How to Optimize Your Modular Office Space for In-House and Remote Employees
The abrupt closure of many workplaces in March 2020 marked a new era for companies across the country—remote work.
Since then, millions of Americans have been working from home or adopting a hybrid schedule (most commonly three days in the office and two days at home).
It’s not surprising that preferences and priorities regarding work environments have shifted since the start of the pandemic, but company leaders must take action now if they want to recruit and retain top talent. This includes designing an office space that suits the diverse needs of all employees, whether they’re working in-person or remotely.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at how to optimize your modular office space for in-house, remote, and hybrid workers. But first, let’s highlight some common hang-ups that employees have with office spaces.
Top Office Complaints from Employees
Work environment plays a huge role in job satisfaction. In fact, Microsoft conducted a survey in 2021 which indicated that 41% of the global workforce would consider switching jobs within the next year, with 55% stating that their work environment would play a role in that decision.
So, when it comes to optimizing your office space, be sure to consider the following common complaints that employees have about their corporate office.
Lack of Space & Privacy
Open office layouts have become incredibly popular due to their ability to save space, accommodate more employees, and foster collaborative problem solving.
However, despite those advantages, open office spaces are a significant source of workplace dissatisfaction for many employees. Open offices are associated with less productivity, higher stress levels, and higher rates of absenteeism.
Many employees find the lack of privacy and personal space distracting or otherwise unsuitable for them to do their job as effectively.
Too Much Noise
Noise is another common complaint that employees have about their office space, particularly in open coworking spaces or “cubicle farms.”
With so many employees completing their daily tasks, collaborating, and communicating in one large area, noise levels can quickly build and become a large hindrance to productivity. By not being able to control the noise in their environment aside from putting on a pair of headphones, your employees may get increasingly frustrated by constant disruptions.
Having an organized workspace is crucial for optimal efficiency. Without organizational procedures put into place, your employees may have a difficult time finding the information and resources they need to perform their job well.
Upon switching to remote work, many employees expressed criticism regarding the filing system for both digital and paper files within their organization.
From the temperature being too hot or cold to insufficient lighting to hard furniture, there are several ways that an office space can make employees physically uncomfortable.
Over the years, numerous studies have measured the productivity gains achieved when employees’ comfort is prioritized. To ensure that your workers are able to perform at their highest level, you have to ensure they’re feeling their best first.
The modern workforce requires modern technologies, especially in this new, hybrid world.
Having outdated technology immediately sets your employees up for inefficiency and frustration, making it far more difficult for them to complete their job tasks. And without appropriate AV equipment for virtual meetings, you could be isolating your remote workers.
4 Ways to Optimize Your Office Space for All Workers
So, now that you know the type of environment that hinders productivity, you’re probably wondering how to optimize your modular office space to avoid these pitfalls. Here are four ways that you can create an optimized workspace for both in-house and remote workers.
1. Balance Privacy & Collaboration
When it comes to designing a modern office space, you have to be flexible. Successful optimization of your modular office space can be achieved by designing a floor plan with dedicated spaces for both collaborative and focused work.
Workplace strategy expert Dr. Ron Friedman recommends identifying the types of tasks that your employees perform and then designing spaces for those activities, such as:
- Personal areas (office or cubicle)
- Focus zones (quiet rooms for individual work)
- Brainstorming spaces (couches or tables for collaborative activities)
- Conference rooms
Your main workspace can be kept fairly open to encourage teamwork. However, a variety of quiet spaces should also be incorporated into the layout, where individuals and teams can focus behind a closed door when needed.
If you’re limited on space, then design multipurpose spaces that can be used for various needs, such as a conference room that can also be used for team activities or as a quiet zone when it’s not reserved for a meeting.
2. Embrace Work From Home Initiatives
Remote work is here to stay. In fact, according to a 2021 McKinsey study, about 30% of employees say that they’re likely to switch jobs if they had to return to fully on-site work.
Not only does embracing remote work help increase job satisfaction, but it also is a great way to maximize modular office space. By having fewer people in the office, you’ll need less space and furniture for in-house and hybrid employees.
That said, you will need to ensure that your office is set up for successful remote work. Invest in updated technology and software, like smart hybrid meeting technology for your meeting rooms.
You should also consider going paperless (exclusively keeping digital files as much as possible) to cut down on storage space and offer easier accessibility for all employees.
3. Prioritize Comfort
While determining how to optimize your modular office space, be sure to consider ways that you can prioritize your employee’s comfort.
When it comes to lighting, incorporate as much natural light into your modular office space as possible. It’s a free source of lighting (which is great for your budget), and it has been shown to improve employee comfort and productivity.
According to a 2018 Harvard Business Review study, 78% of employees said that access to natural light improves their wellbeing, and 70% reported improved work performance. Having more windows also helps make a smaller office feel more open and spacious.
You can also incorporate smart thermostats that use remote sensors to keep temperatures comfortable in all areas of the office. These devices can be programmed to change temperatures at certain schedules and operated remotely from an app on your device.
And finally, maximize your modular office space by choosing furnishings that actually fit the space well. Bulky, unnecessary furniture can cause your employees to feel cramped and claustrophobic. Just make sure that the furniture you choose is suitable for all-day use without causing discomfort.
4. Plan for Future Growth
When planning your office floor plan, it’s important to allow for expansion when the need arises. As your business grows in time, you may require additional space for more employees and/or equipment.
Modular offices allow you to easily optimize your office space for future expansion. Not only can you change the internal layout to meet your employees’ needs, but you can also transform your entire building.
As your organization grows and your workspace reaches maximum capacity, modular construction allows you to add more space to your current building without having to undergo a large renovation.
Optimize your Office Space with BOXX Modular
BOXX Modular offers you the ability to create a custom modular office space that’s optimized for your employee’s unique needs. With flexible space solutions, furnishing packages, and state-of-the-art technology upgrades, our team will help you create an ideal work environment with speed and efficiency.
Now that you know how to optimize your modular office space, it’s time to get started! Contact our team today to learn more about how our high-end modular offices can help keep your employees happy.
This blog was originally published on September 21, 2016. It was updated on May 5, 2022.
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