When you were young, walking to school, wasn’t there always one creaky old house that would catch your attention? It was that one house that none of the kids wanted to go near because if they did, some old man or old lady would come out yelling for you to get off the lawn. The landscaping was completely unkempt filled with spooky plants like Witch Hazel and Doll’s Eyes. Then there would be Ivy flowing over the top of the house hiding the main entrance. We would wonder to ourselves why are they worried about the lawn?  They had much bigger problems. The house was barely visible through the completely out of control foliage.  It’s not an inviting sight.  It’s eerie and unsettling. A person’s natural reaction is that it spells danger and to keep away. No one would question that gut response because it’s clear that the land and the dwelling haven’t been kept up with.  No one is minding the store so to say.  There is life there, but you ask yourself what kind of people would live in such a place?  Why don’t they care about their surroundings? These are all good questions and maybe to a lesser extent, but the same sort of questions can be asked of those who are working in outdated office spaces.

Any space that’s outdated portrays the sense that it is not cared for.  In the business world, not caring for the environment that your staff works in will immediately translate into the notion that you don’t care about the staff. Workers need a healthy upbeat environment to do their best work.  Studies show that color and vibrant modern designs inspire creativity.  Businesses today need to be agile and think out of the box.  Creativity is a necessity to get one up on the competition.  Working in a stagnant outdated environment is going to crush the worker’s spirit and their willingness to stay in the space any longer than they are required to. The workers are going to naturally gravitate to the areas of the office space that are most social and communicative.  It makes sense because we are social beings and aren’t meant to be working by ourselves behind a lead wall all day.  I feel this is especially true of the younger work force, the millennials who went to kindergarten with tablets in their hands.

Try to imagine providing a millennial a desk to work at that is from the 1950’s or even the 1970’s.  They aren’t configured for computer use.  They were built for typewriters and dictation machines. There are no adjustable arms for the computer monitor to hang off of or special hideaway drawers for the keyboard to sit in. Outdated furniture just isn’t suited for the technology needs of today.  Not only will that hurt productivity, but the non-ergonomic design can actually harm your staff physically.  Back problems and corporal tunnel cases are going to put a strain on the healthcare plan your company is providing and thus translate into a financial burden on the company.

The problems don’t just stop there.  Outdated work spaces also have archaic heating and cooling systems which will again put a burden on the staff.  Workers who are perpetually hot aren’t going to be nearly as productive as those working in just a slightly chilly space.  People that are too cold on the other hand will put on coats and gloves to stay warm and thus again impeding their ability to type and concentrate. 

Psychologist Frederick Herzberg  found that  hygiene and motivation factors in the workplace that are two factors which, if executed correctly, can lead to either employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction.   Working conditions was one hygiene factor that had to be implemented properly in order to attain employee satisfaction.

New office planning and space management takes into account how in new environments employees won’t necessarily have their own offices or even desks.  Cloud computing allows employees to walk into any environment and access their files as long as they have an Internet connection.   By allowing these freedoms employee efficiency and mood levels are increased. When employees are satisfied with their work environment, companies become more successful.  According to Jennifer Warara , global Vice President of Sage accounting services there are 5 attributes of a successful modern workspace:

  • Being creative in design so as to provide inspiration to all employees.
  • Allow workplace designs to be adaptable and easy to redesign and reconfigure.
  • Allow employee data to be accessed from anywhere.
  • Allow workspaces to be open in design so as to increase employee output and encourage interpersonal communications.
  • Allow employees to options in where they work such as break out areas for small groups of people to meet as well as quiet areas for when employees need focus time.

All of the positive attributes of the open space plan is not to say that there are no negative aspects.  Some workers have complained of noise distractions which can either be in person or on the phone.  Also there can be a sense of privacy that can be lost to the worker that they would otherwise have in a cubicle or office.   However the pros far outweigh the cons in that the flexibility provided to the modern worker better suits them for the modern business world.   With the advances of global business technology there really is no turning back. 

If you or your firm is considering updating office, industrial or manufacturing space to a more employee friendly and productivity enhancing atmosphere contact us.  

Conclusion:  Outdated office space can be harmful to your business and RI GROUP is the team to get to remedy this issue.

 

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