From the open floor plan to coworking spaces, offices are finally getting a much needed makeover. But when it comes to stellar office design, it isn't as simple as throwing in a slide or ping pong table and offering awesome perks (although that certainly doesn't hurt).
Effectively designed offices foster employee creativity, cut down on wasted time, and make businesses better. But as important as it is to update outdated offices and design new ones well, it’s equally important to avoid common office design pitfalls. From the usual culprits like poor lighting to less obvious problems like failing to differentiate space, avoiding these design mistakes will help ensure your office is a major asset to your business.
1. Poor lighting
Using the wrong lighting hurts productivity. Dim light makes it hard to see and strains the eyes, yet florescent lighting is overly harsh and can trigger migraines and other health issues. Layer different types of lighting throughout the office to create a good mix. And don’t forget the sun—it’s the best source of light, so take advantage of windows to let it shine into your workspace.
2. Forgetting the reception area
It’s easy to forget about the reception area. Many people go to the office everyday and walk past it without thinking, but this is the first place anyone entering the building will see. From employees to clients to visitors, the reception area is the perfect opportunity to make a strong impression. Take the time to make this space welcoming and professional.
3. Not offering private and communal space
While the open office is the leading trend in office design, many people find them worse than cubicles. Rather than force employees to work in one or the other format, the best offices provide access to both private and collaborative workspaces. Some tasks benefit from a quiet atmosphere while others flourish through communication, and offices that only provide one format make it difficult for employees to optimize their work.
4. Boring break rooms
It doesn't need to be a giant slide, but the best offices dedicate space for employees to unwind. And that doesn’t mean an empty conference room with a coffee maker and pretzels, you can do better than that. Incorporate an open kitchen or game room into your design to give employees a place to recharge and socialize away from work. Don’t let the cost intimidate you, this investment will help attract top talent while making employees happier and more productive.
5. Boring décor
Boring is a word you don’t want associated with your office, and to make sure it isn’t, put thought into your decorations and furniture. Blank white walls are a big no-no in the modern office. Instead, fill those spaces creatively in a way that captures your brand identity. Whether that’s through color or artwork, maintain your theme throughout the building to connect people to your brand and create a calming sense of order.
6. Neglecting storage space
Easily overlooked, effectively designed storage space can make the difference between a cluttered office and an efficient workspace. Nobody wants important papers buried under heaps of files and clothes, yet it happens all the time. Beyond just buying a few filing cabinets, install walk-in closets with efficient shelving and make room for customized storage furniture in your budget.
7. Trying to play designer
While steering clear of the above mistakes will help you create an effective plan, you should work with a professional to implement it. Design specialists enable you to make your dream office a reality, and more than just helping you fine-tune colors and furniture, specialists will make sure your plan fits all health and safety regulations. Think of it as an investment. Professionals are trained to maximize space, create effective branding and boost overall design efficiencies, and optimizing here will pay dividends for years to come.