Fun park in the office. What are the benefits of well-designed space?
Is a slide and game console in the office a good idea?
Until recently, Polish organizations were not aware of the business benefits of a well-designed space. After years spent in corridors and offices it is hardly surprising that original, unusual spaces are becoming more and more popular. However, when planning a new office, it is worth to keep common sense. Investing in some solutions may not only bring no benefits, but even expose the organization to measurable losses.
The slide is not for everyone
Google is largely responsible for popularizing the concept of the original office – it was from the Internet giant that the avalanche of original office solutions began. From the perspective of people working for many years in a boring, unfriendly space, an office in which there is a slide, ping-pong table or table football may seem like a fantastic idea. But can what works for Google be applied to any company without fear?
Organizations are increasingly more aware of what can be achieved with a well-designed office space. Their expectations are usually linked to specific business goals. Companies want the office to support the implementation of their strategic objectives, often emphasize the desire to improve the flow of information, or build innovation, for example by encouraging employees to exchange ideas with people from other, seemingly distant substantive departments. Already at the stage of formulating the objectives of the project it is therefore worth remaining vigilant and clearly establish what goals the new space is to achieve.
Architect and tenant in one team
While asking about the project’s goals, it’s worth considering whether the designers’ goals and the company’s business goals are convergent. The answer to this question is not obvious at all. Very often, what delights the design community or online audience is not what the client actually needs. The result of such a conflict of interests is offices that primarily fulfill the ambitions of their creators and serve as marketing material, while the client’s business needs take a back seat. The consequences of this approach to planning are severely felt by companies when, after a few months, the initial enthusiasm for an office filled with “toys” fades.
A growing number of experts have recognized and described this problem. Prof. Jeremy Myerson from The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design even claims that the fashion for playground-like offices started by Google has harmed good office design practices. Interestingly, the experts are echoed by office users, namely employees. In a survey conducted by Kiwi Movers, 86% of employees said that office “toys” have no value for them, and 25% of employees found their presence in the office annoying.
What does it mean ‘good office’?
So shouldn’t there be a place for table football or game console in modern offices? The answer is: it depends.
First of all, it is worth remembering that the change of office is an opportunity to do much more than buying toys. A properly designed space, for example, can help stimulate communication between departments and support the elimination of silos. The right office can help generate innovative ideas or shorten time to market for new products. A game console or ping-pong table can be an attractive addition and make a good first impression.
However, much more important than the first impression is whether the office meets the actual needs of the client and whether it defends itself with its functionality even after the effect of the first impression has worn off. After all, the primary goal of a new office should be to support the client in achieving business goals, not to awe-inspiring photo shoots.