Successful Office Design
If you’re planning an office fit out, refurbishment, or relocation, you’ll know that getting the design right is crucial. If the design is not right, your project will be a failure, regardless of how cheaply or quickly it was delivered. However, there is no one “right” office design. There are many different factors that will affect the right office design for your company.
At Zentura, we’ve been designing and building office fit outs for 15 years. Every week, we speak to companies planning office projects. Creating a design that meets their project objectives is often one of their biggest challenges. In this article, we’ll address 4 essential steps that you can take to make sure you create the office that your company needs.
Define Your Workspace Strategy
Careful planning is a crucial part of a successful office project. This plan will be your go-to guide over the next 12 months, keeping your project on track and making sure it is a success. This plan needs to include 5 key items: overall workspace strategy, project objectives, key deadlines, new space requirements, and budget.
A workspace strategy details what your office needs to achieve for your company. This includes how your office will support the productivity, wellbeing, and collaboration of your staff. It also covers how your office can reflect and enhance your company culture. Project objectives take the overall strategy and distill it into key deliverables for this project. This can be both financial (reducing real estate costs) and operational (enabling hybrid working).
Key deadlines are the milestones that you have to hit for your project to be a success. The obvious starting point is your current lease expiry. Other major points are selecting a design & build company, starting the works, and the final relocation. New space requirements are the headline features that your new office will have to have. This includes location, size, and amenities. The budget is what you plan to spend on your new space, including base rent costs, design & build costs & operational costs.
By defining your workspace strategy, you ensure that your design is focussed on what your office needs to achieve for your company. You avoid merely following the latest trends or fashions. You will also reduce the chances of making costly or time-consuming mistakes later during the project. These would reduce the success of your project.
Get Staff Input
Getting input from staff on your office design is very helpful. It is a good way to make sure your finished project will actually meet the needs of the people who will be using it every day. This should be incorporated into the workspace strategy phase as well as the design process. This will help your designer by giving them a better brief in the first place. it will also provide feedback to improve the design from a variety of perspectives.
You should first survey as many of your staff as possible to get their feedback. You should survey them on what is working well in your current office, what is frustrating them, and how your office could be better designed to improve their performance. You could also interview several staff in person to get more in-depth feedback on these topics.
While it can be helpful to get a variety of perspectives from different staff throughout the project, it's important that you remain focussed on the overall objectives, rather than trying to make your office perfect for everybody. Staff input is best used to inform and guide your office design, rather than control it.
Work With The Right Designer
Working with an experienced designer who understands your company and your brief is a crucial part of a successful office design. If your designer does not have the necessary skills, experience, or qualifications, your office design will likely not meet your requirements. As a result, the productivity of your people would be held back for years to come. When choosing an office designer, there are 3 crucial considerations: expertise, portfolio, and pricing.
If your chosen designer has sufficient expertise, they have the right resources, competencies, and qualifications to design an office that meets your design objectives. It’s also important that this design is deliverable within your timeline and budget constraints. It’s especially important to think about what is unusual or unique about your project compared to others. There is more to a designer’s portfolio than amazing designs. It's crucial to consider how those designs are relevant to your project. If your designer has a good portfolio, they’ll be happy to take you around previous projects they’ve designed that are similar to yours.
If you are using a specialist designer, it may be tempting to go with the cheapest quote, but this is not always a good idea. Cutting corners in the design stage will make your project far more likely to be a failure. As well as the designer’s direct costs, you should also consider the specification levels they are working at. Otherwise, your overall project costs may increase due to an overengineered specification.
Creating the perfect office for your company will not have the results you need if your people don’t use it effectively. When faced with such a huge change to their working lives, your people will likely be hesitant or even resistant to the change. As a result, their performance will be limited. Consequently, their productivity will be limited. Effective change management for your people is a crucial part of ensuring they embrace the change of office, use the new environment effectively, and settle in as quickly as possible.
Involving your people in creating the design brief and giving feedback on the design is an excellent way to increase their levels of engagement with the project. Another effective way is to work with a small number of staff to show them how to work in your new office. They can then become “change champions”, coaching the other staff to use your new office to its full potential.
Given that your office refurbishment, relocation or fit out will be such a big investment, it’s crucial that it improves the performance of your people. For that, a great design is not enough – your people have to use it well and be engaged with the change process. By involving them in and coaching them through the change, your chances of success are much higher.
Office Design to Support Your Company
Creating the best possible office space for your company can be a daunting task. It will likely be a big investment and a complex project, with many variables and risks. However, by defining your workspace strategy first, you set the groundwork for a great design. Choosing the right designer and working with them closely will ensure your design meets the brief. finally, involving your staff in planning the project and coaching them through the change will ensure they respond well to your new office, making your project the success you need it to be.
To learn more about maximising the success of your next office design project, read 8 ways office design can improve company performance. There, we’ll go through the 8 most common benefits of redesigning your office, and how you can maximise their impact on your next project. Want to talk about you can create the best possible office for your company? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out to one of our workspace experts today.