In the age of fast-paced, competitive business landscapes, it’s more important than ever for companies to invest in collaborative environments that can foster an active culture of employee engagement.

Thankfully, a well-designed office space can play a major role in achieving this goal.

When leveraged well, office design has a positive effect on several aspects of employee engagement, collaboration, and experience.

For example, open office floor plans promote better communication and more positive interactions between employees. Additionally, natural lighting, comfortable seating, and access to quality amenities can boost employee well-being, motivation, and productivity.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the positive impacts office design can have on collaboration and maximizing employee engagement.

We’ll also delve into some of the most popular office layout trends across industries and list some other essential office design factors you’ll want to keep in mind.

Why Are Office Designs Evolving?

The shift toward office layouts that promote employee collaboration and engagement is fueled by several important factors, from the evolving nature of work to employees’ changing expectations.

office design evolution

With the Gen Z population set to overtake 27% of the workforce by 2027, many businesses need to focus more closely on the following:

  • Maintaining a positive work-life balance
  • Promoting social interaction
  • Prioritizing employees’ mental health

Workspace layouts are mirroring this shift to support employee satisfaction, which significantly impacts employee retention, collaborative culture, and the success of organizational goals.

However, there are several other factors at play in the workspace evolution.

For example, tech advancements and the rise of remote and hybrid work are requiring businesses to change how they leverage new tools, including video conferencing platforms, hybrid management systems, and scheduling software.

Additionally, the challenge of finding talented employees means businesses need to compete to attract and retain skilled industry professionals using quality office spaces.

Let’s delve a little deeper into the impacts that office design can have.

How Does Office Design Impact Collaboration and Engagement?

Office design, whether done well or poorly, has a direct impact on employee performance, collaboration with fellow employees, and overall worker engagement. Through well-designed collaborative spaces, companies can better support these essential aspects of office operation.

office design and collaboration

Workplace collaboration also improves employee engagement, which is essential since up to 35% of the U.S. workforce is unengaged, according to Gallup reports. 

That said, business owners need to remember that different spaces can have drastically different impacts. So it’s a good idea to support employees in various areas.

For example, while an open workspace can facilitate increased collaboration, private workspaces can help employees concentrate on work and minimize disruptions. 

Considering it takes around 23 minutes and 15 seconds for a person to get back on track after a disruption, private spaces are a must for individual productivity.

All in all, beautiful office designs are among the strongest employee motivators for boosting office attendance.

Key Factors to Consider for All Office Designs

Before we explore office design trends for collaborative and engaging workspaces, we will introduce several factors that businesses should consider when developing any new office design.

office design features employees want

Whether your workforce is in-person or hybrid, you need to ensure that your employees have access to everything they need to perform effectively.

For example, there are several fundamental elements that even the most basic, lackluster office should have, including quality air, lighting, and access to clean drinking water for all on-site employees.

And those are the bare minimum.

If you really want to attract and retain talent while seeing quality work from highly engaged employees, you’ll want to go above and beyond in what you provide.

1. Air Quality and Lighting

An office’s air quality can have a huge impact on employee health and workplace productivity. In fact, some reports show an 11% productivity increase when employees have access to fresh, filtered, pollutant-free air.

Additionally, plenty of natural light from windows can significantly reduce headaches, blurred vision, and eyestrain, helping employees work more effectively for longer periods.

Businesses should consider adding the following elements to their new office designs to capitalize on these benefits:

  • Air filtration systems
  • Humidifiers or dehumidifiers
  • Plants
  • Windows or skylights
  • No-smoking policies

Here’s an article breaking down the best office lighting options as of 2023.

2. Water and Food

Hydration and fuel from nutrition are crucial to maintaining energy levels and working effectively.

If you want to help ensure that your employees do their best possible work, why not provide them with what their body needs to get things done?

Consider leveraging:

  • Designated break rooms or an employee cafeteria
  • Water coolers throughout the office
  • Access to fresh vegetables and fruits

Your business can also make nutrition information available to employees and promote mindful eating alongside water challenges to encourage healthier behaviors.

3. Comfort

In the past, it was commonly thought that a physically uncomfortable environment would prevent laziness and keep employees productive. Fortunately, time and experience have helped us realize otherwise.

comfort and office design

Businesses should promote comfort for their workers, as this not only increases productivity but also reduces the frequency of issues and ailments that often cause employees to miss work, such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Businesses should prioritize developing ergonomic workspaces using quality chairs, desks, and other essential equipment to promote employee health. 

They should also invest in rest areas and quiet zones that limit noise from building systems, which can distract and agitate employees. 

4. Mental Health

Regardless of the stigma that still clings to conversations about mental health, businesses can’t afford to avoid acknowledging the impact it has on employee performance.

workplace collaboration and office design

According to reports, almost 49% of employees feel lonely at work, largely due to a lack of face-to-face interactions. This loneliness can significantly hamper their mental health and job performance.

Businesses can help negate this issue for the sake of employees and their work quality by leveraging collaborative spaces and advanced tools that promote in-person interactions. 

For example, OfficeRnD Hybrid features a powerful set of collaboration-boosting features. These advancements are designed to encourage real-life interactions between coworkers within the office while supporting general operations.

OfficeRnD Hybrid’s new features include onsite meeting scheduling, office occupancy, schedule tracking, and a collaborative weekly planner.

These tools make it easy for employees and managers to book in-person meetings that work for everyone’s schedules. They also help promote enhanced collaboration within the office and encourage face-to-face interactions that support employees’ mental health.

In addition to leveraging these helpful tools, businesses can support employee well-being by implementing greenery around the office and increasing workspace flexibility.

Considering feng shui office layouts could also be beneficial.

5. Physical Health

While some companies prefer their employees at their desks working 24/7, it’s essential to remember that the human body wasn’t designed to sit all day.

Exercise leads to more blood flow to the brain, which can increase productivity, concentration, and physical energy levels.

To encourage physical health in the workplace, ensure that your office layout includes some or all of the following:

  • Adjustable workstations
  • Open stairways
  • Bicycle storage
  • Workout rooms
  • Shower areas

If you really want to go above and beyond, your business can even offer access to an in-house exercise facility for employees to use outside of work or during breaks.

5 Office Design Trends Your Business Needs to Follow to Elevate Collaboration

Now that you understand the reasons behind and key elements of office design evolution, we can delve into five of the most popular trends businesses are leveraging to create more collaborative, engaging workplaces for their employees.

office layout trends

Following these trends can help your business enhance the employee experience and attract new talent.

It’ll also help you develop methods of handling any space management issues you currently struggle with in your physical office.

But keep in mind that you don’t have to stick with just one or two trends.

Explore all of the great ideas each trend offers, and implement the ones you think would work best for the unique needs of your business and employees.

1. Layouts That Promote Employee Well-being

Employee well-being enhances everything from engagement and productivity to collaboration efforts, leading to overall workplace success.

A strong sense of well-being in your workers is also correlated with a lower tendency for burnout and quitting. As such, investing in employee well-being early on can reduce instances of costly organizational issues later, including attrition. 

Businesses that promote worker well-being create an inherently more pleasant and stable work environment — an environment that employees are less likely to want to leave.

2. Activity-based Hybrid Layouts

Did you know that between 43% and 53% of employees are bored at work?

Boredom is a killer of engagement and productivity, so efforts to keep employees interested in their jobs are a must for businesses.

Thankfully, activity-based offices can help cultivate employee engagement and prevent boredom.

That said, balance is also important. While an activity-based office design will help keep employees engaged, your employees will also need access to quiet areas where they can recharge or focus on specific tasks. 

That’s why we want to emphasize the “hybrid” part of activity-based hybrid layouts. For implementing that, you’ll need office hoteling software

3. Design Flexibility with a Future-focused Approach

When you create a new office design, you need to remember that it shouldn’t stay the same forever. 

By focusing on design flexibility and possible future trends, your workspace can adapt to meet your business’ and employees’ changing needs. 

office design flexibility

To focus on the future effectively, you’ll need to consider how demographics, technology, and other ever-changing elements will impact the workplace going forward and how future office designs can cater to those changes. 

You’ll want to ensure you can easily reconfigure your office space to meet changing needs, especially when accommodating new technologies. 

As an additional read, don’t miss these three articles:

  1. The Future of Work: Your Ultimate Guide to Flex Office Space in 2023
  2. Embrace the Future of Work: Redefining Office Spaces for the Modern Era [2023]
  3. A Complete Office Move Checklist [2023]

4. Interactive Technology Integrations

Leveraging new technological advancements makes it easy to integrate business-changing solutions into your pre-existing tech stack. 

With top-quality system integrations available for almost every platform, your teams can access a wide array of tools to support and improve your business operations. The wide range of intuitive scheduling and tracking features OfficeRnD Hybrid offers is one example. 

The interactive features embedded into the OfficeRnD Hybrid system allow employees to access essential information and perform key tasks in a fraction of the time it would take otherwise.

Employees can quickly look up which of their coworkers are in the office each day and compare schedules to locate ideal face-to-face meeting times. They can then invite their coworkers to meetings — which will appear on everyone’s collaborative calendar — directly from the system.

If specific employees and team members meet often, they can “Favorite” one another in the system to make it even easier to collaborate and schedule meetings.

Check out the short video below to see the features in action.

Remember, technology is a driving force behind evolving office design. As such, it’s important that you keep it in mind when developing your new workspace. 

High-tech digital tools like hybrid workforce management systems — especially ones that focus on employee collaboration — are becoming increasingly essential for businesses, as besides everything else they promote effective teamwork and collaboration.

5. Workspace Amenities with High Employee Appeal

Much of what we’ve covered so far offers high employee appeal. However, there are several other workplace design choices that can help your business’ efforts to attract and retain an engaged, collaborative workforce.

employees' collaboration and engagement

For example, modern furnishings and access to new, advanced tech options can be enticing offers. 

Additionally, access to company-provided recreational areas and other comfortable, fun facilities indicates that the business cares about its employees.

When an employee knows their employer cares about them, they’re more likely to put in their all and deliver the best possible results. 

Improve Collaboration and Engagement with OfficeRnD Hybrid

While modern business success depends on several factors, employee engagement, and collaboration are two of the most critical, especially in a flexible or hybrid working environment.

Providing your workforce with an innovative, flexible, and dynamic office design shows your appreciation for their efforts and well-being. It not only helps maximize their efforts and performance, but it also helps you attract and retain new talent.

Start for free with OfficeRnD Hybrid to see how its collaborative scheduling features can help you skyrocket your employees’ in-person employee collaboration and productivity. 


What Are Other Strategies for Promoting Employee Engagement?

In addition to the above, businesses can improve overall employee engagement by:

  • Leveraging regular feedback to praise and improve performance
  • Ensuring that employees have the tools they need for success
  • Revamping employee training or offering additional training opportunities
  • Promoting thorough onboarding for new employees

What Are Other Strategies for Promoting Team Collaboration?

To enhance workplace collaboration between employees, businesses can also:

  • Ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page through daily communication
  • Encourage team member autonomy (but with set ground rules)
  • Promote team-building activities with quality incentives for participants
  • Leverage the right tools that boost in-person collaboration.
Asen Stoyanchev
Senior Content Marketing & SEO Specialist | OfficeRnD
Asen is passionate about flexible working and the future of work. He firmly believes that work flexibility directly impacts one's health and well-being. When he's not writing, Asen spends his time devouring business literature, hiking, and parenting.