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Creative office design promotes return to work

Creative Work Space Entice Return To Work Search Remotely

Are you worried about returning to the office? If not full time, perhaps on a hybrid schedule? Don’t be disillusioned. You have lots of clout you can wield. In fact, there is research showing that creative office design can help employers entice hesitant remote workers to return to the office. Further, this same research may give employers just what they need to poach top talent. How does office design influence worker decisions?

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Creative work spaces help employers promote return to work

Science Direct found that the creative workspaces presented by potential employers to job candidates have these positive effects:

  • organizational attractiveness is increased,
  • employers are perceived to possess a corporate climate more accepting of creativity,
  • employers are believed to be more innovative than employers with traditional workspaces,
  • employers are considered to place a higher value on their employees.

Creative office space design goes beyond these best practices suggested by RetailWire.

  • Mid-height or adjustable dividers and partition panels rather than the high panel structure,
  • Benching systems to allow for collaboration and team interaction, and
  • Build in charging stations and natural lighting.

Creative office space design includes these elements

How is creative workspace defined? How do you describe creative workspace? Creative work spaces are an improvement on the conventional work settings.  Workspaces that foster creativity incorporate the following into physical designs:

  • bright, cheerful colors mimicking nature (blues, greens, yellow),
  • leisure areas to decompress (ping pong, table soccer, board games),
  • themes meeting rooms, and
  • unique spaces and structures.

Home-based office ideas:

Employees complain of traditional workspaces and cubicles

Why are creative spaces in vogue? Open office layouts featuring sardine style cubicles are the most dreaded feature of corporate campus life, says RetailWire.  Mundane cubicles may be the main reason why remote workers refuse to return to the office, even under hybrid and flexible conditions. These feelings are not unfounded. Fastcube research revealed staff working in cubicles reported:

  • increased levels of distractions,
  • higher rates of interruptions,
  • lowered ability to concentrate,
  • lower levels of motivation, and
  • higher levels of stress.

Poorly designed work spaces lead to lowered worker productivity

All of these impediments to work quality were higher than their non-cubicle bound colleagues. Overall, Fastcube concluded that these encumbrances can lead to lowered work productivity.

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Employees with control over workspace design are happier

This brings us to why remote workers  one reason why remote workers are more productive when they work from home. Employees working virtually have much more control of their workspace. Research shows that when staff exert control over workspace design and customization based upon their interest experience greater job satisfaction and wellbeing.

Reasons why poorly designed workspace are not ideal

Psychologists theorize that for workers to produce high quality for their employers, they need the right space from which to work. Referencing a 2006 study, neuropsychologists determined that the sections of the brain controlling pleasure fire up when we view landscapes, parks and oceans. Further, sitting with one’s back exposed without a view of who is advancing near us, has the opposite effect. It makes us feel vulnerable and tense.  Cubicles lit with harsh fluorescent lighting and closed off from the lack of exposure to sunlight can increase chronic anxiety.

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Evolutionary psychologists feature research showing the ways in which patients healing from hospital treatment were prescribed less painkillers. Patients needed less days for hospital stays when their hospital room had a view of nature. Traditionally, in office cubicles can have the opposite effect as out opening paragraph states.

Elements of workspace design to increase worker output

What can returning workers to the office do? Make your voices heard by giving input to employers on your preferred work space design.  Remote workers returning part time to the office may wish for employers to:

  • re-create the  illusion of privacy,
  • allow for increased personalization of working areas,
  • relaxation of decorative themes approved by management,
  • interspersion of live plants and fresh flowers, and
  • use of aquariums and fireplaces in common areas.

Conventionally styled office cubicles can lower employee productivity

Why would employers listen to the views of remote workers returning to a hybrid arrangement? Traditional high paneled and partitioned cubicles lower worker output according to the American Psychological Association. Further, vastly open cubicle spaces can give the false illusion of privacy, leading to more interruptions from loud talking colleagues. This leads to more interruptions and distractions. These also lower staff productivity. Harvard Business Review (HBR) cites research demonstrating 30% of employees working from old style cubicles and 25% workers from open spaces complained of high noise levels of their colleagues. See below, the infographic depicting worker complaints about work cubicles.

Top employee complaints about old style work cubicles

Table 1. In office worker complaints about old style work cubicles






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