Office design can be a hassle, no matter what you're doing or how long you spend time planning, re-planning, hiring contractors, etc. It can become a nightmare if you don't know what you're doing.
Sadly, a lot of business owners/employers don't. They don't take their full space into consideration - because each building (and the workers) are different.
Here are a few general (but vital) tips you can use today to make sure your office is a productive power force.
1. Waiting Area
Many office designers put sofas and couches in waiting rooms with the best intentions, but these seating arrangements backfire on a major level when it comes to older and disabled patients.
My own grandmother threw out her own couches because it put too much stress on her back, just trying to stand up. Plus, strangers rarely sit next to each other on a sofa - wasting an entire seating space.
The chair that's most comfortable (for waiting rooms) is an individual chair, with un-upholstered arms, and an upholstered back and seat.
2. Not Separating Work From Play
From my own experiences, many owners and designers simply host the break room in an occupied, large cubicle - with coffeemakers and snacks on an empty work-desk.
No, this won't do at all.
Create an open kitchen or game room, away from cubicles, for your workers. Add some comfortable leather sofas to encourage people to relax when they can - taking them away from work. A place to recharge.
This maintains employee happiness - which, bottom line, brings you maximum results and profit.
3. Ignoring Reception Area
Whenever anybody steps into your office, the first area they meet is reception. You'd be surprised how many owners neglect this crucial area.
You owe it to your business to do your due diligence and create a welcoming, professional reception environment.
Reception areas are not places for workers to dump their reports or files. They are definitely not a storage room to showcase all the broken and dysfunctional appliances and mountains of filing cabinets.
4. Poor Storage
Sometimes, important files get mixed up with receipts; yours and your employees. Clothes and junk are on tables. It's a mess.
Having a lack of efficient storage is a downfall as time-sensitive documents get lost in clutter.
A simple solution would be to install several walk-in closets (with adjustable shelves) throughout your workroom. This also gives your employees a space to hang up their coats and hats, etc., making more space for them to do what they do best.
5. Poor Lighting
The type of lights you use play a big part in peoples' productivity. Look to your own home for examples: chances are, your living room's light has a soft, orange hue - promoting relaxation.
Maybe your kitchen lights have bright LEDs - because it fits the function of getting stuff done; cooking, sorting bills, etc.
Never rely on one light source for your office. Laying your sources of light invokes several, atmospheric levels as the day goes on.
Wall sconces do well to make your office look more soft, elegant, and warm - think inviting, not sterile.
Don't overdo lights: too much brightness causes headaches and anxiety.
Naturally, the best source of light is the sun. Utilize your windows (or install new ones if it's within your budget) whenever possible.
6. Privacy/Public Incompatibility
Many companies set up cubicles in offices - to give workers privacy. Maybe even yours has one. The downside is: all the walls are the same.
Why is this a problem? Having high walls doesn't let your workers/team collaborate with each other. At least, not as efficiently as they should.
Keep walls low, encourage collaboration.
7. Poor Flooring
Believe it or not, even the tiles you choose plays a hand in changing the perspective of the office. How many doctors' and dentists' offices have you walked in to, where they all had that same boring carpet pattern that painfully reminds you of elementary school?
Though, many brands follow same pattern for their interiors but, they don't use same flooring patterns for their stores and offices. You want your office space to look different, unique, right? Then go with "rich" flooring.
8. (Metaphorically) Miles Apart
Assign desks/areas according to team (or a group's duty).
Think of The Office, where the sales team is in front of the reception area and middle of the office. Accounting is in the far corner, and customer service/HR is in back (behind the break room).
Take it one step farther: put the people who collaborate with each other most next to each other. Think of every single way you could squeeze time-killing spaces out of your office.
9. Not Valuing Workers
A higher income doesn't mean a higher work ethic - some people do the job because they love it. Just like you do, hopefully.
Money just isn't enough of a motivation for certain people - righteous people, who realize that their sense of self (and value) cannot be bought by a paycheck.
You can start by nurturing each and every employees' "quirks." We all have them. Encourage workers to share information with each other. Invest in them and their time as different individuals.
10. Doing it all yourself
Office design is more than purchasing furniture and setting desks down. The design needs optimum planning only a professional can provide.
These are specialists who have made it their life's mission to optimize work offices for maximum productivity, efficiency, and profit-building while saving you money.
Additionally, they will be able to fill you in on any regulations you might not have been aware of.
No matter what design you choose for your office, keep these tips in mind as you go about making your plans a reality. A cluttered office is a cluttered mind; a professional office is a professional mind.