Beyond the basic appeal of clean, modern lines, design expert Aindrea White asks what the benefits of a minimalist office style actually are for businesses.
Minimalism is not a new movement, though it has been gaining momentum in recent years and is extremely popular within office design. Many of today’s leading companies are known for their forward thinking, modern office spaces.
While Google, Apple and countless creative agencies are leading the way with open, airy offices and quirky furnishings, a company doesn’t have to have a multi-billion turnover or relaxation pods to take advantage of the benefits that minimalist office design has to offer.
Boosts employee productivity
The human brain reacts positively to simplicity and performs best in a tidy environment. Multiple studies link clutter and darkness to anxiety, which is not conducive to a productive workplace.
Minimalism, in its very name, offers the exact opposite of clutter. Operating within the “less is more theory,” this style uses colour, light and structure rather than nicknacks to create the tone of the environment.
Minimalist office spaces are also very well organised, which further supports engagement and productivity in the workplace. Working in a space that is clean and free of distracting clutter and mess will boost employee focus, leading to higher levels of efficiency.
Promotes communication and community
At its core, minimalism encourages open spaces. As we move further into the millennium, memories of depressing, padded cubicle partitioning are fading into the distance.
With concern for culture at work growing in importance and prominence, office design is evolving towards open plan design, which allows for easier communication and collaboration amongst colleagues.
This is particularly important in creative industries, where employees feel the need to brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another. It also allows staff members to feel that they are part of a community, and not just a workforce.
An open and airy minimalist office is also excellent for maintaining higher employee morale, as small, enclosed spaces tend to feel dark and oppressive, and can hinder the creative process. However, an open design is also beneficial in non-creative industries, as it allows employees to communicate openly about clients’ needs, deadlines, and work together on presentations or proposals.
Attracts new talent
Any business wanting to grow and succeed is keen to attract fresh talent and new perspectives. With millennials beginning to make up the bulk of the workforce, it’s important to take into consideration how these individuals work and what they want in a new employer.
Today’s young professionals want to work in interesting, stimulating environments that have something unique to offer. And considering that work-life balance matters more to this generation than those before, they want somewhere they feel comfortable working, where their work and home lives can complement one another.
Millenials also value working in an environment that’s collaborative, and where they feel their voice can be heard. A minimalist office design addresses these main needs, enabling you to attract the right talent to add to your team.
Room to grow
If you’re wanting to attract exciting new talent and grow your business, then you need to have the room to make it work. Another benefit of minimalism is that it requires you to have only what you need, which, in turn, means more space.
The booming of the digital age has rendered oversized filing cabinets and archives virtually useless, with many companies even going paperless (meaning hefty printers and photocopiers are also becoming rarer).
A minimalist office design pushes the boat out further. Gone are the days of bulky desks and oversized, padded chairs. Minimalism brings in streamline desks and simple, modern office chairs as well as communal working stations, freeing up space for more people.
When you incorporate this minimalist office style into your business, it will enable you to stay at your office location longer because you’re not going to outgrow it as soon, even if you’re recruiting a bigger team. In the long run, this not only saves you the inconvenience of moving, but also the costs associated with it.
The “wow” factor
Think about any time you’ve walked into an Apple store. The colours are light and the display tables are anything but cluttered. This promotes a sense of order and feels perfectly put-together and intentional. And it is intentional – Apple has utilised subtle psychology in the design of their stores which appeals to the senses of their customers.
Removing the clutter, taking down the partitions and using lighter colours are just some subtle ways to incorporate a minimalist design into your business. Larger scale statement features utilising architectural elements such as open staircases, glass walls or skylights all add to an open, intentional environment and fit nicely within the minimalist style.
When you put a great deal of thought into your office space, it makes a statement. Making that statement with minimalism will not only resonate with future talent, but will also make an impact with potential clients. A well-presented office space promotes confidence and purpose, which is certainly something you want to instil in clients.
Aindrea White writes on behalf of Open Architecture, a Kent-based chartered architects striving to create innovative, beautiful and functional working spaces.
The most effective UK university hubs for student entrepreneurs
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.