Farewell, old office! A modern workplace requires a more personal approach

If in 2020 we were all forced to work from home, then this year we could start working outside the home walls again according to need or desire. Many of us have become used to the comforts of the home office, and the question inevitably arises as to how to reconnect people so that teamwork does not disappear. What should the offices be like for best performance?

According to Jarmo Oidermaa, the head of OCCO Estonia, the office is no longer a sterile place where people just work, but it is becoming a space where people connect, and new ideas are born.

“The environment must inspire the people who work in your company, because it influences the behaviour of employees, which in turn creates the company’s culture,” emphasizes Oidermaa. This is one of the reasons why one should consider choosing the right colours, materials and furniture in offices – it all affects people in one way or another.

The environment affects people’s productivity

Today, work-life balance is an important keyword in shaping the workplace, and people’s mental and physical health is becoming increasingly important.

With regards to the specifics of the workplace and the trends that are becoming important, more and more offices are starting to offer people with different needs the relevant solutions. Not all people think the same, and as a result, the needs of their work environment are not the same.

“Having furnished over ten Bolt’s offices across Europe, we know what different sized teams expect from their workplace,” says Oidermaa. At the office, it is important to consider the balance between small and large rooms, enclosed and open office spaces, kitchen and rest areas that encourage communication, and of course, ventilation, lighting, and sound systems. “Our experience shows that we should first interview employees to find out their needs and only then commence with planning phase,” he adds.

“The whole space around us and what’s in it affects us both emotionally and cognitively,” notes Oidermaa – everything around us also affects our productivity and cooperation in the work environment.

You have to leave your workplace in a good mood

Office spaces, where people come to work, are increasingly becoming a destination where people want to come, rather than have to come.

The world is moving in a direction where the boundaries between work and private life are becoming increasingly blurred. This is also the most important keyword when designing office spaces. “The well-being of the employee is central to the design of the workplace,” explains Oidermaa. According to him, it is necessary to make sure that when employees come to the office, they leave feeling at least as good or even better at the end of the day.

If a company wants to create strong values and a sense of belonging, it is necessary to think about such things. “I believe that the company’s office should be used as a strategic tool,” explains Oidermaa.

Less working alone, more brainstorming

The global pandemic has brought about great changes in the way office space is perceived today. Whereas in the past ergonomic aspects were the most important thing in planning a workplace, so that a people could do their individual work, today it has changed a lot. Up to 50% of the time people spend attending meetings or working together. It has also led to changes in the office structure by providing employees more different spaces where they can work together.

This has also led to a new way of thinking when designing office spaces, with fewer workstations being needed to work individually. Now, one has to consider that when people come to the office, they want to mingle, exchange ideas, collaborate and brainstorm.

Instead of spending all day at the office on work, people have to be able to switch off and play video games, listen to music, and so on. “Today, the office must be comfortable and create a feeling of being at home,” emphasizes Oidermaa.

An environment that allows you to do everything

Oidermaa describes how a different design was ordered for OCCO’s Amsterdam office. “We told the architect that we need an environment where any idea that comes up during the day can be carried out,” he notes. Be it a place to relax or hold business meetings.

There is a space in the office where employees can take their mind off from work together with their colleagues, but there are also places to do individual work and a suitable area for parties or other informal events – the office must provide these opportunities today. “This sums up quite well the idea that the workplace is increasingly becoming a place where work and private life are combined,” adds Oidermaa.

Thus, the new office space is first and foremost a place to meet and exchange ideas. “Yes, of course people still perform work-related tasks in the office, but that no longer means rows of cubicles,” Oidermaa emphasizes.


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