The choices that we make when designing a home or office space directly influence our emotions and perceptions. Interior design, when executed well, is a powerful tool that can be used to harness our subconscious minds and increase productivity and creativity.
Consider the following questions when designing office space:
Who uses the space and for what task?
This question goes beyond activity based working and into the heart of the purpose of interior design. Let us consider a client waiting room versus a staff lunch room. You need the client waiting room to give a welcoming impression, while your staff lunch room needs to encompass a number of functions and to help your staff interact and relax in particular ways.
What is your company’s brand?
If you’re a young, modern, high tech company, it’s probably best to leave the leather and mahogany for the financial brokers down the road. Even if we have moved beyond client space and are talking about workspace and staff-only areas, the impact that design has on our psychology means that we need to embrace your brand every step of the way.
You also need to think about workplace strategy. What is the ideal mood for your staff? Do you want to convey a sense of luxury or a sense of productivity? What are your corporate values?
What design elements should be incorporated into office design?
Designers look more frequently to home interior design than office design when working with modern corporate spaces; however, there is a fine line between what constitutes a practical work space and a space that allows users to become over-relaxed.
Follow these steps for good office design that harnesses fundamental home design rules:
1. Allow your staff to bring personal items
People typically bring motivational items and things that brighten their space. If you’re okay with an eclectic mix, there is no cheaper or easier way to decorate than allowing people to have personal control over their workspace.
Once people feel surrounded by their personal things, they start to act more like themselves. And this is only ever a good thing, as it starts to build an honest community that fosters trust and collaboration.
Good homes have great functions. You have spaces for communal living, for relaxing, and for working. Why shouldn’t a good office have all those same activity based working spaces? When you’re thinking of zones for your office, think about where people will collaborate, socialise and chat, as opposed to where they will need to focus or talk privately.
If you don’t have space, consider using public or staff spaces. An open plan office could encourage occasional work from home days if the environment at home is more conducive to focus.
3. Volume control
Where are the bedrooms in your home? Using big, open workspaces can invite noise as people naturally escalate their volume. For quiet workspaces, go for smaller and more intimate design using soft, natural materials. If you want a higher energy feel, use windows and glass to give the illusion of space.
4. Take a sunny outlook
Just like at home, you don’t want an office that is dark and depressing. You don’t have to see statistics to know that brightness and good lighting can make you feel good and boost your creativity and productivity.
We have moved a long way from elbows touching on side-by-side cubicles. The future of office design will harness natural and home elements for the workplace. The principles of living well are finding greater harmony with the principles of working well.