How practical is your office design?
Office design is often driven by your available real estate, particularly the size and shape of the workspace. While potential layouts will naturally be affected by the usable space, you can maximise your use of space and thereby your productivity potential. Evoke Projects offers this advice on practical office design:
Big picture – make the most of your office layout
As acknowledged, the size of your office space will clearly dictate what is possible. Conference rooms and canteens will not be an option for everybody. That said, there are several clever approaches to practical office design that will help even in small spaces:
- For maximum flexibility and easy layout changes, use dividers and partitions instead of fixed walls to separate your office spaces.
- A ‘breakout’ area could be used for coffee, lunch or meetings, depending on the time of day.
- Office pods and meeting booths are an alternative to dedicated conference rooms.
- Look for opportunities for shared-use areas in the office, rather than one head = one desk. Hot desking and activity based working are examples of shared-use areas. Hot desking means that staff don’t have a dedicated desk but take whichever desk is available at the time (also see Is hot desking more than just a craze?) Activity based working means including a mix of zones for different types of activity, e.g. meetings, team work, quiet work and social time. Employees use the area most suitable for their current activity.
- If your office is an unusual shape, talk to an office designer about ways to use the space creatively. For example, Evoke Projects worked with a client whose office design had two structural columns inconveniently placed. Custom joinery was made to transform the columns into storage areas; not only was this a practical use of space, but it also became a design feature of the office.
- Capitalise on your outdoor space with a deck or garden area. Appropriate furniture and shade can turn a previously unused area into a collaborative outdoor space.
Conduct a technology audit
The rate of change of IT and multimedia devices makes it difficult to stay ahead, but do ensure that you are providing staff with the tools they need for productive work. Technology is not a luxury but an essential and practical component of your office design. Consider your strategy for computers, laptops, printers, AV equipment, video conferencing, internet, WiFi and device charging stations.
Install practical desks, workstations and office furniture
While custom made furniture is a great solution for unusual spaces, ready-made modular desks and workstations are practical and easy to install and move as required. Modular office furniture usually has easy-to-coordinate matching pieces to add extra style to your office design.
Practical stand-up desks take up less room than traditional desk/chair combinations and can double as a meeting space.
Practical interior office design can still be stylish
Interior office design trends change and it is wise not to invest too much money in current fads, even if you want to be seen as a cutting edge business. Add a touch of style by hanging modern art, which is easy to change. Avoid permanent features such as this year’s geometric tile trends.
Vinyl is more practical than carpet for high customer traffic areas. Carpet tiles are more practical than broadloom office carpets. You will be surprised how far carpet tiles have come in design appeal!
Use frostless and frameless glass for office partitions. Frostless glass offices give acoustic privacy and a modern feeling of space and light.
For more information about practical office design, please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692. There are more useful articles on our website – www.evokeprojects.com.au
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