These unconventional office designs are proven to enhance employee performance

Workplaces of today are shifting from traditional layouts to unconventional office designs to motivate and empower employees to do their best work.


Here are some innovative designs that are sure to turn your space into a healthy, fun, comfortable, and inspiring spaces for employee growth. 

Unconventional work areas

9Gag’s Hong Kong office features a wide open space with floor pillows spread throughout the area. Photo via Pinterest


The trend for non-traditional work areas is consistently growing among companies big and small, especially among those who want to do away with the dreary rows of desks and cubicles of conventional workspaces.


Unconventional work areas such as innovative meeting rooms and laid-back lounges allow less formal meetings and free-flowing exchange of ideas. Movable furniture, which some companies are already using, allow employees to work wherever and however they want.


Biophilic designs

GTB's Shanghai office is beautifully designed through the use of greens. Photo via Office Snapshots


Studies show that having greens inside the office indeed inspire better employee performance. Biophilic designs not only add to the aesthetics of the workspace, they’re also reported to boost cognition by 26%. Other benefits include employees’ well-being, overall better mood, and enhanced creativity. Cloud Employee, an IT outsourcing company, designs its offices with greens and plants to aid their employees who are working in demanding jobs in unusual shifts to maintain a positive mood while at work.


You can incorporate biophilic designs into your office by utilising glass windows for natural light as well as building living green walls or vertical gardens.                        

Open space

Saatchi & Saatchi’s New York office makes use of wide open spaces. Photo via Retail Design Blog


Companies are also breaking away from the tall cubicle walls, formal partitions and solid walls. Materials such as wood, glass, and other transparent materials are becoming the popular choice for partitions, but some wider spaces go with no dividers at all.


Breaking down the walls is both literal and figurative; without the walls to separate the employees, the space is more conducive to a collaborative culture.     


Flexible and dynamic spaces

Australia-based VicSuper has open meeting spaces in their office. Photo via Contemporist


Another unconventional office design rising in popularity is flexible and dynamic spaces. In this setup, there is a combination of open and private workspaces as well as breakout areas, and employees are not confined to one particular workstation.


Since most jobs today can be done with nothing but a laptop, dynamic spaces effectively allow people to work where they feel most comfortable. Breakout areas and communal spaces can be great venues for less formal meetings and productive brainstorming sessions.


Private workstations

Furniture manufacturers are now offering private workstations for the changing workplace. Photo via Steelcase.


As employees also need moments where they can focus, open spaces often come with private workstations. These workstations provide employees with the quiet and privacy they need to do their jobs, especially if the busy open areas start to get distracting.



The design doesn’t go back to the traditional cubicles, however. Companies are re-creating private workstations so that they still complement creativity and critical thinking.  


Home-inspired spaces

TripAdvisor’s headquarters has different areas including a game room. Photo via Office Snapshots


Employees spend half, and sometimes even more, of their waking hours at the office. With this in mind, turning your office into a place that feels like home can be the best way to keep your employees happy and satisfied.



You can add home-inspired spaces to your office by adding amenities such as a rec room, a bar, a lounge, or even a sleeping area. You don’t have to go grand—providing simple games such as table tennis or darts can make a big difference in adding comfort to your office.


Zen or meditation rooms

London-based media company Essence Digital’s meditation room. Photo via Essence Digital


Another interesting space that you can add to your office to enhance employee performance is the zen or meditation room. Zen rooms, which can be designed with hammocks, massage chairs, bean bags, as well as an indoor garden, give employees a quiet space to relax and meditate.


Downtimes in quiet places are an effective solution to stress and cognitive fatigue; they also enhance overall health and improve job performance.



Unconventional offices evolved as the solution to the millennial workers’ needs and wants. There are a lot of designs and layouts you can choose from, but at the end of the day, your office design should always be about keeping your employees empowered and satisfied above all else.



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