5 Things to Consider For Your Next Office Fit-Out
Posted by Guest Author on March 11, 2014 in Business Management [ 0 Comments ]
There comes a point in the lifecycle of every business when you look around and realize that the time has come to freshen up your workplace. An office fit-out will inevitably cause a certain amount of disruption but the benefits can far outweigh the short lived stress. Consider these points and you may find that your next office fit-out can actually make some positive changes to your staff’s morale, well-being and output.
The use of mobile technology in the workplace has changed the way we sit at our desks. Steelcase, a worldwide leader in the office furniture industry, conducted a global survey that uncovered nine new seating postures. As a result, they designed the Gesture office chair to reflect the way people interact with new technology. It’s important to look at your office’s furniture and decide whether it’s still relevant to the way that your staff work.
Every business wants an efficient, effective workforce but few companies take into consideration how the design of their office can improve productivity. A study by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID, 1999) found that office design was one of the top three factors affecting performance. The Journal of Public Affairs, Administration and Management specifically looked at the Impact of Design on Employees’ Productivity. While the case study looked at banking organizations in Pakistan, the results are relevant to any industry. Furniture, noise, temperature, lighting and spatial arrangement were all seen to have a positive relationship with productivity, factors that should always be considered during a fit-out.
Spaces designed specifically for collaboration allow your staff to get creative. Steelcase conducted research into High Performance Collaboration, highlighting four ways that people collaborate and designs that can help to encourage them.
- Working in pairs. Storage with padded seats on top offer places for colleagues to sit.
- Teaming in small groups. Whiteboard paint in a room creates an erasable ‘wall of ideas’, encouraging creative meetings.
- Conferencing. For larger groups, a less conventional, teardrop shaped conference table allows everyone to see each other and anything that’s being presented.
- In-between. Some of the best ideas are exchanged in the corridor. Harness your entire workspace and create spaces where people can ‘bump into each other’.
A 2009 study in Sweden found that people were unhappy in medium and large open-plan offices, the majority preferring a private office. Recognizing the fact that sometimes people just want a place to ‘get away from it all’, Swedish offices largely avoid an open plan layout. Solving this issue in open plan spaces is still possible though. Introducing freestanding self-contained pods, self-supporting acoustic screens, high backed booth style seating, and acoustic panels can offer more privacy.
As a company you can establish your culture in a number of ways, including the design of your office. It’s not just about painting the walls the same colour as your logo or putting marketing messages everywhere. Steelcase explored the relationship between brand and culture in the office environment and where it can be presented.
They highlighted four organizational cultures:
- The Clan Culture- A sharing, friendly environment.
- The Hierarchy Culture- More formalized and structured.
- The Adhocracy Culture- Dynamic, entrepreneurial and creative.
- The Market Culture- A competitive, results orientated philosophy.
Define your culture and make sure that you wear it on your walls.
Your next office fit-out needn’t just be about getting new desks and chairs, it’s your chance to take a long hard look at your business and consider the things that keep people positive, focused and contented.
(Image via freedigitalphotos.net)