Everyone thrives in different settings. For some, a high energy work environment with lots of activity spurs creativity. For others, the same environment represents productivity-killing distractions. This is where the concept of your ideal work environment comes in. Do you know which work environment is the best for you? Is it working at the penthouse office on Wall Street, or maybe lounging by a beach?
In this post, we’ll outline several common work environments so you can figure out which best suits your style. And later on, we’ll walk you through the basic tools you’ll need to connect with your team, your boss, and your clients regardless of your work setting.
What is your ideal work environment?
Ideal work environments differ based on who you’re asking. Some people thrive in a collaborative environment with their coworkers next to them; others thrive when they work alone in a dedicated home office.
Listed below are some common ones to help you figure out your preference.
Many companies adopted a fully remote setup because of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone to practice social distancing and self-quarantine. As countries – and companies – ease restrictions, a few are deciding to do permanent work-from-home, just like Twitter, Facebook, and Square.
- Employees can work from anywhere in the world, as long as the team works asynchronously
- Easier work-life boundaries for experienced remote workers
- Lower expenses on commutes for employees, and operational costs for companies overall
- Collaboration may sometimes be affected, if teams haven’t figured out how to work together seamlessly online
- Employees have to be accountable to themselves, which may not work for some people
- Loneliness is a common problem experienced by remote employees
Partially remote environments can have employees reporting to the office a few days a week and working remotely for 1-2 days. Many companies are adopting this before committing to fully remote work, and some are implementing this setup to slowly deal with COVID-19 skeletal workforce requirements.
- Employees can switch between different setups, which can increase engagement and productivity as they are exposed to changing environments
- Teams are able to meet in person for regular meetings
- In-office employees may have a difficult time communicating with their remote counterparts if work is asynchronous
In an open-office
Open-office floor plans are often used in large companies to create an open space for employees to be creative and collaborative, instead of stuck inside their own cubicles.
- Open-office floor plans can increase communication and collaboration
- Companies can use their open floor plan to introduce wellness rooms and dedicated spaces for meetings, solo focused work, and the like
- Boundaries may be forgotten if employees are able to reach anyone whenever they want
- Distractions can abound if moves aren’t made to reduce noise or set designated areas for chit-chat and meetings
In a private office
A private office is often associated with executives, but your office may provide private offices for other people, even if for shared use.
- Depending on the building, private offices may lack natural lighting or have bad ventilation
- Private offices can lead to a divide between people, as a symbolic and unconscious barrier to communication
Maybe you like working on your laptop at the library, at a coffee shop, or even at home. On-the-go work can even mean working from anywhere in the world, especially if your company supports asynchronous work hours.
- You have a chance to work with your natural energy
- You can increase your productivity by exposing yourself to different environments
- Constantly being on the move can be tiring over time
- You need to always search for spots with internet service to be able to work efficiently
Define what you want from a workspace
Now that you’ve seen the different kinds of workplaces, it’s time to decide on which one may appeal to you best. Here are a few things you’ll want to get clear on as you find your ideal work environment.
Freedom to travel
Do you want to be able to work from Europe or Asia even though your company is based in the US? Do you want to live in two cities in a year while being able to keep your job?
Ability to meet with your team
If you want to meet with your team five days a week, you’ll either need to work at the office or, alternatively, have a great video conferencing tool. Meetings are essential for team success and collaboration, but with current advancements in tech, we can meet with our teams from anywhere in the world.
Some time at home
Maybe you want to spend a few days a week at home but not immerse yourself completely in a permanent work-from-home situation. In this case, a partially remote position could work best for you.
Sometimes you crave human connection, like seeing your colleagues every day and being able to chat with them in person for some water cooler gossip during breaks. If this is the case, you might be best suited to an open floor office where you’re surrounded by your coworkers and bosses.
Get your toolbox ready for work (wherever you are)
No matter which is your ideal work environment, or which one your company decides to adopt, you’ll need the right stack of tools to help you and your team succeed. So whether you all work together in an office, have partial remote days, or have gone fully remote, check out these essential tools you’ll need for any workspace.
Lifesize: Video Conferencing
Video conferencing is a must for teams, especially if they have a partial or fully remote workforce. Different from webinar software designed for online workshops or seminars, video conferencing solutions bring teams together for optimum collaboration even if they aren’t in the same space.
So when it comes to video conferencing, Lifesize is the best in the biz, and here’s why:
The platform was built as an all-around experience designed to level up your video conferencing, whether you have a physical office with meeting rooms or a completely remote workforce around the globe. With top-rated video, audio, and content sharing features – as well as important security features like end-to-end encryption and the ability to integrate with your existing marketing stack – Lifesize makes video conferencing enjoyable and productive.
Slack or Microsoft Teams: Team messaging
Slack and Microsoft Teams are great tools for team messaging, known for ease of use and offering the ability to organize, share, and access files quickly and productively.
With either tool, colleagues are able to start channels specific for a certain topic or project, instead of having to sort through one long group text.
G Suite or Office 365: Collaboration
G Suite and Office 365 make it easier for your team to work together on the cloud. With apps like Google Docs or World Online for document creation, Sheets/Excel for spreadsheet management, and Slides/PowerPoint for creating decks and presentations, your team is able to seamlessly collaborate on various content types all on the cloud.
Given that most organizations deploy a single collaboration platform for all employees, it’s helpful to have a working knowledge of both G Suite and Office 365 in the event you change jobs or find yourself collaborating with teams outside of your company.
Kaptivo is a powerful digital whiteboard platform for remote and distributed teams. With it, you can do anything you would typically do on a physical whiteboard and more, including automatically saving whiteboard content and securely sharing with remote participants after your brainstorm.
FreshBooks allows you to create invoices, manage payments, and track expenses all from one convenient app. Whether your team manages finances, like individual work expenses, together or if you work with a bookkeeper or consultant, FreshBooks makes it easy for everyone to see pending bills, expected payments, and more.
5 tips on finding your perfect workplace
Want to get started on finding your perfect work environment? Here are a few tips you can try.
1. Test out a few
One of the best ways to see what works best for you is actually taking them on a test run. If you think you’ve always wanted to try working remotely every day, test it out. If you think you’d thrive in an environment where you met with your team every once in a while, you can opt for a few days in-office and a few days remote.
2. Talk to your boss before
You’ll likely want to talk to your boss about a new work environment for your team, just so everyone can get on board. Speak with your boss about testing out a few work environments, and even present them with a plan moving forward. You can always assure them later that you can always revert back to the old workspace setup if productivity takes a hit.
3. Set up your tools before you go
If you’re going remote, be sure to get everyone on your team on Lifesize, Slack, and all the other tools we listed above. Set yourself up for success, so that transitioning from one work setup to another becomes a seamless experience – especially when you have the tools to support you every step of the way.
4. Create a work schedule
A work schedule might help you ease into new workplace setups. If you’re going remote for a few days, give yourself a schedule to maintain productivity. And if your team adopts asynchronous work, then you can match your work hours at your peak energy and creative levels.
5. Experiment with different work rituals
Maybe when you were commuting to work, you were listening to podcasts to help you get in the zone. (Statistics show, after all, that there were 75 million podcast listeners in the United States in 2018 alone, with many of them tuning in on their morning drive or commute to work.)
When this is absent, it might be hard to get back into the swing of things. As an easy fix, give yourself a new work ritual, depending on the work environment that you’re in. Working from home? Maybe preparing a fresh cup of coffee can be what gets you ready for the day.
Different things work for different people, including ideal work environments. Gone are the days when everyone had to work the same way because the technology couldn’t support different kinds of workspaces. Use everything in the post above to help you figure out your ideal work environment, as well as the essential tools that will help you thrive.