Cozy in Your Cubicle?
Office Design That May Boost Your Efficiency
Yes, we have finally moved to our new office. We are over the moon about our new, cracking workspace. This is about how it looked like behind the scenes. This is the story of democratic choices, human emotions, excitement, fight, and some extra grey hairs being one part of the final results . So how did we design our new office? Was it fun or a total disaster? Did the effect meet our expectations?
How to Design The Space to Meet All The Requirements?
Have you ever tried to answer that unequivocal question ‘Who am I’? A piece of cake! - it’s not rocket science, is it?. Now, try to do that for the whole team… the company. A little help? We are a group of IT enthusiasts with ‘Can Do” attitude but with different needs. The ANIXE brand traits are agile, efficient, lean, mature, confident, passionate, modern, tough and transparent in reference to both employees and clients. When we were working on the new office design we wanted to create a combination that would meet our expectations and reveal ANIXE’s spirit of accuracy, connectness, data driven, experience and forward looking approach.
Everyone who wanted to take part in bringing this new office project to life, was able to attend meetings with the Q2 STUDIO architects, to discuss their needs and ideas. A special mood board was created to collect all the inspirations in one place. We pinned over 300 photos to make sure all point of views and comments were included to get to where Socrates reached with his ‘Scio me nihil scire’ (Eng. ‘I know that I know nothing’).
Activity Based Working – The Bright Side of The Moon
Activity based working (ABW) is an evolving and flexible work model which Goodman Birtcher adopted in 2012. It gives us the freedom of choice about how, when and where we work. In an office, that means a choice of work settings, each designed for different types of tasks.
Outside the office ABW enables staff to work anywhere, from home to an airport lounge. For us, it means more flexibility, a better work, life balance and job satisfaction. The concept of ABW also includes creating virtual offices for employees, enabling them to work anywhere anytime through removing technology boundaries and providing optimal communication tools through voice and video.
Some studies say it can help in planning our days more productively. But Harvard Business School presents a different approach. Professor Amy Edmondson explored the concept in a 1999 study, which concluded that ‘psychological safety’ boosted performance in teams. And, infamous uncle Google also describes ‘psychological safety’ as the most important factor to building a successful team. Well, we will check that… later.
The Dark Side of The Force
Whilst designing our new office, we were fully aware of the ABW benefits. We wanted to increase flexibility in where and how we worked, to improve team collaboration, productivity and efficiency. In our opinion this all has an impact on the work environment and job satisfaction.
But in some offices that have designed their office space using the ABW approach, the question of where to store personal items became a serious problem. This is also a matter of habit and a part of our nature, having everything in order, one place to keep our belongings, one place where we sit and can peacefully work. But at ANIXE we are not a conventional company and we do not intend to become one.
The Art of Choosing: Keep Your Desk or Gain Your Freedom!
To cross the chasm, you don’t have to learn how to fly. You can have your cake and eat it too, not necessarily having to be the owner of a bakery. So this is what we did. We took all the advantages from ABW model and enriched it with some smart office design features to give us a sense of security but also freedom of choice.
We can work from any place in the office. Some feel more comfortable working behind a desk, so they can have ‘their own space’ and don’t have to share it with others. Some prefer to work in the silent areas on posh armchairs or in the sun-rays on the wooden stairs in the heart of the office. It depends on the tasks we’re working on, the day of the week, our mood or well, you name it. Our jobs are different, we are all individuals, have different needs so our office should be flexible and keep up with us.
Our solution? The amazing idea was to use the stairs in the heart of the office as additional storage lockers. There are also a few built-in closets where there is plenty of space to keep our stuff and where we also have our knowledge library, full of secret knowledge for developers, and a few lightweight magazines. We also didn’t resign from lockers for each team.
To deliver a mix of activity based working and smart office, we followed a Discover, Define, Design and Deliver approach. By taking it step by step, and breaking everything down into easily manageable stages.
Next article is coming soon! Come… have a look inside…