New Spaces: Strategic Office Design

By Vusi | 24 March 2014 Blog home

9057808_sArticle courtesy of Blue Moon’s Guest Blogger, Genevieve Spalding.

Genevieve is an Interior Designer specialising in functional office spaces.

  •  Employee participation – and as a natural adjunct, engagement – is key to the success of any Office Design project.
  •  Human nature tends to resist change mainly due to fear of the unknown.
  •  To gain staff ‘buy-in’ from the outset builds a team approach, with the designer as part of that team rather than being seen as an outsider coming to impose a solution on their work environment. It is imperative to open up discussion from the start.
  • I always ask the question ‘what doesn’t work for you in your current workplace?’ This focuses minds on all the things that shouldn’t change…. and away you go.

New work place solutions evolve easily from this point. Millenials enjoy a much more communal environment in their place of work, long gone are the days of the cellular, insular office. Meeting space is key and this is not necessarily closed rooms, but more informal ‘drop-in’ area:  the café culture has come right into the heart of office space acting as both a relaxation and informal meeting space.  Work areas have to be much more flexible with the creation of agile teams where members and numbers change constantly.

The trend that is really accelerating into office design is co-working: designed initially for independent contractors who no longer wanted to work in an isolated way, typically from home, but rather rent some space in a place alongside other independent workers from a range of professions.

As this contingent workforce is predicted to grow hugely over the next 10 years and are expected to work more and more alongside the permanent workforce – this collaboration will occur both in co-working and corporate places of work.  In these places a more casual and informal attitude with flexible work areas will be the trend.

With the lines between the corporate office and the home office have becoming increasingly blurred,the homely feel is definitely creeping into the place of work.  Employees do like choices and to be able to move around a work space and select different places during a day to conduct your business does enable this.

With the amount of mobility of the workforce a dedicated desk space will often be left empty for more than 50% of the time.

While it is important for an office environment to be designed for the visitor in mind it is much more important to design if for the employees, giving them the ultimate workplace experience which will certainly ensures an area of comfort, stimulation and familiarity conducive to productivity.

Informal meetings around a coffee machine probably still remain the most popular, despite our best intentions.  But it’s about customisation and individuality, so your best contribution might be a good Arabica blend.

Genevieve Spalding – Design Origins Limited,

01730 821399 / 07860 255689

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