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Why Office Design matters

The role of the office is changing

‘Work’ is now considered as something that we do, not just a place we go to.  With more flexible working and choice for employees than ever before, the role of the workplace and office design has significantly changed in recent years.

31% of full-time employees do most of their work away from their employers’ location (Flex + Strategy)

It is, therefore, more important than ever before that the office environment provides a welcoming and inspiring place, where employees want to be rather than escape from!  The office of today needs to be somewhere people can come together to connect with each other, identify with the company culture and brand and feel a sense of belonging – these are all things you won’t enjoy working from home or a coffee shop!

Can office design impact employee engagement?

A recent Global Workplace Survey by Steelcase found a positive correlation between employees who are highly engaged and those who are highly satisfied with their workplace (see below).  The same study, however, found that 1 in 3 workers worldwide are disengaged.


How can office design help?

Research has shown that office design impacts on the health, wellbeing and productivity of employees.  For an office design to truly make a difference to an organisation and improve employee engagement, it needs to be designed around the needs of employees and the spaces they need to perform their tasks.  Any design changes should be aligned with any culture shifts to ensure the new work space is used as intended.

Attract and keep the best talent

An office design that aligns with company culture inspires employees and considers their wellbeing will not only attract the best talent, but it will help to keep them engaged and retain them for longer.

New generations coming into the workplace value choice more than anything, so this is always discussed as a key part of our design process.  Sometimes a vibrant social space like Bruntwood’s ‘WorkCafé is ideal for bringing people together to socialise, connect and share ideas across the business.  It’s also a great place for informal meetings or just for somewhere different to work amongst the buzz of a café style culture.  At other times, the quiet contrast of a focus or rejuvenation space is just what is needed to escape from all distractions, to reflect and process information.


Both types of spaces are equally as important when designing to support different work modes and the wellbeing of employees.

A healthy workforce is a happy one

There is now an increased awareness and recognition of the benefits of designing for employee wellbeing, and it goes without saying that a happy, comfortable and motivated workforce is a productive one!  When designing for wellbeing, we consider questions such as –

  • How do employees connect and socialise with others?
  • Where can employees go when they need to get away for time out or somewhere quiet to focus?
  • How much choice is offered to employees for movement and different postures while working?
  • Can employees choose where to work based on the task they are performing?
  • Are the lighting/temperature levels comfortable?

One of our recent customers made a strong statement about looking after their employee health and wellbeing by adding a ‘smoothie bike’ (yes, a bike that makes a smoothie as you pedal!)

Support and encourage collaboration

Collaboration happens everywhere in the workplace, sometimes we don’t even realise we’re doing it!  It isn’t just limited to meeting rooms and sometimes a boardroom just doesn’t have the right atmosphere for creativity and new ideas!  By recognising the different types of collaboration and ways in which it occurs; office design can be used to support what is actually happening or even encourage new behaviours.  This may include ad-hoc impromptu meeting points, a comfy lounge area or something more traditional for more structured meetings.

Collaborative office

Optimise space and reduce costs

After personnel costs, the cost of property is one of the highest overheads for a business.  The right office design can maximise your investment and in some cases save money by avoiding an unnecessary office move or expansion.  By designing a flexible workspace to support agile working, it is possible to reduce the space allocated to individual desks and increase the space dedicated to more interesting, inspiring and multi-function areas.

By having the right mix of spaces for collaboration, focused or quiet work, rejuvenating, socialising and learning – so much more is possible within the same space!

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