Moving or refurbishing your office can have an enormous impact on your business, so before you get into colour swatches and branding, you need to take a look at the fundamental aspects of your office design and what effect your choices will have on your business and office culture.
To help simplify this process, we’ve put together our complete office design checklist in one handy infographic below.
Office culture is more important than ever before — British people are reported to work 1538 hours annually and an average of 3,507 days over their lifetime. So being unhappy at work can have a substantial negative impact on their mental health. Likewise, if their workspace isn’t meeting their needs, they can soon become demotivated, unproductive and unhappy — this will have a knock-on effect to your business.
One of the first things to consider when thinking about refurbishing or moving offices is your workspace layout. Are you thinking of having an open plan office, cubicles, hot desks or perhaps separate rooms for each department?
In recent years, open plan offices have become more popular; however studies show that workers in open plan offices take more sick leave, are more stressed and less productive than those with more privacy. And despite employers’ best intentions, they’re also shown to reduce face-to-face communication and increase email messaging.
So if you’re thinking about having a totally open plan office, you might want to consider breaking up the workspace with office partitions, comfortable seating areas and plants to give your employees more privacy.
Consider how your office layout plans may affect the lighting in your workspace — where are you placing large furniture, walls and partitions?
Seasonal affective disorder particularly impacts people in the UK through the autumn and winter months. This low mood is triggered by low levels of daylight and studies show that women are more likely to be affected by winter depression than men.
With this in mind, we recommend doing what you can to make the most of natural light in the office — avoid blocking windows with bulky furniture and consider installing skylights if the building allows. Where possible, arrange desks so that employees are seated close to windows.
When it comes to fixed office lighting, be sure to replace broken and flickering lights and opt for dimmable LED lighting over fluorescent lighting options. Layering ambient lighting with brighter lights for focussed tasks will allow for flexibility depending on the task in hand.
Plants have many benefits, from improving employee mental health and productivity to cleaner air and reducing noise levels. But for many, plants are an afterthought when it comes to office design — they tend to be scattered about after the office fit out or refurbishment process is complete.
But it doesn’t need to be this way. They can actually be incorporated into your office interior design right from the get-go - from living walls and partitions to floating baskets and rooftop gardens. There are so many options — you won’t have an issue finding plants to suit your tastes.
With domestic pet owners making up 51% of the UK population, it is becoming increasingly popular for employers to allow their employees to bring pets, usually dogs, to work. Pet-friendly offices can have a number of benefits — they can act as an icebreaker, helping to increase communication among employees and break down barriers between staff members that wouldn’t usually speak to one another.
If you’re thinking of taking this approach in your office, you’ll need to tailor your workspace to your pets’ needs. Some things you might consider are:
Installing partitions, glass cubicles or gates to keep your furry friends in their intended areas.
Opting for larger office desks to provide space for pet crates or beds underneath.
Natural colours and textures to avoid exciting the animals and deter them from chewing any furniture.
Flooring that resists smells and stains.
It takes just seven seconds for you and your business to make a first impression, so make it count! If your new office is going to include a reception area, think about branding, interior decoration, clear signage, comfortable furniture, lighting and space.
Remember, whether your clients and employees are going to be in your reception area for thirty seconds or ten minutes, making them feel comfortable and relaxed could make all the difference in their mood.
When choosing your office furniture, it’s not all about looks, it’s about functionality and comfort too. Office workers are reported to sit for almost nine hours every day and 75% of their waking hours seated. Not to mention that those with musculoskeletal disorders lose an average of 18.4 days of work per year.
The right chair in the correct position paired with the perfect desk can make all the difference when it comes to improving employee wellbeing and productivity. You might look at giving your employees options for their work areas with both seated and standing desks and comfortable armchairs and sofas for teamwork and relaxation.
The average worker is reported to spend over four hours in meetings every week so when designing your new office, your meeting rooms shouldn’t be forgotten.
Some employees will thrive on social interaction so a good meeting space can be really useful for your business. Space for collaboration is important to allow colleagues to discuss and generate ideas and learn from one another.
Treat your meeting space the same way you would your office - enhance natural lighting wherever possible, incorporate plants into your plans and depending on the space you have available, think about including a variety of comfortable and functional furniture.
Don’t forget about whiteboards and television screens for demonstrations and creative planning.
We’ve touched on the topic of employee wellbeing and mental health in this blog and staff areas are a part of this. Social areas and kitchens are an important part of your workspace as they give your team space to relax, socialise and take breaks from their screens.
These areas can be multi-functional to help meet other needs as they arise. For example, they can be a great place to hold an impromptu meeting if other meetings spaces are unavailable.
We specialise in office fit-outs, refurbishments and design. If you’re looking for inspiration for your office, you can take a look at our previous work, read our Essential Guide To Office Refurbishments or get in touch with one of our friendly team today. Call us on 01275 464 220 or get in touch online.