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Office Interior Design: A Starter's Guide To Designing The Perfect Office
Office interior design is not merely putting work desks and chairs together. Gone are the days where work is just a means to put food on the dinner table. These days, employees look for meaning in their jobs. They don’t fancy long working hours and want work-life balance. They want job experience. They want job satisfaction. And the office design plays a part.
As the leading resource for interior design firms in Singapore, we're going to share some key elements of office interior design. You will begin to appreciate the many benefits of a well-designed office, understand the different considerations involved in office design, and how to go engaging an expert for help.
Why Do You Need Good Office Design?
If you are starting a new business, this is an exciting time. A well-designed office is a high calling card. It is a vision of what you want your company to be, a representation of what your company is to your clients, as well as a second home to your workers.
If you are looking to refresh your work environment, this is an excellent opportunity to improve workflows and optimise spaces. Take the chance to involve your co-workers and have them provide suggestions on how they would like to enhance the space.
Office workers spend a third of their lives in the office, sometimes even more. Since they work hard to add to the company’s bottom line, it is naturally the company owner’s responsibility to take care of them.
Benefits Of A Well-Designed Office
Similar to commercial interior design, a well-designed office goes beyond aesthetic improvements. You also want to make good use of available space by tailoring it to the workflow of the company. Even better if you can caters to the various different working styles. The end product should be a conducive environment that makes working both pleasurable and enjoyable.
1. Makes a Good First Impression
It is not just a retail interior design that has to leave a good impression with clients. Offices are terrific places for client meetings. Plus, it speaks volumes about how you treat the workers and shows that your company values the workers’ welfare. After all, a company that takes good care of its workers are likely to take good care of their clients as well.
2. Retains Workers
Make the office a joy to come to work to, and your workers would never want to leave. A well-designed office is like a second home, cosy and inviting. Amenities like a comfortable couch in the lounge, free-flow coffee and maybe even a game area let workers take a break and de-stress when they need to. All other factors being equal, a pleasant work environment is more likely to retain workers than one that is not.
3. Keeps Everyone Healthy
Healthy workers translate to less sick days and higher productivity. This can be achieved simply by investing in right furniture and infrastructure. For example, a well-lit office brightens the space and prevents eye strain from poor lighting. Ergonomic work chairs with excellent back support prevent backaches. Adjustable-height tables allow everyone to work at their optimal position. When workers are healthy and comfortable, they work better as well.
4. Saves Time and Money
If your company is big, optimising the office layout can save time and money. For example, locate departments that work together to cut down on travelling time. House meeting rooms together to take advantage of centralised meeting facilities, such as guest Wi-Fi and refreshments. Less time spent on navigating the premises means more time spent getting work done.
How To Design An Office?
The task of designing an office is a complicated affair that cannot be fully covered in one article. It will also not do justice to office design experts who have spent years honing their craft. But to give you a taste of what’s involved, here are some of the things to consider when designing your office interior:
1. The Lobby Area
The lobby is your company’s first impression. Just like how you would dress up for a job interview, the lobby area is the image you present to potential clients. If you offer professional services such as legal or accounting services, you’ll want to project a sophisticated model to inspire trust. If you are a quirky start-up, you could inject some fun into your lobby using colours or unique furniture pieces.
2. Do You Frequently Have Guests?
If you meet with clients, customers or vendors frequently, it might be a good idea to locate the meeting rooms near the office entrance. That way, your guests need not walk too far or walk through your (at times messy and chaotic) working area.
3. Open-Plan or Cubicles with Partitions?
While an open-plan office facilitates collaboration and discussion, there also known downsides. Loss of privacy and an increase in noise and distractions can make it hard to concentrate. If the nature of your business requires workers to think quietly or handle confidential documents, a cubicle layout with partitions might be a better option.
4. One-Size Does Not Fit All
These days, having just cubicles and meeting rooms might not be sufficient. To cater to each worker’s working style, you should consider a variety of other workspaces. For example, you can have breakout areas for collaboration, isolation pods for quiet solo work, hot-desking for staff who can’t sit still and even work-from-home arrangements.
5. Do You Have Space Constraints?
Office rent is expensive, and you can only make do with what you have. In space-tight situations, space planning becomes all the more vital if you want to squeeze all your workers in and still give them enough personal space. Some tricks to maximise the limited space include using multipurpose furniture and hidden storage solutions.
6. Colour Scheme
Colours have the power to evoke emotions as well as calm them down. Therefore, if you work in a high-strung industry, you could choose calming colours like shades of blue or a soothing nature theme with wood furnishings and greenery. On the other hand, if you work in the media or advertising industry that thrives on innovation, energetic colours like orange and yellow would work better to stimulate your workers’ creative juices.
Although it is summer all-year-round in Singapore, don’t shy away from the windows or cover them up. Instead, let as much natural light in as possible. Natural light improves workers’ moods and increases productivity.
The last thing you’d want is for your neighbour to hear your confidential discussion with your boss or your client. Hence, if your work requires absolute secrecy, make sure you use sound-absorbing materials around the office or cater for sound-proof rooms.
9. Plan Ahead
Office renovations are disruptive and logistically challenging. Since you don’t want to be making changes now and then, plan and invest in quality furniture. Think of where your company would be in a year and plan for manpower expansion. One solution is to choose modifiable fixtures such as modular furniture or movable partitions.
Let The Experts Handle It
Already feeling the headache from all the decisions to be made? While you can undoubtedly D-I-Y your office interior and save some money, why put yourself through the hassle? There are many service providers in the market offering a variety of office interior design packages.
What’s more, an office interior design expert not only creates winning design for you, they plan the space to make sure it meets your needs as well. They know what works and what doesn’t from past experiences and have a wealth of resources available. In general, this is what they can do for you:
The service provider first talks to you and your workers to understand how your company is organised, what your current pain points are, limitations you face in your daily work and other concerns or challenges you have. This is also where you can discuss the budget, timeline and expectations.
2. Space Planning
How many workers do you have? Do you need to buffer for expansion? What kind of facilities do you need: a reception area, pantry, meeting rooms? Space planning not only involves allocating space for each facility and each worker, but it also involves analysing how these spaces are used, your company’s daily workflow and your workers’ working style. The aim is to create a space that is not only aesthetic but also practical.
3. Interior Design
What do you want your office space to say about you? Do you want to inspire your workers, stimulate creativity or foster teamwork? Your office space can also be used to showcase your corporate identity and enhance your branding among workers. Experts can recommend a colour scheme or an entire theme to achieve all that.
The look is then completed with furnishings – chairs, tables, partitions, carpets, blinds – that best complement the office design and company image. Besides off-the-shelf furniture, some service providers also manufacture office furniture and can provide a custom solution to suit your needs.
5. Project Management and Paperwork
From consultation and design to the actual renovation and furnishing, the service provider will handle the project from start to finish. They will manage the timeline, supervise the workers, ensure quality control and secure all the necessary approvals from the authorities, ensuring a hassle-free experience for you.
Whatever the reasons for remodelling your office, it is a big undertaking that involves much logistics. You’ll want it done as quickly as possible to minimise downtime to work. Hiring an expert is not only a worthwhile investment, but it also ensures that things are done correctly and according to regulatory requirements. Not only will you get a well-designed office, but you’ll also have a peace of mind as well. All you have to do is sit back, relax and watch your dream office materialise. You’ll never want to leave work again.