Planners of Tucson office space can encourage more productivity by giving employees room to socialize, collaborate and have more reasons to stay at the office.
Encouraging productive employees isn’t just about giving them stimulating work and generous rewards.
It’s also about providing an environment that,
- spurs talents and creativity
- fosters teamwork
- provides healthy social and physical development
- encourages spending more time at the job site.
Keeping Employees in the Building
We at Commercial Real Estate Group of Tucson saw how this interesting philosophy plays out at corporations like Nike and Mozilla. While we were in London to attend a fall ITRA symposium on doing business in the Americas, we got a chance to learn about their European headquarters.
These companies had inviting work areas, lobbies that felt more like living rooms and amenities such as coffee shops and game rooms.
Employees could relax and unwind before, between and after work. Why stop at Starbuck’s when you can pick up a coffee at work and, by the way, chat about a project with a colleague?
How can you keep an employee at work after hours? Provide an onsite fitness center that allows the employee to break up the day with a quick, convenient workout.
Open Space Design Improves the Work Areas
You don’t have to install non-work amenities to create happy employees, however.
You can foster teamwork and collaboration in work areas, too, by adopting an open work space configuration. It easily can be implemented in a new Tucson commercial real estate project or elements can be retrofitted into an existing office space.
Open space design allows for,
- easier communication among workers
- a lighter, airier environment that provides a pleasant setting
- more spaces for formal and informal meetings
- private and semi-private areas for concentrated individual work.
The U.S. General Services Administration has supported open space design in federal buildings since 2002. Its 2009 Workspace 20•20 Projects Evaluation Study showed that employees think the configuration
- improves group collaboration and productivity
- increases employee pride in the workplace and overall job satisfaction
- improves individual work effectiveness and productivity
- increases employee satisfaction in the work space and building.
The study did note that noise and voice privacy were problems. Also, fewer than half of employees surveyed felt the open space design was better for concentration compared to their old work areas.
Using Open Space Design in a Tucson Office Space
Unisource Energy, parent company of Tucson Electric Power, built an office building in downtown Tucson that adopts several principles of open space design. Occupied in late 2011, the building has:
- smaller enclosed offices
- concentrated areas of work cubicles
- concentrations of employees and work groups who to need work together
- lots of natural lighting
- several sustainable features, including water harvesting and solar energy systems and charging stations for employees’ and visitors’ electric cars
- a conference center with 12 meeting rooms, from an auditorium for 400 to areas that seat four people. Each has a computer, wireless keyboard, flat-screen panels and plugs for laptops and other equipment.
Strategies for Designing Open Space
Open space design requires specific considerations when analyzing your space requirements. Be sure to include these specifics such as use and common areas when comparing buildings for your Tucson office space.
GSA recommends four strategies for implementing open space design.
Design for a mix of activities. Construct space for both collaboration and individual work. Allow room for all kinds of interaction, from informal socializing to formal meetings.
Get employees involved. Focus groups, surveys and company meetings encourage employees to support the concept and adopt new work practices and behaviors (lowering voices in open areas, for instance).
Install adequate technology. Good acoustical surroundings and wireless connections are essential in areas dedicated to private or concentrated work, such as meeting spaces.
Support people. Address factors that indirectly support work. Create an environmentally friendly space in which people will feel healthy and engaged.
Learn more about open space design from videos posted on www.commercial-real-estate-tucson.com.