TSK
TSK
12 July 2021
INNOVATION

Six top tips to get the most out of your office social space

Social spaces are the heart of the workplace and they’re becoming increasingly important. These areas are no longer just a corner where people are squished around a table eating last night’s leftovers on mismatched furniture. Now they can serve as a kitchen, an eating area, an informal meeting space, as well as a breakout space for training, presentations and parties.

 

These spaces are an ideal way to encourage social interaction and a freedom of movement that creates a dynamic and productive way of working. Some of the best ideas happen away from the desk, outside of meeting rooms and in more relaxed and informal surroundings where staff can communicate more casually.

Here we wanted to give you six top tips for getting the most out of them.

1. Flexibility

When creating a social space, one of the most important things to remember is that it needs to be a flexible, multifunctional area that can be easily adapted according to requirements. It should be an environment which brings people from all departments together to reinforce an inclusive and open workplace culture.

Providing your people with a casual, comfortable environment can encourage collaboration and foster innovation. It can give them a space to take five minutes or be the central hub for work events. The key is to not limit the space to one activity.

2. Integrated technology

Integrated technology is an absolute must for the modern social space. It might sound obvious, but having good, strong and fast wifi is essential. Having a poor connection is incredibly frustrating, especially in an era where we expect instant access. Give the people the bars they deserve!

Your social space also needs to have access to the right audio and visual technology. It’s about getting the most out of the space. If you have great social settings without tech or power, they may not be used as much. Giving people wireless access to equipment will mean that they can easily share information with your teams and clients alike.

Find out more about smart technology and the workplace here.

3. Location

Your social space is your community hub, so it needs to draw people in. Having a small room in the back corner through a winding maze of desks isn’t going to cut it. It needs to be in a central location with an adequate floorplate. The events of the last 18 months have increased this need even further, it should be in an easily accessible location, with enough space for people to visit and feel equally comfortable moving around or parking up to have an informal meeting. 

The space also needs to have the right acoustic treatments too. Whilst a central social space needs to have a buzz about it. containing the acoustic atmosphere is still important, you don’t want that noise to travel and disrupt others that are working in other locations.

4. The right furniture

Choosing the right furniture for a social space is imperative to achieve the most out of the area. To have the right amount of flexibility, you can’t have lots of big heavy chairs or an over-reliance on fixed settings. The best way to look at it is to think about what’s comfortable, practical and easily rearranged.

We recommend having a good mixture of soft sofas, benches and stools to perch on. This will ensure that you have the right seating for the different any scenario.

5. Biophilic design

Biophilia is more than just plants. It operates at the very core of how humans work. We long for a connection with nature so bringing the outdoors into our social spaces can help ignite feelings of calm and comfort. By stimulating our senses naturally, we can enjoy the attendant benefits of increased happiness, productivity, connection, and creativity.

To do this, a good starting point is having access to natural light where possible. Adding some natural planting schemes will then enhance the aesthetic experience and also help to purify the air and absorb sound. You can also add in some different natural materials and textures to further enhance these benefits. 

6. Good coffee

Good coffee? Yes, good coffee. Something as simple as providing the resource for great refreshments helps your people feel cared for, it is a small thing that makes a big difference. It helps facilitate conversations between people across your organisation, allowing for increased communication and collaboration…and energy.

It also helps bring employees to the office, helping to make them as happy and productive as they can be.

Find out more ways your workplace can boost your people’s wellbeing here.

 

Want to know more?

We are always happy to talk about all things workplace. Get in touch with our team today to find out more about how you can optimise your social space here.

Workplace [R]Evolution: Issue 2
Workplace [R]Evolution: Issue 2

With dispersed workforces set to remain, organisations are adopting hybrid working models at a rapid pace, taking learnings from activity based working, utilising technology and empowering employees to choose how and where they want to work. In the second edition of our publication, we’ve explored the challenges and solutions of managing a hybrid workplace, how technology is helping bring people back to the office and the evolution of office design.

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