Category Archives: Office Design

From Open to Flexible

Office Design Trends 2017 | Making your space work for you.

Part of the reason behind the rise to prominence of the open plan office was to do with cost. Open office plans resulted in leasing an overall smaller footprint, with employees’ room per square foot reduced to as little as 185 square feet from the average of 250 to 300 square feet. With business space often at a premium, reducing your square footage whilst maintaining your staff made for sound business investment – on paper.

In reality, workers didn’t find the open plan designs conducive to maximum productivity, with issues around noise, concentration levels, lack of personalisation and privacy being cited as the biggest bug-bears.

Moving Away From Uniform Cubicles

Employers and designers have begun to recognise these issues and the concept has evolved into something more intricate and informed than a simple, open plan office. Office design has moved from open to flexible.

There is still a case to be had for open plan office design – it can be beneficial for companies continuing to embrace the collaborative model – it’s just that it needs to be more thought through in the planning stages.

Through several businesses trailing various versions of the flexible open floor space, what has become clear is that to make it work for your staff it is essential to have a variety of spaces, from individual silent pods, to two-person quiet meetings, to cosy sofas, to large training, meeting rooms, to outside spaces.

Recognising Different Work Requirements

It is vital that you understand the different ways that groups and individuals work, both within their own departments and among others within the company. Creating a collaborative office requires a lot of planning, not just in where we place the office furniture or a simple case of “who gets to sit where.”

To ensure that the dynamics of the work force are at their best, you will need to locate complimentary departments next to each other and delve even deeper to ascertain individuals’ work personas and/or roles to ensure that you provide the right type of workstations suited for each worker’s needs.

The ‘flexible’ office space applies to the way that work-spaces are used and how they are physically designed. So, it makes economic sense to use office furniture, desks, and other installations that can be easily reorganised or reconfigured.

In summary, the best modern offices are flexible, adaptable, and are designed around the working requirements of those who regularly use them.

Branded Office Design

Companies can spend huge amounts on getting their logo design spot on – and so they should, as logos are the easiest way of recognising what the brand is. Along with the colour and design of your logo, you’ll also get your business cards to match, your website and your social media. If you’re in a physical business, you’ll probably have branded workwear, liveried, sign written vehicles – anything that potential and current clients can see, you’ll be sure they know it’s your company.

All well and good, all well known, all well done.

Now sit back and take a look at your workspace, your offices, the environment where your business operates from. Does it too match your branding, your business culture? Does it give off the same messages that you have invested so heavily in for all other aspects of your company profile?

You could argue that this is only relevant to the “big boys” – of course Google has offices that match their brand, they’ve got the money to invest. But there are ways that every business can incorporate their company branding, and colours, into their office design.

At the most basic level get at least some of your walls the same colour as your logo. If you’re not in a position to redecorate, then have a look at your furniture and fittings. Can you change your office chairs to a branded colour? How about office partitions? These can come in a huge variety of colours including partitions that can have customised images printed on them.

Designing your offices to match your branding should be as important to you as getting your logo right – having a consistent message across the board makes your message clearer to both customers and to staff.

If you would like any help in ensuring that you get this message right, please get in touch with here at 20six.

Meeting Room Design

Is It Time To Rethink The Meeting Room?

Advances in communication technology have enabled us to chat with others wherever we, or they, may be. There is no longer the need to meet up face-to-face as we can chat over Skype, or email, or groups in WhatsApp – who needs meeting rooms anymore?

Communication technology shouldn’t be used as a substitute for meeting face-to-face, but to compliment. US based studies on the behaviour of employees discovered that roughly 80 – 90% of emails between colleagues mirrored face-to-face contact. Put in simple terms, we email those people more frequently that we also frequently meet face-to-face.

In the same study, it was also discovered that meeting rooms were occupied at a rate of less than 40%.

Time To Revisit The Meeting Room?

We’ve spoken before about how you can utilise office design for more effective workplace communication, and of the benefits that this bestows upon a company’s overall productivity. Part of the issue has been that meeting rooms are synonymous with bland, stuffy, yawn-inducing spaces. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Even if you’re not looking at a total office redesign, it could be worth your while looking at how your meeting rooms are used, how often, and how anybody feels when they’re in them. A well designed communal room will help to bring your employees together – and as we’ve outlined above, the more they come together in person, the more they communicate electronically – and the more productive your employees become.

There are no one size fits all blue prints for the perfect boardroom, meeting room or communal spaces, your spaces need to blend seamlessly with the rest of your workspaces, your company brand, and your own unique business culture.

If you would like help in making your meetings rooms places where your employees actually want to go then please get in touch with here at 20sixltd.

The Productive Office

What matters most in office design? The look? The acoustics? The lighting?

All of the above play an integral part, but surely what matters most in a business context is the productivity of the employees?

Whilst there is a plethora of factors that will affect your staff’s productivity, there is no doubt that the environment in which they work is a major contributing factor.

A recent study by a UK based firm who sent questionnaires out to over 500 office workers revealed that most employees weren’t after huge design changes; the key finding was that the users of the officespace have a choice, or user-customisation, of their workspace.

A whopping 48 per cent of the survey reported that having access to a variety of different spaces to work and relax in would have the biggest impact on improving their productivity. In addition to which, the following changes were all cited as improving productivity:

What aspect of office design would improve staff productivity levels at work the most?

A variety of different spaces to work and relax

Private, quiet areas to work

Access to a games room

Effective technology

A tidy office

Better kitchen and washroom areas

If this is what the workers want, can’t all new office designs incorporate this check list into their work? We’ve mentioned in previous blog posts how important it is to listen to the wants and needs of the people who will using the workspaces – and this further emphasizes the point that happy staff make productive staff.