Gone are the days of tiny, lifeless cubicles and trying to squeeze as many people as possible into a drab rectangle of a space. Companies now realise that an attractive office space is an asset to be managed and maintained; it should be both space for workers to do their job in a great environment and say something about the company’s identity. Striking this balance can, however, prove difficult as the line between a creative and distracting space is a thin one.
With collaboration at the forefront of everyone’s minds, there’s an initial instinct to arrange offices in an open plan style and leave it at that. But this is a simplistic approach to good office design and one that’s not always guaranteed to make workers happy or facilitate the best working conditions. There’s a bit of a privacy crisis plaguing offices everywhere as staff struggle to find space away from co-workers to knuckle down when they need to complete individual or quiet work. A study by Steelcase found that privacy for workers is a crucial element, singling out ‘stimulation control’ as the primary factor that’s often lacking in open-plan spaces.
So, what are your options when it comes to office space planning? Read on to find out.
The first step and this may be done with the help of a facilities planner or manager, is breaking down the type of work your company does, what kind of professionals it employs and their need for proximity – to each other and varying equipment. It may also prove useful to survey your employees about the type of workplace they would most like and see if at least some of the elements can be incorporated into the office layout
Balance is Key
Striking a balance between the types of spaces available is best for all kinds of work and personalities. Consider arranging desks in a way that groups teams together but still gives people enough space to ‘spread out’ and carve a space that feels individual. Most offices require a conference room for client and team meetings – having a few available (for example, LEO meeting rooms )of varying sizes, can go a long way in providing adaptable spaces that can be used for smaller private meetings or even solo work, should a period of intensive concentration be required.
We’ve spoken a lot about work and office layouts but it’s worth mentioning the reception space too. Having a great welcome space that reflects your company’s aesthetic and ethos is essential, even if it doesn’t involve a company sign on the entrance. It’s good for any new and existing clients who will be paying attention to a myriad of details and to workers that come through space daily. A well-designed reception can be a real point of pride for people who work there every day, setting a certain mood and look as staff walk through on the way to their desks. Serviced offices are fantastic for this, giving a truly professional first impression for your business.
Boost your brand
Thoughtful decorating that carries your company’s aesthetic throughout the office space is great for boosting team culture and strengthening your brand. For example artwork – is low cost and easy to change should you need to. Otherwise, think about how you can use furniture and plants (green accents are great for livening up ‘tech’ spaces and improving air quality) to further communicate who you are as a company. If you’d rather keep it low-key without obvious signage, which can be a decorating decision in its own right, then well-designed and aesthetically pleasing surroundings will go a long way in sending the same message.
Workers spend far more time in an office than they do in their homes so making that space comfortable, even fun, shouldn’t be overlooked. Adding a few great amenities to an office space – like a lounge or breakout space are great areas to take time away from the immediate office environment and take a break or event conduct and an informal meeting.
A company that wants to invest in its talent will be mindful of this fact by planning the office space thoughtfully, taking into consideration the need for privacy but also good design so space is pleasant to spend time in all around. Striking a balance between shared, collaborative spaces and more private nooks will give staff the ultimate freedom to determine how their work will be completed best and your company will reap the rewards of a happy and productive workforce.