Johannesburg – When you think of “the office”, it’s easy to imagine the omnipresent ’80s fluorescent lights, bland walls, dated technology with spaghetti cables and typical cube farm.
With more than 2 000 hours spent in the office by the average South African worker a year, local companies are beginning to take note of the fact that a better workplace improves productivity.
As a way of securing the best and brightest, companies are now paying more attention to the environment created by their workspaces.
There are many different ways to make an office cater to its workers. Some offices feature gym equipment that helps workers reduce stress and get their blood flowing (which is great for staff who sit behind a desk all day).
Others feature lounges where workers can relax and feel at home. In some way or another, offices should be designed to encourage workers to think more creatively and playfully.
Here are six inspirational, well-designed and entertaining offices that add a touch of colour and fun to the South African workspace:
The company gives its employees wings by providing more than 1 600m2 space right at the harbour’s edge in the Waterfront, Cape Town. Its walls are decorated with surfboards and the brand’s sporting adventures and memorabilia. There’s also a wall of fame. Red Bull is provided on tap, there are private “war rooms” to use for break and strategy sessions, and there is a console games room. The high-end space provides a fun, industrial look with no ceilings, while being acoustically soundproofed. The space features amazing views and the natural lighting stimulates staff creativity. Populated over two floors, the office encourages staff to move around freely while eliminating hierarchical structures.
The paint company has made quite a splash with its colour-productive showroom offices. Guided by the colour-trend forecast, the brand’s office interior is creatively used as a canvas to illustrate its product range.
Key furniture items can be easily updated and changed according to the season’s Pantone colours. Each boardroom is used to display the different colour products while educating staff about the brand offering.
Open-plan work environments are provided with shared spaces, such as the canteen area, where colours are strategically used to promote both interaction and relaxation.
The company cleverly uses its office space to educate its employees while creating a fun, bright and bold environment that exemplifies its work and products.
This massive corporate space brings a taste of fun and flavour, starting with a VIP McCafé on the ground floor. Highlights include cash-free facilities, product taste testing and open days for surrounding CBD corporates once a week.
State of the art training facilities are provided and technology is integrated throughout, including meeting rooms and top-class boardrooms with their own private bar area and electronic screens and blinds. 360-degree views across the Sandton skyline allow for natural light and stimulate creativity among the workforce.
The décor includes vibrant colours with murals, art and funky wallpaper. Recycling bins are used to promote sustainability and open-plan devices such as the “phone booth” allow staff to take private calls in a temperature-controlled booth with built-in lighting.
The investment management firm created a fun, fresh contemporary office with emphasis on providing a number of different spaces for staff to enjoy; from showers, to lockers, bicycle hangers, to even a children’s entertainment room. The office space can also be used for multiple purposes.
The coffee station can convert into a staff canteen and entertainment bar, the play area for kids in the morning can easily convert into an employee relaxation space in the afternoons, the internal meeting areas can be used as project workstations, and the main boardroom can be used as a formal dining area.
Flexible staff areas are provided by using stackable doors to create open plan spaces, encouraging further teamwork and cooperation throughout the company.
The brand provides a space that is modern and clean and has a white clinical look and feel to represent the medical field. Its workplace features two ultramodern simulation labs that allow medical professionals from around the world to observe the latest in medical technology in stepped auditoriums and several meeting rooms with advanced audio and visual equipment.
Unique telephone rooms allow for private calls or quiet working areas and there’s a modern community café that features working areas surrounded by high benches and internet connectivity, allowing staff to break free and work in a more informal environment whenever they want to.
The office area incorporates so-called bright zones, which include different options of shared spaces for collaboration. The simple, well-planned layout provides a great education centre for staff, which makes learning fun while promoting efficiency and productivity in the workforce.
Toyota Tsusho Africa
Toyota took the initiative to place all its staff and employees in a green building filled with fun and games for all to enjoy. Fun office elements include popcorn machines and even a sweets area.
Pause and break-away zones are provided to staff for them to relax in when they need to. Modern trendy furniture abounds throughout and colourful workspaces incorporate natural African elements, such as waterfalls and natural wallpaper, provide a calming, stress-free environment that brings happy smiles to all.