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Google Nest Office Design

What Google has Taught us about Office Design

Office putting-greens, vintage subway cars and revolving bookcases are among the zany features that can be found in Google’s charismatic offices. Google is renowned for its unusual and extraordinary office planning and design as part of its model of motivation.

When you generate 68 billion dollars a year in revenue, you do not follow trends: you set them! And that is why the business world has been paying very close attention to Google’s famed “Nested Office” design.

However, regardless of what side of the design fence you may be on – there are some very insightful best practices that can be gleaned from Google’s approach; “create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world.”

1. Design is Deliberate

Many businesses approach office design as less of a strategy, and more of a pragmatic necessity. That is, workstations, desks, shelves, lighting, and other elements are placed “where they appear to be needed”.

However, as Google’s Nested Office design vividly demonstrates, design is not, and should not, be a passive exercise. Rather, it should be part of an overall strategic plan that is designed to achieve valuable workplace goals. Simply put: office planning should be deliberate, not by default.

2. Employees Need Variety

While some homes look similar on the outside – or perhaps identical – one peek inside reveals a rich, diverse inner world of unique colors, styles, lighting choices, and so on. In other words: unless they are staying in a hotel room, people do not want “one size fits all” interiors. Rather, they want the environment to reflect their needs and preferences.

In the same spirit, Google’s Nested Office design embraces and reflects the principle that employees need different work environments, for the simple reason that not all employees work the same way. Some work best in more open, collaborative spaces. Others prefer a more low-key environment.

Obviously, it would be impossible to create the ideal work environment that caters to each employee’s personal style. However, as Google’s Nested Office design demonstrates, it is both possible and, indeed, rewarding for both employees and businesses when they give employees a variety of working environments – even if it simply means offering the choice of a more introverted-friendly or extroverted-friendly space.

3. Those that sit together, Work together

Over the decades there has been a great deal of research investigating the importance of physical space within the workplace and how it affects employee motivation. Studies showed that within a workplace that encourages collaboration, productivity increases by 15%.

In contrast to old fashioned office structures designed by hierarchy (senior management on the upper floors and juniors on the lower floors), studies show that it’s necessary for people of all levels to work together to create and share information. This concept has slowly, but surely, started to infiltrate office culture.

4. Design Fosters – or Impedes – Collaboration

One of the most important best practices that Google’s Office Nested design illustrates is one that we have advocated for decades: office design can either foster or impede collaboration.

Furthermore, it is both possible and practical to have a collaboration-friendly office design without “unleashing chaos” and turning the workplace into a shopping mall. We have worked with many clients in  conventional industries that have found a highly rewarding balance between enabling their people to collaborate, while still maintaining a high degree of professionalism that befits their marketplace, and even more, is expected by their customer base.

Are these ‘out-there’ designs worth it?

So, what can we learn from Google’s unconventional workspace designs? Office planning and design has to reflect today’s evolving work environment.

At Urban Spaces we understand the requirements of a versatile work environment. Here are a number of key features that make for a collaborative workspace:

• Some open plan areas to encourage collaborative collisions

• Other areas for more focused task activities

• Additional common areas – coffee bars, cafeterias, lounge rooms etc.

• Areas that are designed for more than one person, rather than single-occupancy

For more advice on how to make the most of your workspace, get in touch today.