Inc. magazine recently revealed their “World’s Coolest Office” list for 2015. The winners included tech names like Airbnb, Kickstarter and Bluecore, as well as entertainment companies like Warner Music UK. And while you might expect “playtime” perks like game rooms and mini-golf to dominate the list, this year’s honorees have mature amenities that incorporate comfort and creativity.
Before we dive into the elements shared by this year’s winners, let’s consider the changing office environment. The office space of prior decades was very production-oriented. Office areas were a step up from the factory floor, packing as many employees as possible into the available square footage. Things like vending machines, free coffee and a break room with a TV were considered perks. Hourly staff worked in cubicles; salaried staff and mangers had larger cubicles or offices. In many traditional businesses, this remains the design.
Now we have the free-range office of the Millennial generation, where tech startups, Internet companies and creative entrepreneurs have changed what office space looks like. We discussed open office design in a prior blog post, but to be fair, we should also acknowledge the drivers behind the trend. Modern corporate offices are not mere playgrounds; they are incubators for brainstorming, collaboration and individual production.
By necessity, today’s office spaces have changed in response to the changing nature of office work itself. Long workdays require comfortable, ergonomic furnishings; creative thinking requires freedom of movement. Competition for top employee talent requires energetic, flexible work space with a variety of amenities.
Here are common features of the “World’s Coolest Offices,” which you could adapt to your Boston Metro office space:
- Open-area work space with an abundance natural light
- Bright color in artwork, walls or furnishings, adding visual interest and energy
- Flexible-use collaboration areas
- Personal work “pods” instead of organized cubicles
- Comfortable, ergonomic furnishings; chairs, couches, nap areas, hammocks
- Freestanding conference rooms
- Sustainable, recycled and “green” materials
- Work space that looks like living areas; libraries, living rooms, dens
- Outdoor work and/or recreation space, where feasible – patios, decks, rooftops
Simple updates to interior paint colors, lighting and furnishings could revitalize your office without breaking the bank. And before you make major changes to your Boston Metro office space, seek input from your employees! Changes that lead to improved morale and productivity are a worthwhile investment.
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