Why Kenyan Employees Hate Their Boring Offices

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You spend half your working life in the office, so why is it still boring?

A few Kenyan modern offices are fast overhauling the boring cream-and-white walls with calendars and a clock standing in as art.

This office space transformation addresses new findings from an Ipsos research commissioned by US furniture-maker, Steelcase dubbed the ‘Office Renaissance.

Speaking in Nairobi at Capital Club where he met corporate executives last weekend, Sjoerd Jan Spiekhout, Steelcase South Africa regional sales manager, said that a third of the people interviewed from various countries were dissatisfied with their offices.

“They felt disengaged and were unhappy with their work environment, which adversely affected their overall output. An inviting work environment unconsciously boosts the workers’ morale leading to more productivity, hence higher profits,” he said.

Mr Spiekhout said the modern office should be a destination rather than a traditional 8 a.m to 5 p.m place and emphasis should be a lifestyle experience.

“Make people happy to stay longer in the office or you risk having workers whose sole interest is to put in enough work to preserve their jobs. While the Internet is a great invention that enables one to work from anywhere, the office is here to stay,” he said.

While the traditional office boasts of a closed door, no-go kitchen room, the modern office embraces a more friendly environment where workers can meet and chat over a cup of tea or coffee.

“People are happy to stay longer in an office whose furniture encourages teamwork on home sofa, cafeteria-like counter next to tea urns and coffee maker. It is for your company’s interest to invest in furniture that lures workers to the office,” said Mr Spiekhout.

Kenya’s coolest offices nowadays have swings, homely furniture and museum-like artworks that could be gourds or paintings.

Eugene Ngugi, the Planning and Interiors managing director, said offices nowadays incorporate local traditional designs that celebrate Kenya’s unique cultural values.

“We design offices whose walls don artworks from mosaic to collage and paintworks as well as real day-to-day items like gourds. It creates a homely finish were one prefers to work daily,” he said.

A good office, Mr Ngugi said, should bring the outdoors inside. ‘‘Large windows should give way to lush greenery outside helping workers enjoy natural scenes while highrise offices could have indoor plants,’’ he said.

Victoria Furniture’s sales and marketing manager Anand Shah said the new trend was fast gaining traction among state and private agencies.

“The traditional office furniture now has add-ons where customers want us to build what they want for specific spaces in their offices unlike the past when many buyers bought what we offered,” he said.

Mr Ngugi said this helped individual organisations emphasised furniture designs and interior fittings that portray their core task.

A nail bar, ping-pong table, hot air balloons, an-site gym for employees, hotel-style reception area, a fully stocked bar and yoga studio are some of the homely touches in the world’s coolest offices.

In Kenya, it is cozy sofa sets, swings, pouches, fridges, coffee stations that are common.

Articles adopted from Business Daily 

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