Is your office design fit for the 21st century? Do you have enough room for people to work and move around? Do you have quiet areas for a private conversation or rejuvenating areas where colleagues can connect and discuss ideas? Is your desk so cluttered that you can hardly reach your computer screen?
Perhaps you are moving to new premises and need some friendly office design advice. The UK may lead the world for open-plan office configurations but British workers rate their ability to concentrate and work in teams without being interrupted below the global average. It suggests that people in small businesses are struggling to manage their need for privacy and are not able to focus.
So how can you create a business space that works for your company?
Before buying a single piece of furniture, it is crucial to ask the following questions:
- How do your staff currently work? What frustrations do they have with their workspace? Is it easy for them to collaborate? Do different departments interact well with each other or are they strangers?
- How easy do you find it to attract and retain good people? Have you had any staff off work with stress or bad backs?
- Does your reception give the right impression of your business?
- What is the atmosphere like in your business? Are you in a noisy open-plan office?
- What sort of breakout spaces are available for staff?
- How effective are your meeting rooms?
- How up-to-date is your technology?
With the advent of digital technology, flexible working and breakout spaces, today’s office design has changed beyond all recognition from the traditional office spaces of 40 years ago.
To futureproof your office design consider the following:
- Create a series of multi-purpose spaces. This can be as simple as providing some modular seating in a quiet area to swapping your boardroom table for a table tennis table for a high energy meeting with a difference.
- Create a work café and encourage staff to make use of it outside the lunch hours of 12-2pm. Use it for informal staff or client meetings or as somewhere to escape to for time out, rejuvenation or focused work.
- Provide your staff with electrically height adjustable desks for a more dynamic workplace. Research shows that moving while working makes for healthier, more engaged workers.
- Save leg room and consider getting rid of personal pedestals. Often cluttered up with unnecessary paperwork that should really go in the bin, it can be more effective to offer staff a shared personal storage locker or cupboard.
- In a limited desk space, remove PCs completely from your desk by attaching them to a monitor arm. Easy to mount, they come with a vertical tilt adjustment.
- Consider bench desking – it takes up a smaller footprint than crescent desks and offers complete flexibility when increasing or reducing the number of people at the bench (due to the inset leg and unobstructed leg space)
- Reap the benefits of agile working and don’t just allocate one desk per person but introduce flexible working instead. This allows people to choose where they want to work based on the task they are performing – and encourages collaboration and a flow of positive energy.
Once you have mapped out the best plan and design for your workspace, consider some of the products you need.
Here are some ideas:
- Make the first impression count with a bespoke reception desk which incorporates the company logo.
- Make a statement with upholstered reception chairs in bright bold colours.
- In your work café consider Bar Canteen furniture with high-capacity seating, robust benches and wipe clean surfaces. Or add a touch of colour with stackable Bistro chairs and Bistro tables, which can be easily reconfigured for larger groups of people.
- Consider a Hug work booth. If you don’t have the space for a separate meeting room, the Hug – available in a range of fabric colours – is a brilliant way to create a meeting space or a quiet, focused space within an open plan environment.
- Use monitor arms to lift PC screens off a desk, giving the user more desk space to work on. Try Plurio Monitor Arms, which come with a vertical tilt adjustment and support up to 6 screens.
- Consider shared lockers to save space and reduce the need for under desk storage.
- To encourage collaborative or flexible working, try Bench Desks which can help you get the best out of your workspace. These space-saving modern desk systems are ideal for hot desking, call centres and changing team sizes and come in 1200-1800mm models. For privacy, freestanding screens can break up desk space.
- Maximise space with Node Collaboration Chairs, which are easy to move around and can flex from a lecture-based mode to a team-based mode.
Regardless of the size of your business, it is so important to make the most efficient use of your office space and to create the right kind of environment for your people where they can thrive, think better and work better.