Productive interiors: essential tips for functional office design
Many of us spend most of our working lives in an office environment of one kind or another. Since living, let alone working, in an ugly or dull space is not conducive to personal happiness or production, the design of the office is something that you should consider long and hard. The office environment has a direct and immediate impact on how workers interact and it influences their well-being, productivity and general health.
You need sufficient space to seat your employees, of course, but also to conveniently locate support and ancillary services, from kitchen to boardroom. Ease of circulation between these areas is also important and you need proper access for fire escapes and stairs.
As the part of the office that first greets visitors, the reception will set the scene for future interactions and must be suitably impressive. Models, projects or any industry awards should be displayed here and make sure to include aesthetic accessories like original prints to reflect your organization’s style and taste.
The conference or meeting room is the heart of any office and should be easily accessible to all staff and visitors. It should have a toilet nearby and be fully kitted out for presentations. Functional office furniture and a pleasant ambiance will be conducive to communication and interaction. There should be a neutral and calming color scheme and sufficient lighting.
Ceilings are surfaces and, as such, they reflect sound and light, and the office ceiling will therefore have a significant effect on both the acoustic and lighting qualities of the working space. Most offices opt for suspended ceilings, which are available in many different materials. Acoustic panels and tiles are becoming increasingly popular, especially where an open office plan has been adopted, and you can cut holes for lighting wherever most convenient.
With the latest “industrial chic” style of office design, an exposed ceiling is usually left as it is, without any form of treatment, to create a suitably high-tech image and as an alternative to traditional office design.
Effective work demands good lighting, and, since lighting is the heaviest area of energy consumption in an office, efficiency and cost-effectiveness are the major factors when choosing office lighting. Lighting can create a warm and inviting interior, a dramatic space or a monotonous working environment, so it is essential that you get it right.
You can use standard bulbs to make a wall wash to softly light the entire room, incandescent light to highlight isolated objects and task lights for specific tasks to reduce eye strain.
These factors all contribute to the ambiance of an office environment and therefore impact on the well-being and productivity of your workers. This in turn will translate directly into the success or otherwise of your business. Even virgin start-ups need to think carefully about their office space in this respect, but it becomes even more important in larger companies that need both to impress visitors and to ensure that their employees are happy and productive.