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What do you need to start developing the right, motivational environment for your employees? 

Business Review has recently talked to Corporate Office Solutions (COS), one of the key players on the local fit-out market for office interiors in Romania, to learn about future trends in office design and what challenges would the companies face in the near future, in order to respond to the evolving needs of Generation Y in the workplace.

The spread of technology, global competition and the presence of Y Generation in the workplace are forcing companies all over the world to change and adapt to the new trends. “The multinational company is a well-known concept which has dominated the international market for the past 15 years. Very often a replica of a business model, from country to country, this concept is now becoming to change: we no longer talk about multinational, but of transnational organizations, with specific functions in different countries. For example, the financial department of a company may be in Romania, but the marketing department is located in Brazil and the logistics in U.K. This new organization model has a profound impact on the way people work, collaborate, structure their workday and travel” says Tudor Chindea, Sales Manager at COS.

Clearly the workplace must address the new ways of working and one immediate consequence is the replacement of individual workstations with non-assigned desks, which can better respond to the accomplishment of tasks.

Another factor influencing the workplace is the need to retain the talents and to address the needs of Y Generation, born after 1979, that are much more sensitive to the work environment. “We not only talk about the importance of contemporary design trends, but of realistic functional needs. The values of the Y Generation are different from previous generations. A motivating workplace is one in which hierarchies, although still present, are shaped by the open plan office in which communication is more open and informal as it used to be in the past” adds Tudor Chindea.

Formal offices are now being replaced by comfortable and relaxed spaces, which enable a more natural interaction between people, and this has a direct impact on the new design trends. Thus, we begin to see more areas designed for relaxation in the workplace, colourful, personalized lounge areas aiming to create recreational moments during informal meetings.

What do you need to start developing the right, motivational environment for your employees, incorporating the new office design trends?

Steelcase, worldwide leading office furniture manufacturer, researched and found out that you not only need a new office, but an entirely different approach for the workplace: the Interconnected Workplace. With this new concept, the office is designed to address the five challenges which affect organizations across the world, from the first step - optimizing real estate, to the last - Wellbeing @Work.

The starting point for a company looking to enhance the motivation and productivity of its staff is providing access to a wide variety of working areas, whether it’s for collaboration, socializing, learning or focused work. By organizing the space in specific working areas, where the user has choice and free control over where and how to work, we can create the premises for the next phase: boosting communication and spontaneous interaction between people, which can lead to better results and increase performance and innovation. Transparency in the workplace can bring numerous advantages, such as attracting more talents for your company that feel more engaged at work.

The fourth issue in today’s workplace is activating the brand and the company culture. Steelcase suggests that the best solution is to create spaces that communicate your brand to both internal and external audiences and design them in order to reflect your company values while demonstrating the value of your people who deliver your brand promise.

After these four steps, we have almost built an Interconnected Workplace. The final step, defined by Steelcase as Well-being @Work, means designing spaces to help people feel as a part of the organization, by encouraging a variety of activities, from concentration to relaxation, and different body postures, like standing, sitting, lounging or walking.

“In order to revamp your existing workplace and transform it into an asset for your organization, you first need to start with a good office design consultant. If the workspace planning is done by a specialist, the products only come to complete the office space. So, before investing in contemporary furniture and accessories, it is important to invest in intelligent tailor-made solutions” says Tudor Chindea, Sales Manager at COS.

How much does it cost to have an Interconnected Workplace?

The average budget for fit-out and furniture in a typical A class building ranges between 100 and 300 euro per square meter. The technology integrated furniture will probably be an important investment in the beginning, but in time, it will translate into more motivated, productive and creative staff.

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