How to Build a Winning Office Environment, Contributor, Jan 18 2017

The average employee spends nearly two-thirds of the day at work (in most cases indoors) and so businesses of all types and sizes are increasingly giving office interiors the attention they deserve. In many cases these employer’s efforts are being rewarded, with improved employee morale and productivity, as well as being recognized by international institutions such as Great Places to Work.

Office environments have a many purposes to meet - along with being functional, they also have to be practical, comfortable and inspiring. Statistics from’s recent ‘Absenteeism in the Workplace in the Middle East & North Africa’ poll reveal that almost a third (32.7%) of professionals rate the working environment in their company as ‘fair’ to ‘poor’. The same poll showed that almost a quarter (23.4%) of employees feel that the absenteeism in their organization is high.

Great office environments communicate a lot about the corporate vision, values, leadership and culture of the company. They can be another method of promoting the employer brand and securing the interest of top talent.

Considering that there is more to a great office than desirable physical attributes (the human element is also important), the career experts at, the Middle East’s #1 Job Site, have the following tips to help transform uninspiring clinical spaces into hotbeds of creativity and productivity: 

 1.     Cubicles vs. open-plan offices
While cubicles have been a staple of most office space designs during since the 20th century, the 21st century workplace thrives on information sharing and collaboration. The new ‘groupthink’ model is increasingly being favored by employers. But the open-plan setting also brings with it the cons i.e. lack of boundaries means more interruptions. A comfortable ‘middle ground’ can be found in the form of semi-enclosed spaces, which while providing a private corner, do not completely cut-off employees from one-another.

2.     Encourage flexibility
Workplaces in the modern sense of the word need not be confined to a certain location. With flexi-time and work-life balance increasingly becoming a part of the modern day HR parlance, today’s workplaces need to be technologically integrative and flexible. This means giving employees access to technology that makes video-conferencing and online-file sharing possible.

3.     Color is good
Colors have long been recognized by psychologies for their mood-altering properties. Apart from being a quick and cheap interior design tool, they also add an instant pizzazz to the space. The color ‘blue’ while being identified by psychologists as the most productive color making it favorable for office spaces; it is also a part of the corporate color scheme. Other positive colors include orange for warmth and excitement and green to boost tranquility and health. However it’s important not to go overboard with bold colors and balance them with optimal while spaces.

3.     Get thoughts and ideas flowing
Implement tools and visuals that boost the creative flow of ideas and information. For example, the ‘thought mirror’ is an integral part of the pantry at HQ and serves as a blank canvas for employees to share their ideas, unleash their creativity and voice their opinions.

4.     Congratulate publicly
While camaraderie can be built virtually, there is no substitute for in-person interaction. Have the space for company and department get-togethers and encourage celebration of achievements at all levels.

Building amazing workplaces is all about balancing great physical spaces with the right human factor. As demonstrated above, possibilities are endless when it comes to creating winning office environments, and they need not require large expenditures. With collaborative efforts and the intent this is very much achievable. 


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