How to avoid common office design mistakes
Written by: Suz Miller (Yellow 6 Design – Director)
If you have a poorly designed office, then you and your staff may be experiencing a negative atmosphere at work, due to low levels of collaboration, efficiency and morale.
Below we have put together five of the best methods we believe can help you avoid office design mistakes that are commonly made.
As with any god project, preparation in key. A common mistake is to underestimate and undervalue the briefing and research process before embarking on a new office design project, whether it be a full relocation or a small refurbishment. We would say this, but contact a professional. You will discover that workplace designers will be able to unlock the potential of your space to enable you to get the most of it and from your team.
It is important to give enough time to the briefing stage of the design process, so that both you and your designers can narrow down…
- How much space do you actually need.
If you’re considering relocating, a spatial analysis would be a great first step.
- What is vital for your office/staff to function?
Do you need a space for the large purple company dinosaur or whiteboards on every available surface maybe?
- What would you like your office to say about your company?
What is your tone of voice for both your internal and external clients. Do you want to be calm and efficient or quirky and creative.
- The closed office versus open plan conversation
- Touchdown / hot desk / collaboration / contact centre / noise / manned reception….
Many things to consider
- If it’s not right, keep going until it is.
Designers would much rather you tell us this stage that the dinosaur is in the wrong place. Once it’s been modelled in 3D, detailed in all the drawings, been to council and been structurally engineered it’s pretty hard to change!
ONE SIZE NEVER FITS ALL:
It never does. In our industry, people will see an office that they would like to replicate, and assume that they can imitate that design and have the same in their own space. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as every business is different. From the way businesses operate, to how their staff function to what they actually require. Therefore incorporating another’s design model, will most likely fail. We do love however when clients come armed with a battery of Pinterest Images that they love. This helps us understand the aesthetic of their brand, what they are trying to say through the design of their office. The planning will be totally different in every space though…why recreate someone else’s design when you can have your very own!
The balance of spaces in your office is incredibly important. From open plan to quiet, to confidential meeting, to social space, to somewhere to store your gym bag / instant noodles (we all know this is what mobiles are for). We as human beings need different environments for different tasks. Again something to consider in the planning stage, even before you choose a new building (see that spatial analysis will come in handy again). Spaces can cross over into each other on accession – social can be collaborative / informal meeting etc. However you achieve it, it is incredibly important to provide these different areas for a healthy and productive working environment.
As discussed throughout this article, it is important for the workplace environment to match the needs and interests of its employee’s. A good way to do this is an employee survey and we can help with this too. Ask people what they like / need / want in their new office space. Ask them what they like / don’t like about their current environment before you start the planning process, or in the very early stages. You will likely get at least one request for a Jacuzzi. Designers love these surveys. By involving and consulting your employees in the process, you are creating an office that can empower staff to perform to the best of their abilities, as they will feel included – apart from there being no Jacuzzi. Also, work with your designer. We love to listen and to solve problems and if you really have to have the hot tub, we will make it happen.
It’s important for any design project to be an enjoyable experience. Designers are much more likely to create an environment that exceeds your expectations if the process is a happy one. We are here to listen to you, don’t hold back. Client / designer relationships must be strong and there must be mutual respect and trust throughout the process, but if we can go through the process with some enjoyable educational tours, furniture visits, cake and some laughs, why not I say!