Even before the pandemic there was a real shift in the way offices were being designed and used with a move towards wellness, and creating spaces which are sociable, friendly and inspire great work. The days of formulaic, sterile office spaces are now hopefully behind us, and many companies are aware of the power of using their offices to share their culture, values and ethos. So if you’re looking to refresh or reimagine your work space how do you get started?
Check in with culture
The first step when thinking about your office space is to look at your own company culture. Your design can and should support the core values in your business, - remember you can disillusion your team if your office design isn’t in harmony with your company culture. It’s important to ensure that your space creates a good impression for visitors and showcases your business, impressing customers, suppliers and new recruits as well as being a source of pride for your existing team.
For many team members coming back to the office can be an overwhelming experience after a long period of time at home. It’s important to consider your office surroundings, and ensure you can provide a clean building, great air quality and flexible spaces which support agile working. Extra facilities can provide a real pull – many homes don’t have the benefit of air con but this summer’s record temperatures meant lots of workers were encouraged back to the office and into a much more comfortable environment!
We are social animals and tend to work better in group situations. So aim to create opportunities for your team to connect using different spaces which offer the ability to work one to one, in a group and individually. Ultimately, the office is the glue which holds your company together; it’s the hub for mentoring, recruiting and retaining your team.
Get the balance right
Today it’s important to recognise that our working spaces need good balance between the physical and the digital world. Teams need to be able to pick up their laptops and move between face-to-face meetings, solo working and online interactions. So don’t forget to think about the infrastructure and connectivity, as well as the need for different zones, colours, plants, furniture and the acoustics available in each space.
Create a destination office
In supporting employees back into the office don’t forget the power of creating a destination that they want to spend time in. Enforced time in the home means we’ve often had more comforts on hand so think about how you can replicate some key elements such as offering great coffee, fresh fruit and treats, soft furnishings, planting and additional facilities such as lockers and flexible hours. An important aspect for any company is to ensure that all employees value the space, and respect it too, so make sure there are clear instructions for how to use shared spaces, and what’s expected from your team.
Delight in the process
Work closely with whoever is helping you plan your office space. Engage with the briefing process which allows you to share your ideas for what you want the space to be, how your team work, whether you need to plan in growth, and how you want your brand to play a part in the design. Your designer will then have all the tools they need to create concept designs, floorplans and schematic layouts to help you envisage what your space will look like and make the right decisions to ensure your office works best for you.
Crown Interiors works with occupiers at The Blade to develop space plans, layouts, mood boards and 3D modelling to create great office design which supports hybrid working.