We all know what makes bad office design. It’s just common sense, really. Cramped, dirty and dark, overheated or too cold, draughty offices with cluttered old furniture and impractical work spaces will make for unhappy workers, high turnover, low productivity and more days lost to sickness.
So it is no surprise that a well-designed, bright and airy office which takes its workers’ comfort into account at every turn produces more creative, more efficient and happier staff.
But how easy is it to create a well-designed office? What elements are the most important, and how can you go about achieving them? Here we take a look at some of the more important factors.
Functional and Practical
Perhaps the most obvious element of good office design is that is must be both functional and practical. That is, the office must be fit for purpose. There’s no point having a fantastic-looking office space which your workers find inaccessible and impossible to actually work in.
So there must be enough space for all of your employers, including the part-timers, and that space must be carefully set out so everyone has somewhere they can call ‘home’. Even in offices where desks are shared, it is important that your workers can feel a sense of ownership for the space they use. If they are allowed to personalise this space, all the better.
Flexible and Future-Proof
Another important element of any office these days is that it should be flexible, so you can easily change it according to your business’s varying needs. For instance, if you have a special project which requires an influx of temporary staff, you need to have somewhere to put them.
In addition, you should be able to adapt your office space as and when it needs it. So the ideal situation is an office which fits your usual needs – say, small offices for meetings, break-out areas for less informal chats, and a large open-plan space to house the main body of staff – but which can be changed at minimal notice.
Being future-proof, too, is an important consideration. This means having an office which is simple to move around, with space for your business to grow if necessary. You don’t want to get stuck with a tiny rigid office where everyone is crammed in, leaving you no room for manoeuvre.
Comfort Is King
The key to every good office is comfort. And this doesn’t just mean having armchairs in the break-out area. Comfort is also so much more than just an adjustable chair to sit on – it’s having the right lighting levels, the correct temperature in all weathers and space to move around when you need to.
So a well-designed office makes the most of its natural light or uses carefully planned artificial light in its place so there are no dark corners or overlit areas. It also has excellent air-conditioning systems which can easily be adjusted when the weather turns warm or cold so every member of staff is kept at a pleasant temperature every season of the year.
An often overlooked element of good office design is that of harmony. A harmonious office is one in which the décor, furniture and overall design fit seamlessly together, with no jarring elements.
If you are lucky enough to find an interior design company which specialises in offices – such as Ozoneinteriors – they will help guide you through the whole process of designing, buying and fitting out a totally harmonious office where everything has its place and fits together effortlessly.
Such a firm will be able to come up with creative and cost-effective ideas you probably wouldn’t have thought of. They will have the experience and expertise to advise you on what will work in the space you have, as well as provide every aspect of your office redesign, from the flooring to the furniture, the decoration, the lighting and electrical installations.
Any business these days needs to be aware of its technological requirements, as well as possible future innovations which may affect an office’s design. Numerous recent developments, such as standing desks, may be just what you’re looking for. Well-designed flexible furniture, such as ergonomic chairs and meeting tables, may also factor in your plans.
Whatever you decide on, you need to ensure that every element of your office design is chosen with your staff’s needs and comfort foremost in mind.
Well-designed offices will help you retain staff, and happy staff are productive staff, so your office will work more efficiently. It’s a win-win situation.