What’s the best thing about your working environment?
Once upon a time when we asked that question, the most common answer (other than the people) was likely to be along the lines of a decent coffee machine, free fruit or, in some lucky organisations, the on-site gym.
Now, however, that list is increasingly likely to include things such as table tennis tables, relaxation zones, games areas and even a cinema.
Earlier this month, for example, LinkedIn unveiled its revamped Sydney office, which includes a games arcade, cinema, smoothie station and indoor barbecque. The new design, which also incorporates an Australian theme, is intended to enhance staff motivation.
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Meanwhile, Yorkshire-based robotics firm Labmans’ offices feature pool and table tennis tables, a climbing wall and fireman’s pole for staff to travel to the ground floor, all of which staff can use when they feel the need to take a break.
Now, this approach isn’t new. Organisations such as Google and Innocent Drinks have been focused on workplace design, and held up as shining examples of how to use quirky features, for a number of years.
But, as organisations increasingly focus their attention on being seen as a destination employer, more are looking to unique or quirky touches that make them stand out, as well as be somewhere that employees want to spend time.
Providing space for employees to retreat to and switch off when they need a break can also pay dividends. Being empowered to take time out when they need to may provide staff with the space they need to clear their heads and return to their desks in a more productive frame of mind.
So will such features become more commonplace in office design? And what is the next big thing for the workplaces of the future?
If I may stray into the realms of self-promotion for a moment – and I will keep it short, I promise – the future of the workplace is one of the themes of this year’s Employee Benefits Live, which will take place on 21-22 September at Olympia National.
Now, where can I find space for a slide and table tennis tables?