Workplace design has witnessed a drastic transformation over the past decade. In the post pandemic situation, the focus is more on providing a work environment that is fluid and creates a balance without any regimental demarcations. In fact, design trends of 2021 portend towards making employees more comfortable and providing them with a work environment that is more conducive, collaborated and helps with community building. You may ask in an era of open plan offices, do employees really need their own personal space to recharge? While building a workplace it is important to find the perfect balance that helps boost productivity, promote teamwork and prioritise employee well being. It’s a basic hygiene factor. When an employee feels more valued, they are more likely to contribute meaningfully at the workplace. To achieve a well balanced workplace it is essential to have a mix of a multitude of spaces, specifically “ME” and “WE” spaces. While “me” space helps prioritise an individual and supports privacy, “we” spaces are good to foster community and support collaboration.
“ME” spaces typically include workstations, cabins, relaxation pods, close office designs along with traditional cubicles and office furniture with quiet reserved breakout spaces that allow individuals to carry out focus/ precision work, without any distractions or take small breaks in sleeping pods and rejuvenate. “ME” spaces can be created in a warm environment using soft seating, warmer lighting and natural greenery. Such places create a relaxing environment, away from noisy desks and help employees perform focused work or even, take a break and refresh themselves. Providing an environment where an employee can focus or unwind and recharge is essential for workplace productivity.
“WE” spaces, on the other hand, can range from a place accommodating 2-200 people. It could be enclosed, private, semi-open, semi-private or open. Used for collaboration, celebration, conventions like training, townhalls etc, these help form a community at the workplace. These places could be a larger meeting room, a breakout space or shared desks. Spaces like these allow people to interact, talk freely and share ideas back and forth in an effortless manner. These spaces help encourage group work, increase and build employee interaction, in turn boosting productivity. However, open spaces do not work for every office. Constant noise from the surrounding can be a major distraction, leading to less than productive hours at work.
You would probably wonder do we really need me spaces at the workplace, considering the current situation and wide adoption of work from home and work from anywhere concept. Yes, you do need them. We need to plan a judicious mix of these spaces, to give the whole array of choice to the employer as well as the employee. In a time, where we have no control over anything, a simple thing as how we choose to work gives a lot of comfort. And its functional too. Creating a perfect balance of these spaces help employees have their “me time” as well as collaborate, communicate and connect with each other.
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