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When you initially plan a commercial office design, the basic process is to come up with some initial ideas, speak to commercial fit out companies, explain your most critical needs or requirements, and identify the strategies and design that you think has the best chance of matching your corporate culture and improving the bottom line.
Nevertheless, many business leaders are unsure of where to begin when it comes to planning a commercial office space and where to focus their efforts. Understanding key steps that can assist you with designing a workplace that gets the most from your staff and helps you to achieve other strategic goals is crucial.
1. Design for Your Employees
With office design solutions of any kind, it is important to get into the right mindset quickly. A good way to do this is to approach absolutely all aspects of the project from the perspective of your employees and what they are going to need in order to carry out their role to the best possible standard.
Although the concept of designing a workspace for the people who will be working there may seem like an obvious starting point, it is surprisingly easy to get caught up in the latest trends and what works for other businesses. Crucially, what suits one business may not necessarily work for another and not all of the latest trends will be applicable.
So what does this mean in practice? Well, in terms of the overall layout of your office, you are going to need to think about the priorities of your workforce. For instance, open plan offices may be a good option if collaboration and flexibility are priorities, but they may not work so well if your employees need privacy, or peace and quiet.
This same principle also applies to furniture and technology too. Prioritize the office design solutions that will be beneficial to your employees, given the nature of the work you need them to do. If they are going to be sitting down at a computer all day, it may be a good idea to focus on ergonomic chairs and workstations.
2. Make the Space Your Own
In addition to creating an office that suits the needs of your employees, you should also take steps to make your office space your own. This means creating a workplace branding strategy, where you attempt to link the design to your business and its values.
Office branding is connected with the idea of internal marketing. According to the Harvard Business Review, this is important for ensuring employees build an emotional connection to what your business does and the products or services you offer. This can then help to improve morale and boost overall motivation levels.
Branding can take many forms, from subtle use of the same color schemes that feature in external marketing material, through to using company logos on walls, furniture and equipment. Some companies include inspirational quotes, or showcase their achievements, while others try to reflect their core brand values through technology.
This branding process during a commercial refurbishment can help make you feel more at home in a building, while it will also help any visitors to gain a positive first impression of your business and what it represents.
3. Be Willing to Get Creative
Finally, a great commercial office also requires you to get creative and there is an almost endless amount of possibilities here. Some of your decisions in this area may be based solely on making the office look nice, or making it feel like a more pleasant place to spend the working day, while others may have more tangible benefits.
For instance, research shows that the inclusion of natural elements in the workplace, such as plants, natural light, and water features, can help to improve employee well-being by reducing stress levels and increasing feelings of happiness. This would be an example of a design feature that can produce clear advantages for workers.
Morale, happiness, and wellbeing can all also be improved in other ways, such as by providing break out areas, or including a games room in the office. This might be an area where the potential benefits need to be weighed against the potential risk of increased procrastination, and the overall return on investment may depend on your work culture.
Then, there may be other areas where design choices can add character to a workplace. While the tangible benefits may not be as clear, your decisions can still help to enhance the appearance of the office and make it more impressive.
The Last Word
The early stages of planning a commercial office involve getting in touch with commercial fit out companies and coming up with ideas for how to create a workspace that benefits employees and caters for their needs. Beyond this, you should also think about branding your office and adding some creative flourishes to enhance the final design.
Reno Macri is managing director at Nero Interiors, an interior fit-out company. He has more than 25 years of experience working closely with clients to deliver high-end office designs that not only look visually spectacular but also enhance the working environment, staff wellbeing, and promote creative thinking.