Designing Your Office
If you’re thinking about redesigning your office in 2023, it can be difficult to know where to start. There are so many things to think about, from getting the layout right to minimising the disruption of your project. When you’re working with your office designer to create your new office, you need to make sure you are getting what is best for your business, not the latest styles or trends.
At Zentura, we’ve been supporting companies across the UK with their office designs since 2009. During that time, a lot has changed, but some things haven’t. We’ve collated our top 6 design tips, including both evergreen and on-trend ideas, to help keep you on track during your next office design project.
1) Keep it On-Brand
Making sure your office design is on-brand is essential. It’s easy to get carried away with amazing designs and features, but your office is the home of your company, and it needs to reflect that. This is about more than the colours on the walls or the logo graphic in the reception. It’s about the entire experience your people have while they are in the space. This includes everything from the chairs they sit in, to the coffee they drink – it all affects their performance. If your office is a workspace that brings your brand to life, then your people will produce results in line with your culture.
To make sure your office designer keeps your space on-brand, give them as much information as possible about your company before they start. This includes your company culture, values and how your staff work together. This can then be the basis for a design that truly brings your company to life.
2) Enable Hybrid
Hybrid working and remote working are now nearly twice as popular as they were 3 years ago. In September 2022, 22% of the UK workforce had worked at least one day from home in the previous week and 13% worked from home exclusively. This has created a huge change in the way workers use the office. No longer is it the only place to work. It’s a collaboration hub, where your staff come to build relationships and work on complex projects together.
To enable hybrid working in your office design, you need to make sure you are allowing sufficient space in your layout for it. 3 years ago, the average office included 10% collaboration space. Today, many office designs feature 30-45% collaboration spaces. You will also need to ensure your meeting spaces have AV capability, so that remote workers can participate in meetings.
3) Include Variety
As well as including enough collaboration space in your office, you also need to provide different types of collaboration spaces. Not all collaboration is done in large groups- mostly it happens in small groups of 2-3 people. There are also many different types of collaboration, from strategic brainstorming to report co-writing. These very different types of collaboration need different environments. You will also need to consider how your people work beyond collaboration. Even if your office is a hybrid hub, you people will still need some spaces for focussed work.
To improve variety throughout your workspace, work with your designer to carefully plan how much space should be allotted to the different types of environments that your people need. Considering all the ways your people work throughout the day is really important to be able to create a workspace that matches the way they work. You will then be able to make decisions based on what is right for your current and future business needs.
4) Include Biophilia
One of the most overlooked aspects of modern office design is the importance of biophilia. Biophilia plays an understated role in the wellbeing and productivity of your people. Often thought of as a few plants in the corner, biophilia includes all the natural elements in your workspace.
The finishes throughout your office are especially important. If your office has predominantly greyscale colours, your staff are forced to work in an unnatural environment. Over time, this reduces their wellbeing and productivity.
To improve biophilia in your workspace, make sure your designer has used as much natural material as much as possible. This includes wooden flooring and panelling, as well as moss walls and office plants. You should also think about how to maximise the use of natural light. A boardroom with a view might seem like a good idea, but if it sits 80% of the time unused, then it is wasting the positive impacts that natural light can have on your staff.
5) Don’t Overcrowd
As well as having the right variety of spaces, it's also important that you have the right amount of space overall. Overcrowded offices are noisy, distracting and unproductive places to work. On the other hand, office space is expensive, and having too much workspace is an unnecessary expense. If you have moved to hybrid working, then you may be able to reduce the size of your office. On the other hand, if your headcount has doubled in the last 3 years, then your office will need to increase in line with that.
To ensure you have the right amount of office space, it is helpful to consider how many staff you have now, as well as growth plans for the future. You can then make a calculation on a sq/ft per head basis. A good place to start is 150sq/ft per person, though you may want to move that up or down based on your culture, design, and industry. Of course, this is only a rough guide to help you understand how much space you need. To get a better understanding of how much space you need read our article on that exact subject.
6) Consider Amenities
When talking about office amenities, many people think of sleep pods and slides. When managed well, amenities can be a powerful part of the workspace experience. Office design can play a part by providing the necessary environments. While the “fun factor” is an important part of amenities, the main purpose is how it improves the day-to-day experience for your staff. This could be through treating them to new experiences or helping staff build professional relationships.
To get your amenities right, you need to carefully consider what extras you can add to your workplace that will improve the user experience for your staff. The best amenities are ongoing ones that connect staff to each other – regular complimentary food being a good example. By making sure you are considering amenities when you design your office, you can further improve the experience your people have every day at work.
Planning Your Office Design
Designing your office can be difficult, even if you are working with a professional office design & build company or designer. There are so many different considerations, it can be hard to know if you’re on the right track. By considering our top 6 office design tips, you can make sure your office design project is the success you need it to be.
Want to know more about managing your office design? Check our article predicting the top office design trends for 2023. In such a rapidly changing environment, and with so many extreme “expert” opinions loudly proclaiming their views of the future of the office, it can be difficult to know which hot topics are fads, and which are the key trends that will shape office design in the years to come. We’ve looked at our recent and current designs, as well as trends across the market place, to see the topics that will dominate the design of your office in 2023. Read the article here.