Good office design can increase productivity. That’s a bold statement!
Can the colour of the wall and the line of sight between desks really make a difference to the bottom line? We think so. We believe it is crucial. Starting with the right consultant is the first hurdle though. We are pretty confident that we are that ‘Right Consultant.’ To help convince you to give us a try, here are our top 5 great office design tips to get you thinking.
1. There is no such thing as too much light or too much space
As a national workforce, we spend approximately 90% of our day inside. For many, that’s on a computer, at a desk, sat down, often a fair distance from a window.
Natural light is one of the first things we consider when creating an office design and build project specification.
Often overlooked, the use of natural light will always benefit a design project. Even on the darkest days in deepest winter, when the sun is hardly visible, a window gives us something to complain about and to actually be glad to have a job at a desk for!!!
Natural light offers a much wider colour spectrum than artificial light, meaning that basic tasks are easier to perform. Ever walked toward the window when threading a needle or using tweezers? Numerous studies have been conducted that show an increase in productivity with natural light. These results are particularly prevalent in manufacturing environments but are still produce noticeably different results in office workers too. Evolution has given us eyes designed to work in the changing light levels of the sunlight, which is in deep contrast to the unforgiving, omnipresent harshness of artificial light.
Removing interior walls, using glass walls for private offices and creating benched desks rather than encapsulated workstations all help to provide more natural light to the whole workspace.
Walking hand in hand with light, of course, strolls space. Giving employees enough space does not refer simply to workstations, although that is a good place to start. Not only are big enough desks more user-friendly, they engender tidiness and crisp organisation. Additionally, we must consider the space around desks; the room for circulation. There needs to be enough space in walkways, around desks and other furniture for free movement. Nothing is worse than having a chair bumped constantly! Or having to say ‘Oops, Sorry’ every time you move to get a file. Remember the chair that was too close to yours in a restaurant. Yes, we all remember that more than the meal.
There is, of course, the balance between space and energy. Creating space that enables an electricity to build in a work place is also important. But, in London especially, we are rarely faced with an issue of too much space!
Open plan working literally takes down the walls, but metaphorically, it has the same effect. It puts employees on level footings. It helps vertical teams share knowledge and ideas. It helps bring people together, to improve team working and increases interaction. Recall Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Right before self-esteem comes love and belonging; before we can succeed, we must engage with others. Taking down those walls and letting in the light will improve team interaction and relationships leading to goal achievement and ultimately profit! Simple..!
2. Getting Away from the Open Plan
Undeniably, there are still some discussions that you don’t want the whole office involved in. 20 people jumping in with an opinion on the minutiae of a project will grind productivity to a halt rather than increasing it.
Creating break-out spaces are also vital and multi-use. Getting employees away from their desks for lunch will improve health, force a time away from the screen, thus improving eye, back, leg and general joint health and save the keyboard from spills! But break-out spaces will also help with creativity, improve decision making, aid goal setting and enable teams to take more responsibility for projects and accountability for outcomes. Not only does this come from a change of environment but because our memory is tweaked by the change in location. Using senses to aid memory instils the memory into the bank. A memory that is hardwired will be more important to us in the long run.
Additionally, creating a casual space will help ideas flow and creativity blossom. Sitting and talking through solutions in soft furnishings feels more innovative, naturally, than a desk-to-desk phone call or email, or even a conversation over the top of screens.
3. Tidiness is next to Godliness!
When it comes to small offices, this is even more important. The tidy one will not bother the untidy employee, but the tidy employee could be driven to distraction by the antics of an untidy neighbour! Keeping the workspace free of clutter and in an organised manner is crucial. It helps us concentrate, keeps the employee on task and means we can find what we are looking for! More than that, the image a visitor receives from a tidy desk is of an efficient, goal centric workforce. We have all made assumptions about the habits of an untidy employee on the other hand. And for a visitor, that employee embodies your business.
Banning food at desks keeps rubbish, and crumbs in the right place as well as encouraging communication. Having no bins at workstations also stops a rubbish build up – and again, encourages that all-important movement of the limbs and exercise for the eyes away from the screen.
Addressing storage is vital when planning a strategy around tidiness. Storage issues are the second biggest complaint in the office environment, after temperature. We always include a detailed storage audit with solution options for consideration on every project. But we also ensure that the addition of storage does not detract from the light shining through!
4. Buy Cheap, Buy Twice
Tightening the purse strings when it comes to paying for furniture is a false economy. It costs companies more in the long run than buying the right furniture the first time around.
We spend such a large amount of time sat at a desk, that it is vital to sit properly. Only when we have been sat incorrectly for a long time to we begin to feel the effects, by which time, the damage is done. The RSI in wrists or fingers, shoulder pain, lower back pain or neck issues require rest and time off work. Paid sick leave. The employer’s worse nightmare! A day off work. Definitely more than the difference between the expensive and the cheap option on the chairs! And it would be a pretty safe bet to say the sick leave would be more than one day!
Investing in a moveable monitor arm to keep the screen at eye level, a desk that enables the user’s legs to move and encases the spaghetti of cables we all suffer from as well as a chair that supports good posture will cost less in the long run than cheap furniture options.
5. Brand, Brand, Brand!
Branding the office is just as important as your website and your business card. Just splashing your brand on the web and printed material means that you are missing a trick for anyone passing by your office, for your neighbours, for your visitors and of course your employees. Back to re-enforcing memories, we need to see a brand a minimum of three times in different ways for it to have traction, for us to believe it and ultimately buy from it. Branding the office also gives that ‘I’m in the right place’ connection when we walk in. You are giving a confirmation and an authority to your business.
Using your logo on a feature wall will create visual interest. The coordinated wallpaper and mugs are not vital, but they will give the space an identity. It reminds us why we are here and tells others what we do. And if your HR team have run the Vision and Values sessions correctly, your team have bought into the mission statement that your logo stands for. Yes, we are back to efficiency and productivity!
Overall, the physical appearance of your office lays the foundation for your corporate culture. An office design and build project allows a company not only a facelift or a new office move but allows the opportunity to set the ground rules
from the start. To showcase your corporate values. To be appealing to your potential next fee payer.
After all, we are all guilty of judging a book by its cover.
Why should the office be any different?
Looking for great office design?
Contact Stanway Interiors and start your journey today http://stanwayinteriors.co.uk/contact/