Career Development

How To Design an Office (With Steps and Tips)

June 17, 2021

Knowing how to design an office can improve workplace morale and productivity. Regardless of the type of work performed in the office, the way it's designed can have a direct impact on the success of the employees working there. Designing an office that improves productivity is important for the organization's well-being, but it requires inspiration. In this article, we discuss why designing your office is important, how to design it and provide design tips to help you create an office space that's functional and appealing.

Why is designing your office important?

There are many reasons why designing your office is important, including:

  • Improves workplace productivity: A well-designed office can help your employees feel less stressed, which results in better workplace performance. Also, an office where employees are physically comfortable, with elements like appropriate lighting, adjustable chairs and an intuitive office layout where things are easy to find, can improve your employees' productivity.

  • Improves employee retention: Employees who feel emotionally and physically comfortable at their office are usually more likely to stay in that workplace for a longer period of time. Therefore, having a well-designed office can benefit the organization by reducing the time and money that go into recruiting and onboarding new personnel.

  • Tells your company's story: If existing and potential customers see your office, its design can reveal positive things about your organization. Elements like how the space is divided, the colors used to paint the walls and the pieces of artwork you use can inspire customers and give them a positive impression about your business.

  • Saves you money: An efficient office design can save the company a significant amount of money long term. Maximizing the use of space can reduce the time employees spend going between different departments and can even free up enough space to allow you to rent out a part of the office, while other design choices, like economical light bulbs and efficient heating, can reduce bills.

  • Shows innovation: Efficient office design solutions show that your organization can not only keep up with industry trends but also innovate and find its own way of doing things.

Related: Top Tips for Designing Your Workspace

How to design an office

Consider following these steps when deciding how to design your office:

1. Assess space and needs

Before you plan your new office design, analyze how much space you have and the best ways to use it. Determine the basic elements of your workplace dynamics, such as how much time employees spend at their desks, in meeting rooms and at other spaces within the office, then consider how much space each department needs. Optimizing the way you use your office space may reveal that you need less space than you initially thought, which can save you money.

Ask for employee feedback when deciding on how to use the available space. Because they spend their workday in the office, they may know how the space could be improved, what they need to be more productive and what affects their productivity. You also need to use employee feedback to estimate future growth, as your office space should have the potential to accommodate your goals.

2. Create a design brief

Once you know your needs and the space you have at your disposal, you need to write your design brief. It can include elements like:

  • What your goals and needs are
  • What your vision is for the new office design
  • How the design needs to align itself with your brand values

Related: 40 Tips for Decorating an Office

3. Choose the right people

You can either coordinate the entire office redesign project yourself or appoint another person in the office to do it. Either way, you need to set up a system where decisions can be made quickly, without a constant need for approval from upper management. Once the project leader is set, it's time to choose a professional office designer. Some of the main criteria when choosing an office design professional or company are:

  • Previous work: You can ask them to provide a list of previous projects along with pictures or video footage.
  • Specialty: Choosing a designer who specializes in office space can save you time and money, as they're likely to operate more efficiently than a generalist designer.
  • Reputation: Choose a designer with a verifiable history of having satisfied customers.

4. Set your budget

Before deciding on particular elements of office design, you need to set a clear budget for the entire operation. You should work with your designer to calculate an estimate, and then adjust your decisions based on the difference between the estimate and your available budget.

Related: How To Organize Your Desk, Office or Cubicle at Work

5. Start planning the look

The first part of the actual office design should usually be when you and your designer decide on how the office is going to look. This process can also involve other employees, as their feedback may be relevant. Some things you can do to find the right visual elements for your office are:

  • Have a meeting with the entire staff and ask them to come up with creative ideas
  • Browse online for office design ideas and select various elements
  • Ask your designer to create concept drawings to see how your office design would look

6. Create the space plan

After determining your office's look, it's time to decide on how to maximize the use of your available space. There are certain accommodation and safety standards that need to be met, so any decision regarding space needs to be made with them in mind. Use your space and needs assessment to create an office layout that minimizes wasted time and maximizes efficiency.

7. Decorate the office

Finally, once the office plan is complete, you need to fill your office with elements like furniture, carpet, storage spaces, flooring, wall paint and any other elements necessary for an office environment. Make sure the choices are not only stylish but also highly functional. As with most steps, feedback from the people who would then use that space can be very beneficial in the design process.

Related: How To Improve a Business With Organizational Design

Office design tips

Consider these tips when designing your office:

  • Improve the lighting. Providing your employees with proper lighting is one of the most cost-effective ways of boosting productivity
  • Reduce unwanted noise. Noise typically affects productivity so, when designing an office, make sure that sound elements like street noises, the sound made by various machinery or simply the sound of employees chatting or speaking on the phone don't disturb other employees. You can avoid most of these issues with insulation and a well-planned office layout.
  • Add natural elements. Although a workspace should primarily be designed for functionality, adding natural elements can improve your employees' morale and productivity. Office plants or an office aquarium can add a natural element to an office.

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