There was once a time when an office largely constituted a room with just a chair, desk and, perhaps, coffee machine. This arrangement was intentional; its clean, sparse look was said to foster deep concentration and keep unhelpful distractions at bay.
However, in the Noughties and 2010s, we have seen the rise of the “luxury office” – a fascinating new breed of office where extras once deemed frivolous, like slides, hammocks and even spaces for napping, are now de rigueur. Are these features still gimmicks, or is the modern hype justified?
What actually is a “luxury” office design?
Admittedly, “luxury” is a rather slippery word in this context; it can often be casually thrown about in discussions about office design but is rarely defined in clear-cut, easy-to-understand terms. For this reason, as Mynewsdesk notes, “the word means different things to different people”.
Consequently, the definition of “luxury” can seem “more subjective than definitive”, the site adds. Unlike the case with holidays or hotels, there’s no star rating system which lets you see, at a glance, how quantifiably “luxury” any given office is.
However, there’s one simple truth applicable to any workplace: how your staff use it can affect their own satisfaction and, therefore, how well they meet their corporate responsibilities. Therefore, any scientific definition of “luxury” can seem like something of a red herring anyway in a work context.
What “luxury” features would matter to your particular workplace?
In an Inc. article, Adam Heitzman, co-founder of the Tennessee-based SEO firm HigherVisibility, notes that even small changes along the lines of “offering sit/stand desks, or encouraging small exercise breaks, have amazing impacts to the energy of employees.”
He adds that, if you fail to look after your employees sufficiently, you risk increasing the number of sick days and losing productivity. As Heitzman observes: “This means unhealthy employees ultimately cost the company more money.”
Nonetheless, when you think “luxury”, you probably think of something like Google’s original campus, the “Googleplex” which, within its Californian walls, includes sand volleyball courts, lap pools, onsite laundry rooms and even eateries offering food for free.
Would such features be justified on your own work premises? It depends very much on the line of work in which your company is based. Google, for example, can immensely benefit from sleep pods, as they would allow tech developers to stay behind to work at unsociable hours.
Where “luxury” amenities can prove… surprisingly essential
When does a supposedly mere “luxury” start to look… well, not quite so much like a luxury? When it can give your staff a crucial edge. World Finance cites research from the Journal of Sleep Research revealing that naps can help workers to react more quickly and reason more logically.
Therefore, it’s easier now to see how, at least theoretically, napping spaces could help companies across various sectors. Getting in touch with a team of workplace design experts could help you to get your own luxury office design just right – and not as superfluous as it could otherwise seem.