By Dahna M. Chandler
One of the fastest ways for a small business to become more productive (thus more profitable) is to create a more comfortable workplace. Focusing on comfort shows employees you are invested in their job satisfaction and career success, two occupational factors that are very important to them. As far as they’re concerned, this employee engagement strategy never goes out of style. It increases team morale, overall employee loyalty, and professional collaboration, all of which ultimately raise profitability.
Investing in your employees advances your business goals in numerous ways. Make employees feel positive about working for you by incorporating sustainability practices, such as recycling and furniture rental, into your business environment. Furniture rental, in particular, is an easy, cost-effective way to regularly incorporate small business trends into your office design.
Start with Your Floor Plan
You probably can’t alter the physical structure of your floor plan, but the layout of your furniture shouldn’t be hard to change. It’s also simple to adapt your furniture to the employees’ and the business’ shifting needs if you opt for a flexible option like furniture rental.
Debra Duneier, owner of EcoChi, an environmentally conscious interior design firm in New York City, believes office design should focus on the experience of those who spend most of their waking hours in the workplace. “Taking a professional look at your floor plan is the first step to the space planning that leads to a creative, supportive, and interconnected office community,” she says. Once you identify what is working and what needs to change, you can make appropriate design decisions.
Design Traffic Flow for Collaboration
“Your office might have open seating, but your people still settle at their desks and work alone at their computers,” says Duneier. That often means they aren’t connecting with their coworkers. “You have to be strategic about planning a collaborative atmosphere,” she adds.
Start by arranging the furniture layout so it naturally guides your people around the office in a way that ensures collaboration. “Strategically place the office water cooler in a place that requires people to walk through the office to get there,” suggests Duneier. “That motivates people to say ‘hello’ to their colleagues on the way, talk to each other about their projects, and get and share creative insights and solutions on work,” she continues. Employees working together often achieve improved outcomes on projects that affect the success of the business.
If your offices are large, use various wall colors for different parts of the office to help both employees and clients navigate. “It’s a way to help people orient themselves since you don’t want people feeling disoriented when they’re in your office,” explains Duneier. “For new employees and remote staff who aren’t always at your office, the wall color strategy reduces anxiety and confusion,” she continues.
“Smart office design starts with a floor plan purposefully designed as a wayfinder to colleagues,” says Duneier. “That creates community, a healthier environment, and happier employees,” she adds. “The ROI in investing in office design so employees feel aligned with your small business comes from helping you retain them.”
Use Furniture to Facilitate Teamwork
Reorganizing your office for effective teamwork doesn’t have to be costly. Furniture rental allows you to accommodate individual staff needs without spending large sums of money. Avoiding a large upfront investment also makes it easier to fully outfit office space, and pieces are easily returned when they are no longer needed.
It’s easy to create various workspace setups for different employees to promote teamwork. “For example, some staff want to work in teams, so installing workstations where four or more can work together is ideal,” Duneier says. Set these types of stations up where colleagues face one another while working.
Other employees want more privacy, especially in open floor plans. “One way of creating a feeling of privacy in an open space is creating workstations where not everyone is facing the same direction,” states Duneier. “Bookcases, file cabinets, panels, and lighting are essential for privacy creation.” Consider office cubicle systems for more introverted employees. They’re also ideal for senior staff members and those who need to make sales calls or meet clients often.
Don’t forget the needs of remote employees. “Most are used to working from home, so incorporate elements into your office design that bring home to the office,” Duneier says.
Rent accessories like rugs, artwork, and floor lamps along with furniture. “Get professional help to lay out furniture the best way possible,” says Duneier. That approach is especially important if you need to fit a large number of people into a limited amount of space. Address various physical needs with ergonomic chairs, standing desks, or adjustable furniture that moves around a space.
Don’t forget to consider large items like conferences tables for conducting group projects and large staff meetings. “For those meetings to feel most collaborative, use an oval or round table,” says Duneier.
Increase employee engagement by incorporating the latest office trends into your workplace without breaking the bank. For the greatest flexibility, work with the professionals at CORT Furniture Rental to develop a plan for all your furniture needs.