There’s a saying that goes: “good design is invisible, but bad design is everywhere.” The same applies to office spaces. Well-designed offices can limit distractions and inefficiencies, helping you focus on your work.
Space Planning is the process of designing how a space is to be used and experienced before it is actually created. In terms of designing an office, space planning can help identify unused space, barriers to movement, and areas for utilities like computers or coffee machines.
Space planning isn’t limited to offices – designers use space planning in the construction of homes, schools, government buildings and places of worship. Planning is essential to saving time and development costs during the formation of a space.
Planning can also help improve a person’s experience within the space, whether they’re a client stopping by for a consult, or an actual employee who will be spending most of their day in that office. As we’ve explored in the past, well-designed spaces can improve team communication and productivity.
Your company may be large enough to dictate the space’s layout, or you may only have control over the furniture arrangement of the office. Whatever the case may be, your office space plan will still have a significant impact on your work’s efficiency and quality.
Here are a few suggestions for how you can optimize your office space:
1. Choose colors wisely
One of those invisible elements of office design is the color palette. Even though you may not stare at the walls continuously, different colors can have different impacts. Design psychologist Sally Augustin believes office colors should be chosen according to the company’s work: blue shades offer a greater sense of tranquility, while red shades suggest a sense of activity.
2. Use both natural and synthetic light
Office spaces should have a combination of sunlight and electrical lights like CFL and LED bulbs. Light is essential to navigating and using our workspaces, but it can also be the source of headaches and eye strain. Make sure desks are outfitted with lamps for when the office gets dark, and windows are available to allow sunlight even on cloudy days.
3. Create spaces to relax and decompress
Paul Kelly, head of marketing for office design firm Morgan Lovell, suggests creating separate areas from workstations and desks. These spaces can help team members discuss and think differently than if they were to stay in front of their laptop or computer. They also relieve stress. “Create non-bookable break-out spaces for those informal chats or just a change of scenery,” Kelly says, “these spaces take down barriers to communication and encourage spontaneity in the office.”
4. Add more plants and flowers
The University of Exeter believes that “green offices” not only make the place look more pleasant, but can actually improve concentration and worker experience. Plants can help improve the air quality of the office, can break up the monotony of computers and gray walls, and as they measured, indirectly increase worker productivity by 15%. Experiment with simple desk plants like bonsai trees, cactus, or even larger potted plants like the Yucca or Kentia palm.
5. Personalize the space
Despite your best efforts of designing a beautiful and efficient workplace, there’s only so much you can do to anticipate what your employees want. The rest will come from their own feedback and experiences. Allow your team to decorate, adjust, and rearrange as they see fit. According to HBR, when people have more control over their space, it creates a greater sense of identity and empowerment.
6. Rearrange furniture to maximize flow and utility
Plan for good feng shui. As we discussed in this article, clutter inhibits productivity. Don’t block important equipment like printers and computers. Tuck away loose cords or cables. Create a movement path from the door to the main office areas. Everyone should be able to move through the office without being obstructed or injured.
Office design is vital in creating a healthy and efficient work environment. To learn more about how coworking can accomplish all these considerations and more, visit Expansive’s blog.