Designing workplaces that boost productivity


Kofisi office spaces in Westlands on March 26, 2022. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG

Nice offices that make for happy, productive staff, were never a thing. Then employees started rethinking how to make offices that resemble luxurious homes or hotels.

Gradually, they are adding exquisite interior designs, cozy ambience, nice flooring and a bar to wind down after a chaotic day.

One of the companies that are making waves in creating beautiful spaces is Kofisi. The shared workplace provider pursues the hotel model in how it makes offices.

“We combine a global thinking of standards and fuse that with brilliant African designs to ensure the spaces make people feel at home,” says Michael Aldridge, CEO and founder of Kofisi.

From the hand-made furniture choice to the wall hangings, the chandelier, and the African fabric textures to the carpet, the interior designs ooze elegance and sophistication.

Mr Aldridge says the uniquely designed furnished private offices, meeting rooms, event spaces and flex desks for enterprises boost worker productivity.

“We engage in all of the intelligence that goes into spaces ergonomic —colour, texture, mood, sizes—against a strong understanding of the frame where the companies want to work in,” he says.

Quresha Abdullahi, a human resource expert says employers should strive to make the workplace accommodative for the well-being and productivity of employees.

“Employees need a place in the workplace where they can even take a nap to recharge and is convenient, as opposed to taking the nap in the car,” she says.

Over the years, the company has made offices for Bolt, SWVL, Siemens, GiZ, several banks, and One Acre Fund.

“Productivity has been on an upward positive trend as the office environment supports the employees’ physical and mental well-being. We have also seen an increase in the number of employees coming into the office to engage with colleagues,” Bolt said of the multifunctional space at Kofisi Riverside Square.

Dedicated spaces in a private office or private office suites feature book nooks and library spaces where people can focus on their work –zone on what they need to do on their own or as teams.

Celebration spots include assembly rooms, knowledge rooms, bars and terraces where people can celebrate with a drink.

“Why not have spaces that allow you to think as much as to work and to relax as much as to push? These are all factors that Kofisi has been able to master the art of,” says Mr Aldridge of the provider that was founded in Kenya eight years ago and currently operates in Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania and Nigeria.

He says wellness in how space is designed is becoming a major consideration for companies as they seek to make employees happy and boost productivity.

“This is addressed in good lights, the right kind of colours for the right kind of mood as well as different directions that employees might want to face during the day,”

As people become more aware of their mental well-being, so does the popularity of the Flexi work arrangements grow and companies look to boost productivity.

The arrangements allow workers to operate without the constraints of a traditional job while taking into account individual personal needs.

While the most common flextime arrangement is working from home, other examples include telecommuting and shared workspaces.

Over the recent past, Nairobi has witnessed a boom in coworking spaces as global brands, startups and freelance entrepreneurs, mainly try to manage overhead costs such as rent and electricity

Nairobi Garage is another provider of co-working spaces, recently opening a two-floor outlet in the city centre.

The 12,000-square-foot hub at the 20th Century Plaza on Mama Ngina Street is the fifth for the firm, which operates similar spaces in Kilimani, Karen, and Westlands.

Increasing interest in shared workspaces follows the growing community of social entrepreneurs, developers, and consultants looking to cut rent and other operating costs.

In the early 2000 companies would invest in big expensive offices as they sought to make a statement with their workspace.

There has however been a mindset shift with more companies appreciating the value of shared workspaces, buoyed by the Covid pandemic that highlighted the need to work flexibly from home and the office.

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