 is mindful of the environment, and even more mindful of their part in it. Numerous employees have made their employment decisions based on the sustainability of the company, including their office and building design. Ensure as much natural light as possible to cut down on power consumption, seek out eco-conscious furniture to lessen your company’s environmental impact, and where artificial lighting is required only utilize energy-efficient LED lighting.
Biophilic Design for a Growing Company
For those companies lucky enough to call Colorado home, make sure to take full advantage of our 300 days of sunlight. Incorporate as much outdoor space as possible, complete with various greenery and a bird feeder. Understandably, an outdoor environment is not applicable to all industries, but including hanging plants or even a ‘living wall’ of vines has proven beneficial to employee focus, creativity, and overall well-being. Incorporate as much wood and stone as possible, leaving the metals and sheetrock behind. Fully embracing a biophilic design strategy can also include water features or aquariums as well.
Your company is the most effective when the workforce is working. Help your employees stay in action with ergonomically designed office spaces. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) have been shown to decrease by 61% in offices that utilize ergonomic design. Focusing on active and ergonomic furnishings can directly lead to a healthier, more focused, and happy workforce. Most office spaces will now have sit/stand desks and allocations for lumbar support, but your company can take it a step further with treadmill desks, ball chairs, bike chairs, and standing mats.
Mile High Office Design
Now that we’ve established a baseline for the office design trends and highlights, let’s take a look at which local companies have employed these trends successfully.
the Trade Desk – Boulder
Striving to revolutionize the advertising industry, the Trade Desk in Boulder is right in the heart of Pearl Street Mall, providing several opportunities for socialization and recreation nearby. They have also incorporated an indoor rock wall, snack bar, and even encourage bringing your dog!
The crowd-sourced go-to for programming questions and problems, Stack Overflow embodies its community-focused culture in its Denver office. There are ping pong tables throughout the office, and a focus on communal spaces, such as the multi-functional lunchroom at the center of the office.
Gusto offers employment services across the nation, including payroll, benefits, and HR. While it was recently voted the #1 place to work in San Fransisco, the Denver office didn’t cut any corners in its design. They employ a no-shoes policy, have exclusively natural-themed furniture, and have soft booths and bean bags available all over.