Gone are the days of separating work from community–thanks to innovations, adaptability and new designs in office spaces, merging a comforting and familiar community feeling with the workplace is more possible now than ever. If work itself is flexible, we at Business Furnishings believe the designs of the workspace should be, too–which ultimately improves employee satisfaction, productivity and mental health.

Recently, our partners at Steelcase recommended changing the focus of office design from a “work” mindset to a “neighborhood” mindset. Check out our top five tips to build a joyful work community.

Take Inspiration From Employee Neighborhoods

What better way to foster excitement among employees about coming to the office than developing a vibrant social space where they can work, learn, collaborate and enjoy time spent together? Steelcase says that offices must work to “earn” their employees’ commute each day by giving them a space worth spending time in. This means taking the time to understand the unique social and professional needs and personalities of your team and custom-designing a space to match.

Your team will see your efforts to include and accommodate their diverse experiences and backgrounds and feel especially valued and appreciated–making them even more eager to come back to the office.

As Your Work Policies Change, Make Sure Your Office Design Does, Too

As new Steelcase research points out, employees won’t fully feel like their workplace is changing to meet their needs in the new workforce if the office physically looks the same. Your team has gotten so used to working in different locations within their house and the freedoms allowed by this privacy. If your workplace still has the same standard open floor plan, lack of private meeting spaces and sterile, bland design, they’ll be less than enthused to give up their personal spaces for the corporate office.

Redesign your office with a combination of essential spaces for privacy and team collaboration. Our expert team recommends starting with Steelcase’s Work Better: Learning Spaces design principles for inspiration.

Provide Employees With the Privacy They Need

Yes, neighbors are great, and spending quality time with coworkers in a comfortable communal space is much preferred by many employees to sitting by themselves in a cubicle all day long. However, to accommodate employees on a hybrid schedule who frequently take meetings via video call, private spaces are still a necessity. 

If your office has an open floorplan, invest in features like Steelcase’s Everwall adaptable architecture so employees can easily construct a private workspace for their meetings. Not only does this create space even if your floorplan is small, it also provides easy versatility and change. Additionally, Everwall is an excellent solution for employees hesitant to return to the office because they prefer the quiet of home. 

Prioritize Joy

Steelcase recently interviewed author Ingrid Fetell Lee about the importance of joy in the workspace for the What Workers Want podcast. Evaluating even seemingly small details like color schemes, natural light and how comfortable furniture is can provide valuable insight into what you can do to promote more joy among your team. The level of joy experienced in the workplace is tied directly to employee satisfaction and productivity. 

Use Technology to Include Remote Workers in Your Community

When building a better work neighborhood for your team, don’t forget to include your remote workers. Collaboration between major technology companies like Microsoft and Steelcase leads to new workplace solutions like the Roam for the Surface Hub 2S family. These devices can make any space collaborative and include remote workers in meetings, brainstorming and in-office events. 

Looking for Ways to Build a Work Community?

Our innovative team of designers, account managers and furnishing professionals at Business Furnishings are ready to design your ideal office space. Through our partnership with the globally recognized furniture designer Steelcase, we offer the leading options for office customization and efficiency. Explore the full Steelcase collection on their website, and contact our Business Furnishings team for more information about creating a beautiful, welcoming office space your employees appreciate.