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Natixis’ Global Asset Management

6 Tips to Optimise Your Office Plan

Optimising your office plan today can save you time and money in the future. The layout of your floor plan can affect everything from employee engagement to productivity. Jobs and workplace structures are in a constant state of flux and it’s becoming difficult for companies to predict which job functions

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7 Steps to Creating a Collaborative Office Space

Business is becoming more complex and the way we work has been changing at a fast rate. Increasingly, people must work together to create and share information to complete projects and tasks in the most efficient way. Office spaces have evolved and some, such as Google and Facebook, have become

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

Natixis’ Global Asset Management

6 Tips to Optimise Your Office Plan

Optimising your office plan today can save you time and money in the future. The layout of your floor plan can affect everything from employee engagement to productivity. Jobs and workplace structures are in a constant state of flux and it’s becoming difficult for companies to predict which job functions there will be in the next few years. That’s why businesses are responding by creating workspaces with built-in flexibility and optimised office plans. Previously unheard of job roles have developed in response to technological advances, so companies need to optimise office plans and to adapt to new jobs and equipment. Here are some tips for optimising your company’s office plan. 1. Utilise Office Space Effective use of space enables you to reduce accommodation and utility costs, drive down your environmental footprint and improve working conditions. Our Space Planning & Design team can help you plan your space for maximum efficiency and cost control. Analysing how your staff actually use the space is a good step towards designing a workplace that increases staff satisfaction and productivity. In London, space is at a premium and businesses are finding new ways to optimise the space they have by utilising open plan hot-desking, multifunctional rooms with moveable partitions and innovative storage solutions. Integrated technology can really help with saving space and chairs, sofas and desks now feature hidden and discreet power points and wireless technology solves the problem of messy wires placed all over the office. Choose Comfortable Chairs and a Good Seating Plan Good seats designed for back support and mobility, combined with versatile furniture, are great tools for an optimised office space and seating plan. Where you seat people is vital for workplace productivity, so you need to think of this in terms of department, skill sets, personality, competition and the need for mentorship and supervision. Environmental factors, such as lighting and air conditioning, can impede on your perfect seating plan because no one wants to sit under an uncomfortably cold blast of air all day. Mix open and closed office spaces to suit different working styles and make sure you minimise distractions with sound absorbent furnishings and layout. Our award-winning design for Natixis’ Global Asset Management (NGAM) included adaptable furniture using bench desking, finished with acoustic screens. If optimised, the seating plan can be rearranged or adapted at any time, allowing business operations and workflow to proceed smoothly. 3. Encourage a Sense of Community The seating plan should allow for easy communication between staff and different departments. Modern offices are now designed predominantly to encourage collaboration, even in traditionally non-creative industries. Pockets of collaboration whether in private offices or in open spaces now encourage staff interaction. In fact, more office workers than ever now work on a consultancy basis or hot-desk, so workspaces need lots of temporary desks or touchdown spaces to accommodate them. These should be spread around with access to different departments to improve communications and a sense of belonging. The majority of NTT Data UK’s staff consist of consultants, so we designed their office space with hot-desking and collaboration in mind. Our designers used plenty of inviting bright colours, touchdown spaces, meeting rooms with folding walls and a choice of working areas. Create Multipurpose Spaces An innovative floor plan makes use of every single space from hallways to landings, and places furniture where hot-deskers can work and impromptu meetings can take place. Some creative companies strapped for space use open areas in the office to hold large meetings that allow staff to sit and participate from the stairs. Multipurpose spaces are being utilised by employers for everything from multimedia presentations to casual breakout areas. Bristol-based EMO & TRA are marketing and company branding agencies that were relocated under one roof, necessitating good communications. This involved fitting a new spiral staircase to link the companies, booths for group work and an open space with a blackboard that allows for brainstorming and collaborative work. Utilise Natural Light Good lighting in the workplace is vital; both too much and too little can have a negative impact. One thing that experts agree on is that natural light is best. Make sure your office has enough windows and if you don’t have enough windows, natural light can come from other sources such as skylights. Daylight aids our circadian rhythms (our own in-built clocks) to be in sync with our local environments, but today’s artificial environments can block this synchronisation. Therefore, it helps to get as much natural help with the process as possible. Bring Nature Inside The psychological benefits of bringing nature into the office have been well-documented. This can include anything from plenty of sunlight and plants in the office to water features and nature integrated into the office furniture and artwork. Helix Property, UK property management service providers, decided to set a good example to clients by filling their reception area and atrium with live planters, including in the back of seating. The modifications included the installation of a moss wall. If you’d like help with optimising your office plan, please contact Interactive Space.

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7 Steps to Creating a Collaborative Office Space

Business is becoming more complex and the way we work has been changing at a fast rate. Increasingly, people must work together to create and share information to complete projects and tasks in the most efficient way. Office spaces have evolved and some, such as Google and Facebook, have become famous for their fun layouts and collaborative areas. However, there is a motive behind these innovative office designs beyond looking chic or ‘cool’. The bosses at these companies know that a collaborative workforce is motivated, socially-engaged, productive and has an increased desire to help the company achieve its goals. We’ve outlined seven ways you can make your office more collaborative by changing its design. Invest in open plan offices The first and most obvious step in encouraging collaboration in the workplace is to implement an open plan office. Not only will it break down the physical barriers that disrupt communication between employees, but it will also psychologically open up employees to the option of working together. This should even include management by at least installing glass windows in their offices if they are to remain separate. Creating an open plan space for your company, with fewer private offices and lowered partitions, will encourage more interactions to occur in the workplace. However, some people also need their own private space for confidential phone calls or to focus on specific tasks like writing reports, so make sure you also provide some private spaces dedicated to this purpose. Natixis’ Global Asset Management (NGAM) wanted to encourage communication between different teams and the installation of bench desking helped with this goal. The acoustic screens allow for collaboration and privacy, while the company’s private offices also have small round meeting tables for group work. 2. Remove assigned desks   Desk assignment is becoming outdated now that hot-desking and other flexible working practices are emerging. By removing assigned seating, you are encouraging people from different teams to interact. This improves internal communications, makes staff aware of the work that other people in the company do and discourages teams from just sticking to their own groups as a matter of habit. Collaboration can further thrive by placing information walls near areas of work and meeting spaces; it opens teams to suggestions from other departments. 3. Create dedicated spaces for specific tasks   A collaborative office space incorporates areas for small teams to freely share knowledge and ideas. These could be pockets such as padded cubicles and pods or corners for teleconferences where employees can concentrate. Also, since the best ideas come when the mind is relaxed or when the person is on a break doing something else, collaborative break spaces are also a great feature. These spaces can be meditation areas, a pool table or even a chill-out area with bean bags, comfortable cushions and magazines. Marketing company Arnold KLP recently moved into an office designed to reflect the creative nature of the company. A modern design studio space, client meeting rooms, and a bar and breakout area with a pool table were part of the final interior. Make use of every single space Some of the best exchanges of information and insights occur during unplanned interactions in hallways, lobbies, cafes and shared office spaces, so these spaces should be made as accessible as possible. By creating public spaces where interaction is unavoidable, you create virtual collisions and staff are more likely to interact. Chance meetings with people in other teams can spark some of the most creative ideas and collaborations. Another option for collaboration spaces that increase interaction is to install them in public spaces like hallways, gardens, dining areas, or even next to snack and beverage machines. Businesses are installing power sockets, whiteboards and other equipment in easily accessible places so that staff can charge laptops, smartphones and other devices, and it also gives them the perfect opportunity to collaborate on the move. Create a dedicated dining area Make sure your workplace kitchen has an area for dining or at least provide one nearby. All too often, employees fall into the habit of having lunch at their desks, but it is much better for them to properly take a break or have casual conversations with their co-workers. Innovation is nurtured through informal, social and creative interactions and this usually happens away from desks. Providing free good quality coffee and other drinks is a good way to encourage staff to go to these areas. Salamanca Group is an investment bank that wanted to encourage employees to relax in a common area during their breaks. A breakfast bar consisting of a 9-metre stone counter has proven popular with staff and has become a collaboration point. Use integrated technology Technology allows us to enjoy much more flexible working conditions. By integrating minimal, wireless technology you can allow employees to be portable and move around the workspace without being restricted to their desks. Office interior designers can install powered furniture with built-in power adapters and multimedia capabilities. For example, touch tables which are like giant iPad tables can be useful for brainstorming and displaying information in meetings. Foster a culture of collaboration Despite all your best efforts to design a collaborative workspace, if the company culture itself isn’t open to collaboration at all levels, the outcome might seem hollow and ineffectual. The company should encourage collaboration everywhere, including online. Other practices such as an open door policy can create trust and transparency between management and employees. It’s worth noting that open door policies should be applied with clear boundaries otherwise staff can use it as an opportunity to complain, so regular open door meetings might be a better alternative. A truly functional culture of collaboration is a vehicle for senior managers to understand what is on the minds of employees with whom they don’t regularly interact. This coupled with appropriate office design can create a positive environment of collaboration at every level.

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