If you are thinking of starting a new enterprise, there are many obstacles ahead. First, you must decide what type of business it should be, and once that has been finalised, there a question of premises. A few workstations, a couple of pot plants and a coffee machine will hardly inspire, so before you think of other things that demand a budget, spend a little time thinking about office design.
A good office designer would want to know the ins and outs of the business before making any suggestions. He or she would ask relevant questions to determine what your staff actually do, as this is the key to the right design.
Effective use of space
A new office will be a bare space, usually open plan, and this is the perfect place to start. The first thing to do is source a reliable office refit company, and if you are in the UK, the office design experts, Saracen Interiors, are an ideal choice. With many years of hands-on experience, their professional design team would get involved from the outset, and the company would oversee every stage, making sure that you end up with your desired layout. Space is always limited and a good office design incorporates very square inch of available space.
Most modern businesses run with the modern ideal that employee collaboration is an integral part of a successful company, and the open plan concept is ideal. Of course, we all need our privacy, and portable screens and partitions can give both seclusion and easy interaction. Years ago, a large company would have many departments, who would not communicate with each other, and consequently problems arose. In the last few decades, business has shifted to a more collaborative approach, inviting employees to have a stake in the organisation, and open plan offices became popular, mainly because they promote efficiency and communication. With screening and partitions, one can have the best of both worlds, and these areas can easily be changed, depending on your immediate needs.
Identifying your needs
The design team would ask a series of questions to determine design concepts. If you have employees that need to collaborate often, it is wise to have their workspaces close together. The workspace itself requires some thought, storage space is essential, and with customised shelving and partition screens, the workspace will be efficient and offer the worker a level of privacy, which is essential for their well-being.
If your clients visit the office, there should be a suitable area for them to relax, and with the right ambience, their experience will be a positive one. Offices where client interaction occurs, should be designed to project the right image, and with a friendly relaxed atmosphere, your customers will feel part of the family, and this will cement your business relationship.
Performance in the workplace
The design and layout of the office has a bearing on performance, and with a little planning, you can maximise efficiency, which makes for more productivity. If your business is paper oriented, you need the right type of filing systems, and they need to be in the right location, and accessible to all. An effective office layout will group people together based on the functions they perform, and with the right furniture, your staff will perform more effectively.
Factor in expansion
When planning a new office, it makes sense to allow for expansion, as this will eventually happen, and by allocating resources in advance, the increased activity will not have a negative impact on the business. Most offices require some storage space, and this can be used for storing extra furniture, or a spare photocopier, just in case the workhorse fails. You may need the space for stock, so allow a percentage of floor space for storage and expansion.
The right lighting is critical for several reasons, your workers need the right illumination when working, so think about some LED spot lights or table lamps. The overall lighting is important, as it is a big part of the overall ambience. Your design team would recommend a combination of ceiling and wall lights, and with dimmer switches, you have fine control to suit any situation. LED solutions are energy efficient, long lasting, and you can direct the light to your desired location. Here is some more information on the importance of office design, with some interesting points to take note of.
It is vital to have a place where your staff can get together and relax. This is also a place for collaboration, and with coffee and tea on tap, and comfortable furniture, it is a place that fosters dialogue, and some of your company’s finest ideas might originate in this area, over a coffee and sandwich. This is an informal area, so there should be no visible work related charts, and some nice images on the walls will give the area a homely feel. Comfortable sofas are also a good idea, as you want your staff to enjoy their downtime.
The meeting area
This might be a separate room, or a corner that is screened off, and it should be comfortable with sufficient lighting. Ideally, there would be a large table, big enough to accommodate everyone, as there are times when you want everyone present. Obviously a pull down projector screen is a must have item, and there should be adequate power points for all the laptops that will be working together. Meetings are the very heart of any business, not just for the shared communication they promote, and very often the direction of the business is decided during a meeting. The right window screening is important, and most people prefer vertical blinds, as they are effective and easy to operate. Direct sunlight can be a problem, especially during a meeting, so make sure the screening is adequate.
Office design is a vital part of a successful business and by using the services of an established company, you can rest assured that the finished product is everything you imagined, and a little more.