The conventional open-plan office design proposed by American architect Frank Lloyd-Wright in 1939 was born from the belief that interior walls are hierarchical and fragment businesses.

His solution was to design an office environment that would increase innovation, collaboration and output. However, the open floor plan has not lived up to expectations and has resulted in a new class of office design sweeping through the business world.

Whilst the views of Lloyd-Wright still hold true, the open-plan office many companies persist with today is not conducive for productivity. As a result, the office design revolution disposes of dedicated desks and throws up some new solutions.

Agile Working Designs

There comes a point in everyone’s working day when you hit the wall on productivity. The brain and body begin to tire, cognitive function declines, motivation deteriorates and performance drops.

An effective way of revitalizing employees is to encourage them to move around the office from time to time. However, for such ideas to function smoothly, you need an office design that accommodates agile working.

Agile working incorporates multi-purpose desk space which effectively enables employees to plug ‘n’ produce. Thanks to portable computers, cloud storage and wireless internet, businesses can give employees the choice of where to work and how to work.

Break-Out Areas

Studies have shown the best formula for increasing productivity is to work for 52-minutes and break for 17 minutes. Taking a short break helps to rest the mind and refuel.

Break-out zones that encourage employees to leave their desk and give their mind a rest from work have subsequently become a trending theme in office design.

The rest area you create will depend on your business and the type of company culture you want to embody. Break-out areas can be quiet and informal such as a lounge area, a lively and uplifting zone such as a games room, or a cafe where work colleagues have the opportunity to catch up on the latest gossip or meet new people.

Standalone Pods

One of the main complaints amongst office workers is noise. Open plan office designs are distracting, disruptive and have no room for privacy when you’re on the phone. Noisy offices have also been shown to increase stress and anxiety which impairs productivity.

In recent years, a variety of standalone booths have been designed that helps to eliminate some of the key problems with traditional floor plans in offices.

Installing phone booths gives employees more privacy when they’re on the phone, and some would argue more confidence to speak with clients and customers without their colleagues listening in.

Pods lined with acoustically reinforced cushion walls also eliminate sound. Meeting pods and huddle booths give employees the space to brainstorm without disturbing colleagues and individual pods enable people to focus on peace and quiet.

Health and Wellbeing 

The World Health Organisation has earmarked work-related stress as a key contributor to the global anxiety pandemic. Absenteeism from work costs the global economy an estimated $1 trillion dollars a year.

Companies that make health and wellbeing a priority have been found to boost engagement and productivity whilst lowering medical expenses. Consequently, leading office designers, Office Principles,  have a variety of solutions to improve health and wellbeing around the office.

Office designs have significant impact on the performance of your employees. They can also have an impact on employee retention and acquisition which also has a bearing on productivity.

Given the amount of research that shows the conventional open office plan has a negative impact on business productivity, it’s no surprise to see a large number of companies revamping their office design.