Your employees will already have their own ideas about the office interior improvements that can be made as they spend the most time in that environment. Focus groups are a good way to engage staff and get detailed opinions. A simple way of collecting information from a larger group of employees is to design a quick survey to gather feedback, ideas and general sentiment. There are lots of free or cost effective online survey tools to make the job easier and the ideas suggested, by the same staff it affects, can often lead to increased productivity. If nothing else, it can improve motivation and staff retention because employees know that their opinions are valued.
Get the free comprehensive Senator white paper that evaluates the current approach to office design. The aim of the survey was to establish how we work, relating to tasks we undertake every day and how we differ individually in the workplace.
It's not just about the office desks and chairs. Suitable lighting is a very important factor to consider within an office environment, natural light provided by windows is favorable however with the gloomy British winters, natural daylight alone doesn’t always provide sufficient working light. Try using LED lighting, LED lights mimic natural lighting and they have been proven to reduce the number of cases of headaches and eye strain within the office because they do not flicker like fluorescent lights can.
Kitchen areas and bathrooms can be more problematic when considering your refurbishment as generally, they can’t be moved. If the kitchen area is too far away from the working area, the time taken for employees to go back and forth to grab refreshments could build up and negatively affect working time. Instead, install a water cooler and a vending machine within the working area to reduce time lost and boost your productivity.
Finding the right fit
The majority of jobs within the office are performed seated, whether it's just a single desk or complete office refurbishment, finding office desks and chairs with the best fit is becoming increasingly important. Unsuitable seating can cause a multitude of problems for employees from back pain to upper limb disorder. This can prove problematic for employers as staff may become inefficient or even need extra time away from work. You will need to think about office ergonomics whilst planning your refurb, well designed office furniture can improve productivity and if staff feel that their employer cares about their wellbeing, it can increase job satisfaction. Maybe explore a few different options and get feedback from staff, for example, have you considered the benefits of a standing desk or even creating a collaborative workspace? The right type of furniture and environment can also help to reduce risk of work injuries.
Within an open plan office noise is a very important factor that needs to be considered. Studies have shown that surplus noise levels can cause undue stress to your employees. Partitioning between desks or departments could be considered as a flexible solution to this disruption. Alternatively, if there are a lot of staff on the phone, noise cancelling headphones can be an effective solution in reducing the overall noise level.
Your office furniture and whole interior should reinforce your brand identity to clients, visitors and employees alike. Incorporating company colours throughout the design will convey that the space is yours and not just the average office. As well as helping to reinforce your brand, colour can also create a certain mood within your office. Blues can create a calming working environment where as bright and vibrant colours can encourage creativity and enthusiasm. Think about the mood you want to create whilst deciding on a colour theme.
If you are trying to stimulate creativity, you might also benefit from lots of artwork on the walls, funky desk designs, lighting and exciting break out areas for casual meetings. Even if you want to create a more traditional office space, there are still lots of ways to stamp your personality and create a fun and stimulating but productive work environment.
Take a look at our office interiors case study for Ontic Engineering and Manufacturing
Look to the future
There is no point putting time and effort into a refurbishment if you’re going to need to do it again in a couple of years. Take some time to consider your business plan for the next few years, are you planning on expanding a certain department? or introducing a new service that will require additional machinery in-house? These factors will have an impact on space, storage and facilities needed.
If you are a growing business, a professional space planner could be an important consideration. Clever use of space could result in more desking and sufficient break out areas to cater for the additional staff. The greater the capacity available, the less likely you are to need to relocate to bigger premises in the near future.
To ensure your office refurbishment is a success, it’s important that the purpose of the refurbishment is discussed before the project begins. Ask yourself, what is the business objective of the refurbishment, do you need to make better use of existing space? Or do you want to move towards a more open plan office? Answering questions like these will provide you with a list of outcomes and objectives that need to be met when designing the refurbishment. There are various online project management and collaboration tools (some of which are free) that can help you to organise your re-fit project and work collaboratively with your team members.
Don’t stop there
Nothing is set in stone, and ongoing assessment is important. After your refurbishment has been completed, make sure you gain early feedback from your employees to help iron out any issues. If you want a happy and productive workplace, continue to listen to their comments, make adjustments and adapt certain features if and when necessary.
A few more office interior case studies...
BARTON PEVERIL COLLEGE