We’ll address some specific suggestions for designing a modern office space in the next section.
In this section, though, we’ll give you the broad strokes of what a modern office space should look like, how it should feel, and the effect it should have on those who spend their time there.
1) Stimulates Creativity, Collaboration, And Communication
The three Cs of business — creativity, collaboration, and communication — are a set of behaviors that all managers strive to promote in their team members. When the three Cs permeate everything your employees do, the result is high-quality work.
There are many ways managers and business owners can stimulate creativity, collaboration, and communication, but one of the most effective is through the environment in which their employees work.
You can stimulate creativity by incorporating bright colors into your design elements. Whether it’s a theme that extends throughout your office space or just splashes of color here and there, bright tones can elevate your employees’ creativity and help them work better.
Similarly, you can promote collaboration and communication through the arrangement of desks, furniture, and technology. As we mentioned earlier, we’ll delve into the details of this concept in the next section.
But it goes without saying that cubicles and private offices do not lend themselves to the type of collaboration and communication that you’re looking for.
2) Reduces Stress And Anxiety
In addition to stimulating the three Cs, modern office spaces should also serve to reduce stress and anxiety.
For example, industrial design elements — such as exposed metal, unfinished stone, and sharp corners — have their place as an aesthetic. But used too much, they can give your team members the sense that they are just a cog in a much larger machine.
That in itself can cause stress and anxiety to flourish.
We’re not saying you have to avoid industrial design elements altogether — some of our favorite office spaces have industrial components — but, rather, that you should temper their effects with softer, more inviting components like cushy couches, overstuffed chairs, and a more natural color palette (e.g., greens, blues, yellows, etc.).
These appealing elements help to reduce the stress and anxiety that the fast pace of modern business tends to promote.
3) Allows Team Members To Focus And Concentrate When Necessary
As we mentioned above, a modern office space should promote collaboration and communication. But there’s a fine line between just the right amount of collaboration and communication and too much.
Your team members also need a place to focus and concentrate on their own or in small groups. Your workspace should provide for this necessary activity. If it doesn’t, you run the risk of alienating the segment of your workforce that needs to be quiet and still to get things done.
At first glance, this may seem at odds with the idea of stimulating collaboration and communication. But, in reality, it’s the opposite side of the coin.
Through collaboration and communication, your employees refine the big ideas. Then they need to dig into the details by themselves to truly understand where the concept is going.
As such, your office should provide space for both of these activities to occur simultaneously. That way, your team members can transition from each activity when the need strikes them without affecting anyone else.
4) Portrays A Professional Image For Clients And Customers
While certain areas of your office space may be whimsical, strange, or just plain chaotic, other areas should portray a professional image for visiting clients and customers.
Typically, this means that you should design the front-facing areas — such as reception, visitor’s lounge, and conference room — in a more clean, uncluttered, and professional manner.
Then, when a big client comes to visit, you’re not scrambling around trying to tidy up the busy collaboration space in order to convey the refined image your company needs.
Separating these two distinct areas — client-facing and employee-facing — and designing them to be functional, user-friendly, and professional is key to making the best impression possible on those who visit your business.
5) Incorporates Biophilic Design
More and more modern office spaces are incorporating natural elements — also called biophilic elements — into their design aesthetic.
Biophilic design revolves around the premise that humans have an inherent need to connect with nature. When they make that connection, they enjoy better health, heightened concentration, increased creativity, and improved work performance.
There are many ways to add biophilic design to your office space. The easiest and most effective are:
Natural materials such as wood and stone
Natural light through large windows or glass ceilings
Plants that convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and purify the air
Running water like fountains, streams, or waterfalls
Views of nature through windows or even via paintings and pictures
Though some design elements (like running water and large windows) may not be practical in all cases, the other biophilic components are fairly simple to include in your modern office space.
6) Feels Like Home
Another excellent way to inspire your team to greatness is to design their workspace so that it feels like home. This doesn’t mean dirty dishes in the sink, clothes on the furniture, and empty pizza boxes on the table. Rather, it means that the office space is physically and mentally comfortable.
Including bright and comfortable furniture, a ping-pong table in the lounge area, and even a recreational swing or slide can make the modern office space more relaxing and stress-free.
These elements give team members a way to take short breaks to give their bodies and minds time to rest, recharge, recover, and remain productive throughout the day.
At the same time, employees can use these “homey” areas to collaborate with their coworkers or discuss work-related problems. It gives the activity a relaxed feel — like you’re shooting the breeze with a friend after a hard day’s work — that can make people feel more comfortable, creative, and open to new ideas.
Now that we’ve discussed the general issues of workspace design, let’s drill down to some specific examples of how you can get the most out of your modern office space.
Three Key Components Of The Modern Office Space
We’ve simplified the process of designing a modern office space by dividing it into three essential categories:
For each key element, we’ve provided four tips to help you develop an up-to-date office space that reflects your particular brand.