The Social Workspace
Human beings are wired to be social creatures, we thrive off cooperation with others, it helps us stay sane and motivated. Socialising at work helps alleviate some of the daily pressures we as workers are burdened with and makes interactions with coworkers and managers much easier. Don’t be surprised that the conversations that co-workers have aren’t always going to be about work.
In fact, it has been shown that there is a definite positive correlation between sociability and productivity that needs to be nurtured, most notably a study by The Journal of Education and Health Promotion concluded that “sociability has a direct effect on productivity, the more the personnel become organisationally sociable; the more productivity would be seen in their organisational performance.”
So how do we encourage socialising at work?
There are different kinds of relationships built among employees. It is important to recognise that some employees can be extroverts, which means they find socialising with people at work really easy, and some are introverts, which means they find it hard to communicate and create relationships. Try to create an office design that accommodates all employees’ personalities. If you’d like some inspiration, have a look at one of our earlier blogs where we discuss in further detail how office design can impact employee wellbeing.
To help employees work together, think about creating an area where they could regather thoughts, or have group meetings, and make sure the area has a relaxed feel. Remember, a commercial fit out does not mean you have to create an environment that is not an enjoyable and social space.
Break Out Areas
Breakout areas are a great way to help influence the social connections of your employees with different social traits. This is an area where they could get time out from stress, and regather thoughts after a big meeting, to put it simply they are any space that colleagues can congregate without any predetermined purposes.
For example, a big meeting has just taken place, and several colleagues would like to discuss their thoughts. Instead of using the general office, where it could be super busy and noisy, they could use the breakout area to regather their thoughts and discuss any ideas.
Breakout areas are a perfect addition to any working environment, they are especially useful in fast-paced work environments, they are the ultimate representation of agility. The beauty about breakout areas is that they don’t have to be complex, a simple table with 3 or 4 chairs is ideal!
How Work Environment Affects Motivation and Socialising Factors
The social workspace has evolved especially after lockdown, there is a large portion of the workforce that now works from home. This means that socialising with other colleagues has changed, from real life to just a pixelated Google Meets video chat or the odd teams chat.
However, as lockdown has now relaxed and normal life is starting to commence, employees who preferred working in the office have now been allowed to congregate once again, highlighting the importance of the physical working environment and how that affects motivation.
In fact, both the physical and the non-physical work environments have been shown to affect the motivation of employees, studies by the Advances in Economics, Business and Management Research explored this in greater detail, using a questionnaire approach, they finalised two important conclusions:
“Physical work environment has direct and indirect effects on work productivity through work motivation.”
“Non-physical work environment does not directly affect work productivity. But the non-physical work environment has an indirect effect on work productivity through work motivation.”
The research document outlined some ways companies can improve employee motivation.
– Rearrange the layout of the room, ensuring employees have plenty of space to work, implement breakout areas to help filter out any distractions.
– Organise work activities that can enhance teamwork between employees.
– Openness between employees and leaders, try and develop fraternal bonds between the co-workers, this will ensure that both parties are working towards company goals and can exceed work targets set.
We’ve explored how companies can improve productivity using office design in previous blogs, and we really do believe it can have a huge impact on employees.
What Needs to Be Considered
Here at Mcfeggan Brown, we are an office fit out company that understands that the working environment can be an effective tool to help employees communicate and work as a team effectively. We help design the perfect environments to nurture such collaboration.
If you’d like to get in touch with us and are curious about how you can improve productivity, quality of work, and eventually the performance of the whole company don’t be afraid to get in touch.