It has long been clear that office design means so much more than just plain arrangement of desks and chairs and covering the floors with rugs. Year after year, more and more companies take office design into serious consideration and are ready to spend a lot of time and money in order to get the right design for their employees.

The right office design for a specific business and employees can go a long way – it can enable cooperation, increase productivity and teamwork and also be a relaxing space for everybody. Starting from the big changes to the details like what colour a decorative vase should be – everything that is included in an office design makes a difference. Its hidden influence should not be neglected if you aim to run a successful business.

What an office design consists of

First of all, in order to fully understand what an office design is, you need to know what falls under this term.

The configuration of the space is the first part, which includes an arrangement of sitting, namely, who will sit next to whom and where a particular group of people will be located. Next, the type of arrangement means deciding, for example, whether you want an open-space office or a more traditional one. Lastly, office decor means picking out the right furnishings, colour, decorative items, as well as light and temperature in the office. When carefully combined together, these elements make a productive working environment. Of course, the nature of every particular business has its own demands, so there is no universal rule on how an office should be arranged. However, certain guidelines can point you in the right direction.

How to create collaboration

Have you ever thought about how the physical organization of the space can make people more productive but also more effective at collaboration with other colleagues? Just think about this: if you have a large corner office, how long will it take you to get to the other side to talk to your employee? In certain businesses, joining directors, managers and the rest of the staff together can be highly productive for all of them. The chances for collaboration are much higher, as it allows them to bump into each other, exchange ideas while on the move and have a quick conversation if they want. And it’s possible to take it to the next level – sometimes it makes all the differences in the world if you put the right workers close to each other. Some people simply work better with certain people, where both sides bring the best out of others. Of course, bear in mind that different businesses need different forms of collaboration, so have that in mind. Don’t just create an open-space and think that’s all it takes for the collaboration to happen.

A place for solitude

Of course, nobody likes to be among other people all the time. Sometimes people feel the need to isolate themselves during working hours, especially if they have a stressful job. There is also the need to focus on a very sensitive job from time to time, where there is no room for others interrupting. Therefore, you should also have a place where an individual worker can go and spend some time alone, whether for work or for a couple of minutes of solitude. The productivity will be increased if you enable your employees to choose whether they need their colleagues or solitude at some points.

Remove the distractions to enhance productivity

Your employees have to be protected from different types of distractions, and this is where careful office fitouts can also be of great help.

First of all, you can contain the noise by putting noisier teams together, so that the quieter ones can have their peace and do their job under their own conditions. Also, try to put members from the same team together, as it’s been noticed that people are more tolerant of their team members making noise than others.

Brainstorming rooms and breakout rooms should be displaced further in order not to disturb others, while quiet areas will be perfect for research, retreat and quiet relaxation.

You will also reduce distractions by controlling the density of desks and introducing a couple of rules that will prevent unnecessary noise (for example, employees shouldn’t hold impromptu meetings and disturb others). Headphones are also effective in reducing noise.

Natural approach

It’s no fun to spend 7-9 hours in a closed space with no view of the outside world. Good office design includes natural daylight, so allowing it to enter the space as much as possible is always a smart move. Try designing facades that allow workers to go outside and enjoy the sun. Using plants is important both for the decor and for relaxing and motivating employees. They need to feel they are in touch with nature and not confined to cold, bare walls of an office only. Good landscaping on the balconies and careful choice of internal plants will make a positive impression on the workers, but also clients who enter your working environment.

Natural ventilation is an ideal solution, while the control of internal temperature allows employees to feel comfortable inside. It should also be possible to have areas with different room temperatures so that employees can choose the space that best suits their preferences.

People don’t enjoy when they feel someone is watching them, so don’t arrange desks so that some employees have to turn back on the main circulation path. Desks need to offer employees a clear view of the whole office. Nobody likes to feel like they have been cornered.

Final comment

It is obvious how an office design has various layers and more than just one approach. There are many factors that need to be included in order for every employee to have a maximum opportunity to be productive and for the while company to be more productive. While the people probably make the most important factor for a successful company, the right office design is what will get you there much faster and easier.