Have you ever wondered what the secret to employee productivity is? This is the question Waterfront City asked itself before creating its Business Park. For months, the company has observed the best working environments in the world, seeking to identify the future trends in workspace design that increase productivity.
Here is what they found…
Research has shown that the design of an office is extremely important when it comes to getting things done efficiently and quickly. A good work environment has a huge impact on individual productivity, in particular affecting an employee’s ability to concentrate. It also enhances creativity, and thus innovation, in the services industries, which is critical in competitive economies.
In the last fifteen years, well-known Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple have been leading the way in terms of innovative work spaces, using fun, fresh and creative designs. Their goal was to create a work environment where employees actually look forward to spending a day at the office. The office complexes aim to stimulate creativity and inspire employees to give their best.
Companies like Apple, for example, have put tremendous effort into creating the perfect work environment by mixing business with pleasure in a setting where employees can relax and enjoy themselves, allowing their creative juices to flow and innovation levels to rise. Integrated business spaces that foster transparency, offer multiple options as to how and where to work and an environment that imitates life outside the office, with beautiful landscapes and natural lighting, are the best at improving employees’ productivity and happiness. Waterfront City’s Business Park offers just that: an elaborate campus made up of twelve office blocks, amphitheaters, abundant parking, green areas and retail spaces packed with the necessary services for offices, all nestled within a comprehensive urban space.
1. Flexible work
Being able to work when, where and how they want is one of the first concerns of today’s employees. In addition to working from their offices and homes, more and more employees are now working from airplanes, hotels and other remote locations. They need to be supported by technology in order to work efficiently no matter where they are. According to Makram Kaki, lead architect at Leftish, the company that designed the Business Park, Waterfront City will offer the kind of flexibility which tomorrow’s workers are looking for. “In The Business Park, we wanted to make sure to offer as many options and opportunities as possible,” he says. For example, the benefits of having 1600 parking spaces, surrounded by green open areas, a supportive retail network of stores, restaurants and other leisure facilities, are all distinctive elements for an advanced and productive environment. The entire Business Park is also covered with Wi-Fi in order to allow employees to be constantly connected.”
2. Open Spaces vs Closed Spaces
Silicon Valley has been the leader in terms of open work spaces. Leading companies such as Google, Yahoo and eBay have all adopted the trend. However, the latest surveys show that although open spaces may stimulate collaboration and creativity and make employees feel like they are part of a relaxed and modern company, they also bring problems, the main one being a lack of privacy. Many employees working in open spaces have reported being frustrated by distractions, which hindered their ability to concentrate and to think creatively, and led to poorer work performance.
One solution to the lack of privacy complaint is the inclusion of nook-areas where people can go and isolate themselves. Efficient working spaces should also provide a variety of purpose-built areas for specific activities such as formal meeting spaces, project rooms and individual work spaces that can be used by all employees.
The offices at the Business Park are of a Grade A standard, the highest for commercial office space. That grade includes open floor plans, abundant sunlight and building layouts structured to facilitate the adoption of the most advanced digital technologies and connectivity services. This infrastructure allows for customization of the office space between open floors and nook-areas that adapts easily to the requirements of any business.
3. Green Areas, Lighting and Acoustics
Having enough natural light and windows as well as passive or active contact with nature is a very efficient way to improve employee productivity and overall job satisfaction. If your office doesn’t have windows, a simple potted-plant or a picture of the outside world can help. Good acoustics are also vital for creating a peaceful and stress-free environment that will allow employees to stay on task. Creating some privacy for workers at their desks and isolated rooms for private discussions, as well as using sound-absorbing material in the ceilings and floors, will help manage the level of noise.
“Quality of life is our primary concern at Waterfront City. This is why we decided to build a Business Park that will put the workers in a state of mind that brings out their potential for creativity, productivity and innovation. The Business Park offers efficient floor plans, fully open spaces and offices from 100m² up to full floors of 800m², along with a unique campus layout with abundant green spaces and open areas. Landmarks include the great square in the middle of the park as well as the amphitheatre available for all companies at the Business Park to use,” says Samer Bissat, Senior Development Director at Waterfront City.
According to him, Waterfront City is working on infrastructures that will not only improve employees’ productivity, but also their overall happiness and well-being.
“Having green spaces complements the project’s aim to be LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified, that has led the Business Park to design abundant green spaces, as well as garden rooftops,” he adds. “Employees at the park can also go outside and take walks, enjoy the sea view or sit in our parks during their breaks.”
It may be some time before Google, Apple or Facebook open regional offices in Beirut, but if one day they do, it seems the only major office space that can cater to their preferences and demands is the Waterfront City Business Park.