The process of planning new office space can be surprisingly daunting. On paper, it seems as if this task wouldn’t be very complicated. A few desks, chairs, cubicles, and you’re done, right? Not necessarily. The trends and tenets of optimal office space design seem to change every few years. What constitutes the “right” office design will also vary from company to company, depending on size, the space you have to work with, and the preferences of your individual employees.
Indeed, the more you think about planning an office design, the more complex it becomes—simply because there are so many different factors to consider. Simplify the process by using these seven tips as the backbone to your office planning process.
- Think about natural light
Most offices are lit by fluorescent lights, which are perfect for affordability but horrible for mood and morale. While fluorescent lights use much less energy than other types of artificial lighting, there have been many complaints over the years about them causing migraines and other health issues. There’s a possibility that some of those complaints have been somewhat exaggerated. Still, there is little doubt that dull fluorescent lighting affects mood, energy levels, and overall morale of your staff. Thus, finding ways to maximize the flow of natural light throughout your office—and minimizing the reliance on fluorescent lighting—is a good way to keep your employees inspired, happy, and willing to work.
- Focus on comfortable, ergonomic furniture
If you are designing an office space from scratch, you don’t have much excuse to settle for cheap, second-hand, or uncomfortable furniture. Instead, invest in more comfortable and ergonomic options for your employees. If someone wants a standing desk, take that into account. If you have a choice to buy ergonomic desk chairs with variable height adjustment and plenty of back and neck support, choose those instead of cheaper, less comfortable options. If your employees are comfortable, they will be able to focus all their energy on work and will be happier and more productive.
- Try to create a visual style that will inspire your employees
Lighting isn’t the only thing that can affect the mood of your office. On the contrary, color can also have a significant psychological impact on the morale and overall feel of a workplace. Try to incorporate color into your place of work—either in the furniture you buy, the decorations you place throughout the office or the paint options you choose for the walls. You don’t want to get too bold or adventurous: patterns or extremely bright colors can be distracting, for instance. However, figuring out ways to implement subtle shades of yellow, blue, green, orange, or gold can provide mental stimulation and mood-boosting benefits for your entire team.
- Find a way to offer privacy
For a time, open concept offices were all the rage. Companies thought there was a lot to gain from having everyone work in a large, communal area, with no cubicle walls or individual offices to divide them. This trend has cooled off in recent years, driven perhaps by concerns about privacy and productivity. For meetings, brainstorming, or collaborative team projects, having everyone out in one big room has its benefits. However, it’s tough for your employees to be “on” all the time, or to do their work without being self-conscious that their neighbor may be watching. A good office design should be able to offer privacy without sacrificing collaboration and vice versa.
- Look at office space photos for inspiration
Sometimes, the best thing to do before you start designing a new office space is draw inspiration from other examples. Looking around at photos of what other companies have done for their office designs can help you see what ideas have worked for other businesses. The more examples you see, the more you will learn about what ideas you do or do not want to incorporate into your own office design.
As mentioned previously, the perfect office will look different for every individual company. However, the five pointers provided above can be beneficial to think about no matter what kind of business you are running. By taking these tips into account, you can choose the right furnishings, layout, decorations, and color palette to foster motivation and creativity in the workplace.