The under-appreciated art of office design

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The importance of good office design is perhaps more appreciated than ever. Yet a surprising number of organisations still get it wrong, considering the benefits of getting it right are so significant:

  • Customer relations. First impressions count, and this applies as much to environments as people. Potential customers and clients will get a very distinct and hard-to-shift impression from the moment they walk into a working space, so the look and feel of such an office should form a key part of any marketing, public relations and stakeholder management plans.
  • Productivity.Achieving the best layout is actually more about logistics than look and feel. Having the right things in the right place may seem small, but the savings in time and effort that come from something as simple as shifting a printer can soon add up, and over time, can make a major difference to the productivity of the workplace.
  • Employee engagement.People like working in a nice environment and are going to be more inclined to put greater effort in if they feel like they are being looked after. An impressive office will help to both attract and retain the best talent.

Getting the basics right

Here are a few things to be considered when setting up a positive and productive working space:

  • Lighting. Good lighting, and ideally natural lighting, is a basic physical human need and absolutely essential to get right. Positioning desks near windows and installing the means to control light levels can maximize the benefits of natural light. Good quality blinds installed by a premier fitting service are a simple, stylish and relatively low cost way of achieving this.
  • Delineatedspaces.People need a balance between open communal spaces that allow them to socialise and collaborate, and private areas that provide a means to retreat for quiet time or delicate conversations. A good office has plenty of both, with the purpose of each clearly defined and laid out so that people understand how they should be used.
  • Storage. There is no such thing as too much storage in an office, so a good working space has plenty. However, it does not stop with quantity. Storage rooms and cupboards need to be well organised and clearly labelled to make sure they are used in the most efficient and effective way and enhance productivity rather than hinder it.
  • Finishing touches. Furniture, art and ornaments may seem superficial but tend to be the things people notice first and which have the most lasting impact. Getting the details right implies that the basics are also taken care of, and little things like this help to define the working environment itself.

Future success

Considering all the potential benefits, it is hard to argue with the fact that good office design is inextricably linked to business success. In fact, one thing the most successful organisations in the world share is a dedication to creating and maintaining a positive working environment. While not every business is in a position to invest as significantly in their workspace as Google or Facebook, for example, getting the basic principles right is well within the reach of the majority of companies who should also then be able to reap the benefits.

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