5 Tips to Update Your Office for the 21st Century

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Outside-OfficeWhen it comes modernizing a dated office, there are certain trends to take note of. No matter what the nature of your business is, certain guidelines have changed the way offices are set up.

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If you update your office to encourage creativity and openness, keep up with the times technologically, and adjust the way you look at the workday, and you'll be well on your way to creating a completely modernized 21st century office space. Take a look at these tips to get the ball rolling.

Channel Reagan (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”)

So it probably won't make history the way the Berlin Wall's destruction did, but it will open the lines of communication between your employees. If your office is divided into five-by-five partitioned cubicles, and you're looking for ways to bring your office into the 21st century, tear down the walls.

Meet with employees and management to get an idea of which areas they'd be comfortable opening up. Consider setting areas up so people who complete similar work can collaborate, while also sectioning off areas for more quiet activities.

Part of bringing your office into the 21st century is making provisions to welcome the wave of millennials coming into your workplace. These young professionals are accustomed to an open exchange of ideas and a socially oriented office that they can feel comfortable collaborating with their peers. An open layout will facilitate that mentality.

Welcome New Technologies with Open Arms

The 21st century is the era of the computer. And the smartphone. And the tablet.

Embrace these technologies, and make it a priority to invest in upgrades every few years or so. Computers and devices that run on current operating systems with a stable connection to the Internet will streamline processes and eliminate the chance for technical difficulties getting in the way of project deadlines. Additionally it will keep employee morale up, as they'll see that the company values their time and effort spent on these devices.

Employees of the 21st century like to work on their own terms. Most have their own tablet, laptop, or smartphone, and enjoy using them to complete work-related tasks. Companies who implement Blackberry BYOD will be able to merge the gap between corporate-issued and personal/employee-owned devices. Consider adding a BYOD policy to your IT infrastructure. Your employees will get the flexibility they want, and you'll get the security you need.

Consider Non-Traditional Schedules

Young professionals value the ability to work on their own schedules. As the 21st century unravels, keep an open mind about off-beat schedules and focus more on the results. For instance, some people work better at midnight in a coffee shop than they do at 10:00 a.m. in their cubicle at work.

Survey your peers and employees to see what they're comfortable with. Allowing employees to have this freedom will likely empower them to be more creative and will appreciate being trusted to complete tasks on their own terms. That confidence is invaluable when it comes to generating ideas and collaboration between professionals.

Cater to Ergonomic Standards

As you're changing things up, take a look at the workstations you've provided for your employees. Do the chairs have multiple settings to adjust to each user's dimensions? Are employees uncomfortable due to lack of proper desk equipment? If you're considering modernizing the office, now's the time to upgrade workspaces to reflect proper ergonomic standards. It's probably a good idea to hold a training session with all employees to explain ergonomic standards, and coordinate them for each user in each workspace.

Offering this service will enhance employee productivity by encouraging comfortable and healthy posture while at work. The result will be fewer workers' compensation claims and improved mood among employees.

Take it Outside

If your facility has the space, place an outdoor table and chairs in a secure area, and hold small meetings outdoors when weather permits. Encourage managers and project designers to do the same. By removing themselves from the fluorescent lighting and stark white walls of an office for a quick brainstorm or status update session, they can get creative juices flowing and improve overall mood, which enhances the outcome of the meetings.

Above all, keep an open mind. Monitor what other modern companies are doing with their workspaces, and take notes. Ask your employees about what they think, and take all factors into consideration. Updating your office to be in tune with 21st century trends will undoubtedly send a clear message to both staff and clients alike, showing them how much you value creativity and the well-being of your employees.