Last Updated 21 October 2010, 11:34 IST

How important is it for companies to move to new office spaces that are a reflection of the character of their company?

Office environment has a direct influence on the creativity and productivity of those who work within them. Every firm wants the employees to reflect the character of the company. Interior design is one of the best ways to orient, motivate as well as inculcate company values. On an average, individuals spend more time in their workplace. They tend to absorb and emulate the culture that they are in for a good eight to nine hours a day. It is the responsibility of the company to, subtly or directly, communicate these cultural values to the employees and provide them with an environment that will allow them to feel as a part of the family.  

How has the Indian office space changed over the years?

Quite a lot. Globalisation has changed the office space over the years and it has definitely changed the Indian office space in a big way. We have moved away from dull walls to more vibrant environments. Also the look and feel of an office space has been changing regularly with the newer trends, for example, the domination of non hierarchical furniture systems aimed to promote and facilitate team building ambience in the office. Traditionally, work environments have been replicated to the built spaces in International markets without contextual relevance or aptness to the Indian environment.

And this is in sync with the changing values in corporate workplaces. People now opt for the jobs that they feel passionate about, and companies are aware of this. There are multiple options available for someone looking for a job. Phrases like “Job satisfaction” and “Fun at Workplace”  are a part of everyday conversations. Though HR policies are formed to address these, the office space also plays a significant role in crafting the mindset of the employees and forms an impression of the company.
What are the latest trends? 

The ‘Going Green’ movement is catching up in most offices. Accessories in the workplace are getting better. The latest in office accessories are personalised desk accessories such as memo holders, letter openers, clips, memo pads, organisers, and more. Technology in workplace is another trend. The conference rooms and even the canteens are using the latest technology, not only because it is more efficient but also adds a “wow” factor. Increased focus on ergonomics and comfortable seating is another area that is catching up.

Trends like one level office space is reflective of changing equations between employees and bosses. For example, non hierarchical furniture system, which is in vogue now, is an indicator that the boss is no longer the person who sits in a posh cabin. The seating arrangements in office spaces these days promote constant eye contact, free-flowing communication and easy access to the seniors or juniors. More importantly it allows people across the hierarchy to take part in random conversations and build a relationship with their peers.  

Ergonomics obviously plays a huge role in office design and space. So, what are the latest trends on this front?
Ergonomics is high on our radar. This is primarily because we are aware of the increasing stress levels associated with workplace. And we want to keep our employees as healthy and happy as possible.  

The latest trends here would be use of contemporary furniture like colourful sofas at the reception or coffee tables at conference halls. Today office furniture has become a lot more user-friendly. Modern and contemporary office furniture is the latest mantra. In fact many items are being put on wheels in order to make their mobility easier and can be rearranged on a regular basis with minimum effort. Leather is increasingly being preferred for upholstery, and nowadays, leather is particularly fashionable when utilised in collusion with fabric.  

How can one make office space interesting? Any tips?

I think personalising our office space is the best way to make office space interesting. Photographs, comic strips, scrap boards etc. not only aid personalisation but also helps build your image among your peers. It brings out the character of the person. Use of colourful wall textures, live plants to get an outdoor feel makes the mood lighter and less claustrophobic.  

Eka Software Solutions has moved headquarters, occupying about 35,000 sq ft of space at Vrindavan Tech Village, Outer Ring Road. So, how has the new office been different? And why this move? What are the out-of-the-box designs seen here?
In the VTV office we are all together on one floor, unlike earlier where we were divided across floors. The new office is much more vibrant. The move to our new office is a significant investment.

We wanted to communicate our stability as a business house. More importantly, we wanted to move to a better office environment that reflects the Eka culture. During the concept and brief discussions with Atelier (our architects), we were looking to create a culture that is innovative, fun, software product based, yet remains committed to its solid heritage within the Global Commodity sector, and sought a new premise that reflected this. We wanted a contemporary workplace that would be forward thinking and vastly different to what we previously had. Following on from this Atelier came out with the “WO-MUR-RANG” (Woomerang) concept as the design language to develop this project.  

At Eka the reception table, workstations and lighting elements were custom designed and manufactured specially for this project, styled and shaped on the Woomerang. The flexible open plan with its industrial aesthetics of an exposed false ceiling, open cubicles and maximum use of natural daylight penetration, promotes workplace integration, communication and barrier free vision across the floor.

Spatially the facility is planned as Work+ Collaborate + Learn + Socialise spaces.  The graphics inside the new EKA facility is themed according to the set of the company’s internal, informal guidelines called the EKA Senses. Each “sense”  is displayed across the facility through abstract illustrations to emphasise creativity, innovation and thinking out of the box. The new facility has been designed and laid out in correspondence to the values the company stands for. One of the primary purposes of the graphics was to strongly introduce the element of fun in the facility.

(Published 21 October 2010, 11:08 IST)

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