Do’s and don’ts of office design
Mar 19, 2018
Office design is extremely important for keeping employees engaged. So how do you design an open plan office? Or better yet, what are the do’s and don’ts of office design? We’ve compiled a list of key factors to think about when designing an open plan office.
Renowned architecture firm Gensler surveyed over 2,000 employees studying “the relationship between workplace design and business performance”. Interestingly ‘choice’ was the key component. Choice of who to sit with, which chair too sit in, which desk to sit at, which window to face, even which room. The research suggested that employees who are able to make such choices are more likely to report high levels of workplace satisfaction. A great example of this is Spacestor, who create contemporary office pods such as these Railway Carriages as seen at Risk First.
As seen here for Risk First
- Do: provide flexible seating furniture such as pods, booths, single- and multi-seating options
- Don’t: use rigid traditional office layouts such as isolating cubicles that limit human interaction
Different colours affect our wellbeing and performance. Various research has found that red stimulates the body and mind, blue is believed to be calming, yellow stimulates the nerves and orange increases energy levels. When thinking about your light solutions, you need to consider the importance of which colours to use for the furniture and walls. Hubspot discussed the colour psychology within marketing and found that a red call to action button was 21% more successful than a green button. Do we associate red with urgency? Perhaps, which could explain the quicker response rate.
- Do: decide what type of environment you want to create. Research the appropriate colour psychologies
- Don’t: use particular colours that have negative connotations
Comfortable break areas are integral to employee satisfaction. Peldon Rose suggested that offices should “ensure break out areas have soft furnishings, food prep and storage equipment”. They go on to suggest that office should provide “relaxing materials like books, magazines or games so they can recoup energy and return to working refreshed”. Taking time away from your desk can increase creativity, promote productivity and ensure that you are able to fully focus on the tasks at hand. Huffington Post’s article discussed how the brain can only take in up to 45 minutes of information before it starts decreasing its capacity to absorb information.
Do: provide a safe space for staff to unwind and socially engage with their colleagues
Don’t: clutter the break area with work items. It needs to be separated from ‘work life’
If you want to get the best from your employees, provide them with the best. This applies to technology: fast internet speeds, quick Wi-Fi, cloud based software. A fast connection can improve efficiency and motivation among employees, ultimately improving productivity. Online collaboration and video meetings are the norm, so digital interactions need to be integrated with your office design. Television outlets, laptop charge points and fast broadband can improve business engagement.
- Do: invest in the latest technologies and regularly upgrade to stay ahead of the game
- Don’t: leave unsightly cables lying on desks; contemporary furniture can hide electronic cables nowadays
An article in Time Magazine found that people have higher serotonin levels on bright sunny days than on cloudy ones. Mood-boosting serotonin is released in response to the sun, so it is extremely important to let as much sunlight in the office as possible. Even a view of trees and plants helps. If an employee experiences solar glare on their computer, then suitable window solutions are available in the form of blinds, curtains and window films. You can still have light, bright and airy interiors that benefit people by selecting the right window solution for your office. A great example is solar control anti-glare film, which Stansons have been providing for years in offices across the country.
- Do: provide natural light and efficient window solutions
- Don’t: opt for windowless or dark working environments