Choosing the Right Office Design

Posted on 20/10/2013

Getting your office layout and design right can be the difference between success and failure in a business. There are many considerations to be made, including finding a compromise between affordability and perfection. The excitement of moving into a new premises can soon evaporate if wrong design choices are made, with staff forced to work in an unsuitable environment for the duration of the lease. According to Paul Kelly, marketing head from Morgan Lovell, “get it right and you have happy and productive staff; get it wrong and it will slow people down, cause aggravation and waste money.”

A general check list will go a long way toward avoiding common office space mistakes, bearing in mind that every business is different and design practices can be tailored to suit individual company values.

Safety first: When searching for the right office space on a budget, it is natural to be attracted by value for money. But there are often underlying reasons behind the price. Is it a safe neighbourhood? Is the building too run down? Employees and clients feel safer in an area boasting a good reputation. Safety considerations should include public transport and pedestrian routes as well as the building space itself. Transport links can be discussed with staff prior to an office move, as a new location will certainly affect their daily commute.

Local amenities: It’s also important to remember that staff need time out from work pressure. Take the opportunity to scout the new location for local amenities such as lunch bars, restaurants for entertaining clients, and office suppliers. Remember, every staff member has a different function, and there may be the need for someone to rush to a nearby bank or pharmacy. The convenience of a nearby shopping area is also much appreciated by staff who may like to shop before or after work.

The feel good factor: Establishing your new office in an area that has a reputation for successful start-ups and promising businesses will have a positive effect on staff and clients, especially for companies identifying with a youthful, trendy image. The potential for increased socialising and networking in a vibrant location should not be overlooked, and may attract the active and personable staff you are looking for.

office life

Security: Every staff member is different. Some may be carefree and easy going, while others may feel threatened in an insecure environment. For a harmonious work environment, individual staff concerns should be accommodated. Extra security equipment and monitoring may be advisable in areas where valuables and important documents are stored. It’s a good idea to consult other building tenants regarding security risks prior to signing a lease. Check that doors and windows can be adequately locked, and investigate pre-existing levels of professional security presence and response.

Noise and disruption: It’s worth enquiring about future building works. It can be a disaster for a business to move into a new premises only to find out the surrounding offices are undergoing continual renovations for the following months. It is also a good idea to find out as much as possible about the company or people managing the building. Are they easy to get along with? Do they respond quickly to concerns and ideas for improvements? It’s also advisable to situate your business alongside compatible businesses. If your staff, for example, require pin drop silence to do their job properly, it is probably not a good idea to move in next to a service operation with whirring machinery and industrial noise.

Grow your business: Unless you are downsizing, there is every possibility that your new office move is part of an attempt to expand your business portfolio, increase staff numbers, and reach a greater number of customers or clients. Make sure that your new office has room to grow with your business, and it may well become the most productive and profitable move you have every made.

By George B (follow me on Google)