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Google-Esque Offices Don’t Work for All of Britain’s SMEs

Google and Facebook are known for their ultra-modern workspaces. They’re striking with a high-tech design, bright colours and aesthetically pleasing shapes.

Designer offices such as these are becoming more and more popular within the creative and tech industries. However, these workspaces aren’t loved by everyone.

A survey we carried out with 500 SME business owners found that 21% of respondents consider Google’s Scandinavian-chic offices inaccessible.

Firms with a lower turnover particularly feel these spaces aren’t conducive to their businesses.

Why are these types of offices considered inaccessible? Our survey breaks down the top four reasons why all companies aren’t opting for ultra-modern offices.

  1. They’re too expensive – according to our survey, 51% of business owners said that high-tech offices would be too expensive to rent
  2. They’re in the wrong places – 29% of those surveyed said these offices are often in the wrong locations for them
  3. They don’t suit the brand – 24% of respondents cited that a modern workspace would not suit the ethos of their business.
  4. They’re not flexible enough – 10% of those surveyed said that the spaces were not adaptable enough for their needs.

In addition to this cultural divide, a regional divide exists as well. In London, 83% of those surveyed said that an ultra-modern office was accessible, compared to 60% in the North West of England and just 54% in the South East.

While some of this can be attributed to the fact that serviced office providers are more common in London, the fact remains that a significant part of the country feels like this aspirational type of office space isn’t accessible.

There is clearly a ‘missed middle’ of the market forming, with small and medium-sized businesses who feel that these workspaces are too expensive, too unobtainable, and simply do not meet their business needs.

What can employers do to keep office spaces modern without going ‘full Google’? Here are some solutions that needn’t cost a lot.

  1. Implement sound proof booths to restrict noise in an openplan environment. Offering a sound-proof environment can do wonders for your team’s productivity while protecting the integrity of your open environment.
  2. Create breakout areas. Dividing your office into different spaces gives you the flexibility of different meeting spaces. When different discussions are going on at the same time, productivity is sure to increase.
  3. Change the colour palette. Blues are known for being both intellectually stimulating and relaxing, so consider this hue when you’re repainting your office. Yellows, reds, and oranges are also known for being good workspace colours.
  4. Improve natural lighting. Offer your employees the option to sit near a window, or invest in LED lighting that mimics the sun.
  5. Create better storage options. Consider moving storage off-site to make better use of your current space.

The most important thing to remember is that ultra-modern high-tech workspaces aren’t for every business. Focus on creating the right working environment for your staff, being sure to create a bespoke solution to meet their needs and future-proofing the space for new requirements.

This article has been published in Property Week, Facilities Management Journal (FMJ), BisNow, CoStar and OnOffice


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