Some thoughts on 21st Century workplaces
After a year of designing and building, we have now moved into the brand-new Tivix office in Wrocław! I thought I’d write a few thoughts about designing a new workplace in the modern age.
For many of us today, the office is not just a place you come to in the morning and leave it after eight hours of work, as it used to be in the past. Nowadays, a modern office is an activity-based working environment which includes many different types of work settings: touch-down hubs, quiet rooms, cozy lounges and stimulating venues (see the post my colleague Rex wrote about “Workplace Popcorn”).
A modern office today must cater to employees’ various needs, styles of working and the tasks they have to do. Some people will need a calm place to focus, and for others, collaboration will be needed. Some team members may prefer to work in an employee lounge, while others still enjoy the privacy of a workstation or modern cubicle.
So how to design an office that takes all this into account, and creates a high-productivity workplace? For us, these are the important things:
3C concept – daily work activities always include Concentration, Collaboration and Contemplation. Offices should be designed in such a way that they allow the employees to perform all the three activities in an appropriate environment. For Concentration there should be quiet and more private areas like individual workstations, small conference rooms, private concentration rooms, or acoustically isolated booths. A tip – if you work in a shared space, but there are moments when you absolutely need some peace and quiet you can always think on a system that will tell the colleagues that you mustn’t be disturbed. For example, it can be a sheet of red paper put on our desk or a monitor. For Collaboration there should be enough spacious meeting places, be it conference rooms or cosy lounges with comfortable chairs to discuss ideas over a cup of coffee. For Contemplation there are various types of playrooms, fun rooms and lounges with soft sofas, coffee tables, fancy hassocks and entertainment equipment. In our Tivix office also a kitchen can be a good contemplation and collaboration place, especially when it is well equipped with snacks that stimulate brain work!
Forecasts say that in year 2020, 70% of work tasks will involve teamwork. Therefore, while designing an office it is crucial to create a sufficient number of big collaborative areas. Our Tivix office in Wrocław takes pride in two such areas; one that can hold about 15 people and a smaller one – for up to six people. There is also a relaxing lounge/playroom where people can work together and smaller separated work spaces for three-five people, where project details can be discussed on a daily basis.
In order to be creative it is good to change the surrounding. It is enough to just change a seat and move from your chair to a sofa. This leads to the so-called mobile workplaces, where desks are no longer designated to only one person, but can be used by anyone who just needs it (especially when some people work from home and “their” desks are not occupied). Also sit-to-stand desks and tables play a very important role as they promote movement and allow employees to enjoy the benefits of a more versatile workspace. This ergonomic furniture gives workers the ability to switch out of the sedentary position to relieve muscle strain and increase blood circulation to the brain, which improves health and productivity. We also have such desks in the office!
Statistically, 70% of people are extroverts and 30% – introverts, that’s why open space is so popular. However, in the IT sector there are many more introverts, therefore the concept of a completely open space does not make sense. In the Polish Tivix office we have come up with an idea to divide the open space with high-quality glass walls into smaller areas, which make it possible to have more privacy and space for concentration and individual work and, at the same time, to be able to discuss ideas and collaborate with colleagues who are sitting in the same room. Having glass all around provides good conditions for quiet work without being isolated and gives us the feeling of being a part of one big team.
Light, colors, fabric, pictures and all other small things are also very important. The trends show that the modern office should be more “domestic” and it should look more like home or a nice café place. In our office we have beautiful wall drawings of San Francisco and London made by the talented Łukasz Tarka which relate to our American and British offices and make the place look really unique and special. The replicas of London phone booths are not only an original decorative element, but people can make private phone calls there.
We are very proud of our new Tivix office in Wrocław. Come visit us anytime!