Changing the look of your office is an ideal way to keep it fresh and dynamic. If you are thinking about shaking things up a little in terms of design and layout, ask yourself these questions before you start:
- How can different teams work more efficiently? The first thing you may need to move around, is not the furniture, if not the staff. If various people need to share a single space, make sure those from the same department are near enough to each other to avoid the need for long walks and telephoning. Sometimes, positioning people from different departments, who need to work together on creative projects, may be useful, so really think this through before making your decision.
- Tidiness vs exciting features: Google offices across the globe have fun items like ping-pong tables, remote control racing tracks and lots of colourful, cutting-edge designer features in their office interior design. While artistic and distracting features are all well and good in large offices, in smaller spaces, they can cause unnecessary clutter and wrest from the peace and clarity people need to produce optimal work.
- Is each workspace large enough for staff members’ needs? Neuroscientist, Lisa Feldman Barrett, rightly notes: “Nothing jangles a primate like crowding.” When people are placed too close together, levels of stress hormone, cortisol, rise, and this interferes with their ability to think clearly or creatively. A good office design company will help you make the most of the available space, or inform you if moving to a bigger office space is necessary to accommodate the needs of the different departments in your company.
- Is there enough opportunity for “serendipitous encounters”? Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, recalls that, when the computer whiz was designing new offices for Pixar, he was very insistent that bathrooms be placed in such a manner that they fostered “serendipitous personal encounters”. Long hallways are a great way for people from various departments to spontaneously meet, while spacious coffee rooms will also ensure that people from more than one department are together in one space at various times a day.
- Nature vs designer items: Colourful cushions, vases and frames can boost morale, but don’t forget to fill as many spaces as you can with plants; they have been proven to boost performance and lower stress levels.
- Beauty vs ergonomics: Ultimately, the most important consideration when designing a new office layout, is the health and wellbeing of staff. Ensure that they have enough space to move, and that their furniture is comfortable and ergonomic. Make sure desks are at the right height and that computers are fitted with the right filters to protect the eyes. Desks should also be large enough to accommodate all the equipment staff need. Finally, try to ensure that everyone in the office is working with natural light. Few things can be less conducive to producing good work, than having to work with fluorescent lighting all day. Also, be open to new ways of working. Standing desks, for instance, are said to do wonders for the circulation, and they also boost performance, if recent studies are to be believed. Those who work at standing desks say they feel increased vitality at the end of a working day so offer your staff the chance to try this and other healthier alternatives to standard furniture.
Reno Macri is a Director of a leading exhibition design company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in exhibition stand design & build, event design & production, office interior design, office fit out & refurbishments, retail branding and much more. Feel free to explore his office design portfolio. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Connect with him on Twitter.