Much as we would love to have an office with a London W1 postcode, or a view from our corner office over Central Park, most of us are restricted by what we can have for our office design. Without wanting to dwell on the negatives, there are areas that you need to pay special attention to if you are to ensure that you have the best offices for your business - even if they aren't in Mayfair or Madison Avenue.
7 Office Design Stumbling Blocks
Location | OK, so we've already touched on this above; the location of your offices can have a direct impact on attracting and retaining employees as well as upon customer satisfaction. Being based in Brighton we know that this is a great city to live and work in - but there are limitations on office space. Traffic controls mean that if you are a business whose customers need to drive right up to your door, you will struggle finding a suitable BN1 address. The old residential cliché of location, location, location still holds true for a great many market sectors and needs to be taken into account.
Physical Space | Again with reference to our introduction, having a desk in a huge corner office with amazing views is up there on most people's workspace wish list. Most businesses though will have to work within the physical boundaries of their given office. The size of your desk may have to be decided by the room in which you already have to place it rather than your desire to have something that wouldn't go amiss in a small boardroom. Planning is essential, and your office design/fit out team will always take into account the physical parameters of your space.
Furniture | Office furniture is often an area businesses make mistakes on. When you're spending money on location, fit-out, equipment, IT and all the other myriad of things a business has to fork out for, it can be tempting to cut corners on the office furniture. Why spend extra on ergonomic, sustainable, designer office chairs when you can pop down to the local office supplies store and get something for a fraction of the cost? For starters lets introduce another cliché - buy cheap, but twice. It goes beyond this though. There are health and safety factors; almost every day we see news stories about how our sedentary work life is bad for our health. There's the aesthetics - do you want all of your office furniture to look shabby, threadbare, discoloured? How does this reflect upon you as a company? Getting your office furniture right is just as important as all other aspects of your office design.
Development | All businesses should be looking forward; how are you going to grow? Not just in terms of finance and clients, but in terms of physical growth. How long will your current office space sustain your work force for? Are you looking at expanding not only your sales but also your staff? How will your current office accommodate your predicted growth? Looking at the longevity of your business overall will help you to make the right decisions about your office design solutions.
Branding | At its most basic, imagine your company sold lighting solutions; now imagine your offices were located in a dingy, damp basement with flickering, yellowing fluorescent strip lighting. Not a good reflection upon what you are advocating. Your marketing department will understand the importance of having a cohesive brand, and this goes beyond your headed stationary and website. How you design, furnish and fit out your offices needs to reflect the overall branding message that is helping your company to gain more sales.
Culture | All organisations have an internal "culture" unique to themselves. There is a reason why Google and Lego design their offices the way in which they do - it is to attract and keep employees who fit into their business ethos. Understanding what makes your business work, not just your Unique Selling Point, but why your client's chose you over a competitor will help you to identify your own office culture. Your design team can then get your office to work better for your, and your employee's needs.
Project Management |We've only touched on seven different areas here - hone it down further and no doubt you could easily come up with "Top 10 Office Pitfalls", and may be able to string it out even more. Even if we stick to the categories here, you can break office furniture down into desks, chairs, partitions, cabinets, storage etc; There's lighting, acoustics, and flooring which we haven't even touched upon here. There is so much to think of, plan, budget for, execute, do you really have the time? Project management may be the key here, to ensure that your offices are more than just fit for purpose whilst you manage to keep doing what your best at - running your own company.
If you would like any further help with any aspect of office design, furniture, fit outs, project management or maintenance, please get in touch - after all, this is what we are best at.