Office design has emerged as an increasingly important concept for businesses, with research suggesting the correct design of a workplace can have a significant impact on everything from business results and productivity, to creativity and collaboration, and even on employee happiness and overall well-being.
In this post, we explore 10 office design ideas that can really make your workplace shine.
- State Your Mission
If you have a company mission statement, consider including it as part of your workplace design. For instance, you could have it written on a wall at reception, or in a key area of the office itself.
Your mission statement is your purpose for existing and, just as importantly, it reminds your staff why they are there. By including it within the design, you can potentially improve motivation, maintain a sense of purpose among employees and keep people focused on what really matters.
2. Embrace Biophilia
Next, it is important to include natural elements within the workplace, such as plants, water features and access to natural light. Not only can this help to improve design from an aesthetic viewpoint, it can also boost business results.
In fact, according to a report published by Human Spaces, the inclusion of 'biophilic design' - design that connects people to the natural world - leads to substantial productivity and well-being benefits for employees, while access to natural light in particular can boost happiness and reduce absenteeism.
- Provide Flexibility
Open plan office layouts have been the dominant layout choice over recent years, but various studies have also highlighted some of the negatives associated with them, including noise pollution and disruption.
As a result, other office design ideas are now emerging and one of the most promising is the use of designated collaborative spaces and quiet areas. These allow people to move freely between areas, based on their preferences and needs at any one time. Doing so retains the collaboration associated with open offices but provides greater privacy too.
- Use Colour Wisely
When it comes to adding colour to an office, you may be tempted to simply use the colours you think look best, or the colours you have been using in marketing campaigns. However, to create the very best workplace, you need to consider the concept of colour psychology and work with the colours that best fit the nature of your workplace.
According to research from the University of Texas, greens and blues are best for workplaces which emphasise a need for productivity. Red is good in small doses for drawing attention to a specific location, while mellow yellow tones are ideal for offices where creativity and inspiration are of the utmost importance.
- Showcase Artwork
In addition to using colour to improve the aesthetic quality of the workplace, artwork also has a role to play in enhancing a design, drawing attention to certain areas of the office, or making parts of the workplace less sparse or empty.
Crucially, however, artwork should be chosen carefully. Ideally, you want any photos, paintings, posters or other artistic elements to reflect company values, say something about the business or the actual work that is done within the office. Always consider whether the artwork boasts the necessary qualities to inspire people.
6. Keep Things Tidy
Even if you invest significant money into buying high quality furniture, your design will only benefit if things are kept tidy. Even the best workstation or desk in the world will fail to impress if it is covered by loose, visible wires.
For this reason, you should invest in items such as cable tidies and others that can help to keep desks clear. Similarly, you should include a sufficient number of bins in the workplace, avoid adding too much clutter to the design itself, invest in wireless equipment if budgets allow for it and generally embrace minimalism. A simple office can lead to a clear, focused mind.
- Enable Relaxation
For employees, it is essential to maintain a work/life balance and office designs can assist with this. For instance, the provision of lounge areas can help staff to relax during their breaks and enjoy the social aspect of their job. In some cases, these lounge areas can even double as a casual working area, or collaborative space.
"Lighter, powerful, wireless technology has untethered the workspace more than ever," says Jeff Miller, a design expert who has worked with Apple. "Offices now mandate the inclusion of dedicated lounge areas."
- Get Truly Creative
Finally, one of the best ways to complete your design is to get creative and add a few unique elements to bring extra character or help the workplace to stand out. This could be anything from putting your own products on display to adding a games room. Google have even added slides to their offices.
"One [business] we went to did interviews for candidates at a Ping-Pong table," says Kevin Kuske, a design expert from Turnstone. "It was about putting people in a situation that got them away from their canned speech."
9. Brand Your Office
When it comes to office interior design, workplace branding is sometimes neglected in exchange for pure visual appeal. Branding has been seen to be important for creating a sense of belonging amongst employees and conveying corporate values to visitors. While logos and company slogans have a role to play, branding efforts can be subtler.
Where office design companies, like Saracen Interiors, are taking office branding is to reflect a business’ brand, vision and ethos throughout the office whilst balancing it within the practical and physical restraints of the workplace environment.
"Some of the best branding can be almost understated," says design expert Jacqueline Barr, in an interview with Office Snapshots. "Perhaps something as simple as just a hint of the corporate colour."
10. Let Your Staff Help
While the bulk of your design should be the result of careful planning and collaboration with office interior designers, it does also pay off to allow your staff to have some input into how the workplace looks.
This does not necessarily have to be anything major. You might, for example, allow them to choose how their individual workstation is decorated, or provide a white board for them to contribute quotes and ideas. Regardless, allowing employees to express themselves will make them feel more included.
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