Designing your office space involves more than just improving the aesthetics; you should also seek to optimize the space for both form and function. The interior of your office can uplift or sink your morale and that of your staff. As such, you should design spaces that strike the right balance between aesthetics and functionality to make them comfortable, visually appealing, and practical.
Before you start planning your office space design project, there are a few questions you should consider:
What is the intended purpose of the space? Having a clear view of what you want to accomplish will allow you to prioritize certain elements in the design in order to fulfill those core functions.
What is the ideal floor plan for your kind of business? You should figure out an appropriate layout for the optimal placement of furniture, footpaths, and general space architecture.
- What look and feel do you want to create? The appearance of your workspace depends on your choice of colours and any personalized design elements you would like to apply throughout.
What are your company’s storage capabilities? You should include filing and other storage options when planning your layout.
Do you want some areas to look different? You may choose to standardize some elements with a uniform theme, unless you want to create a unique impression for different services.
Designing your office space can be exciting if you know what to do. Here are some aspects to consider before making your decisions on the design questions above:
Prioritize Natural Lighting
Natural light is an important design element for creating a healthy and productive office. It will help your employees see better, and is healthier for the eyes compared to fluorescent lighting, which has been shown to cause eye strain and headaches, as well as feelings of confinement. In addition, studies show that the light one is exposed to influences their melatonin levels, which in turn affects your ability to focus and feel awake. Natural light is known to make people feel more alert, whereas artificial light causes drowsiness. So, when planning your design, consider finding a space with large windows.
Understand Space Utilization
Before you can start designing the space, you must first ensure that it is enough for the nature of your business and whether it’s appropriate for your preferred work environment: open space setting, cubicles, or work stations. This includes determining the equipment and furniture items you will need, such as computers, telephones, workstations, desks, filing cabinets, and so on.
This serves both a practical and a safety issue. You should design your office around your employees’ needs to maximize the function of the space. For instance, your equipment should be easily accessible to all your staff, with desks close enough to electrical outlets and filing cabinets in shared spaces. At the same time, you should allow enough space for people to quickly and safely exit the building in the event of an emergency.
Interior space design experts recommend that businesses apply a 3-foot rule, so you have 3 feet between walking and sitting areas; provide 3 feet of space between individuals at conference room tables; and keep walkways at a minimum of 3 feet wide.
Other common spacing tips include:
Identifying areas that are quiet for individual activities.
Identifying areas that receive the most foot traffic to serve as collaborative areas.
- Grouping quieter areas together and placing communal working spaces away to maximize privacy and collaboration, respectively.
Using walls or dividers to separate employees who use their phones frequently to avoid distracting their coworkers.
Choose the Right Furniture
This is an important consideration to maximize your employees’ productivity so they can accomplish their work goals. The choice of office furniture typically depends on your organizational culture and goals. Ergonomic chairs with adjustable options such as back angle, seat height, and arm height can provide greater comfort so your employees can focus better and work longer hours without fidgeting or walking around to stretch.
Modern businesses prefer workstations as opposed to conventional desk systems. Therefore, make sure to provide your staff with innovative and flexible workstations, so your space is more adaptable to business changes. Workstations typically integrate essential hardware and electrical components to operate high-tech equipment.
Important furniture considerations include:
Modular vs. ergonomic workstations: Modular units are tailored to the current working area to give your employees access to the necessary components, such as hutches and drawers. They are more common in U-shaped office areas or corners. Ergonomic workstations, on the other hand, seek to maximize user comfort and may provide lumbar support chairs and tables.
Filing cabinet systems: You can also choose used office filing cabinets for your common filing cabinet systems that can be accessed by all your employees, with separate cabinets in a different area for confidential information.
Dynamic collaborative areas: For your communal spaces, such as the breakroom, consider adding a blend of innovative and stylish seating options, including unique loungers and couches to encourage employee engagement.
Integrate Some Greenery
As employees and customers now expect businesses to exercise environmentally friendly behaviour, making your office sustainable will make you more likeable compared to your competitors. You can achieve this by placing workstations and collaborative areas near the windows to take advantage of the natural light and scenery.
Alternatively, you can install all-natural green walls comprising a blend of different plants and flowers. Besides creating a strong focal point, this will also improve the lighting design and ventilation by controlling toxins in the air and supplying oxygen, which in turn boosts productivity. Moreover, you will be reducing your carbon footprint.
If natural light is not readily available, you may consider adding LED lighting fixtures throughout the space because they are easier on the eyes and more environmentally friendly compared to CFL or incandescent lighting.
The choice of colours for your office interior depends on your organizational culture. For instance, yellow represents optimism and creativity; red for passion and emotional appeal; green for calmness and efficiency; and blue for a calming and stable effect. Generally:
Green doesn’t cause eye exhaustion and might be best for long working hours.
Blue promotes productivity and may help your employees focus better.
Red increases heart rate, which may be necessary for jobs that involve physical activity.
You can create an efficient, productive, and sustainable workspace by considering the needs of your employees and following the best practices outlined above. If you have a limited budget for your office design, you may consider office furniture auctions around you for quality and affordable office equipment and furniture.