Office design needs care and attention. It’s every detail can be helpful in attribution to the company’s success. From the size of the office to the divided sizes of each office, it makes a difference. There are lots of things to consider such as the number of staff, or even what type of layout is proved to be most efficient. The steps to take when designing an office is tedious but it is necessary to really have the best office that promotes work flow and work productivity. There’s so much to think about when it comes to office design, it can be hard to know where to start. Don’t worry. Help is at hand.
PRE DESIGN PROCESS
Before you even think about a design for your new office, take a quick look at how your current space works. It is important to evaluate your space well before executing your plans. There might be things you want to keep or things you want to change. How do you decide what to keep and what to change? While analysing your current office there are a few things you need to think about in order to have a successful renovation.
Carry out a utilization study
How is your office space currently being used? How much time is being spent at desks and in meeting rooms? How often are the break-out areas and kitchens being used? Have some people got too much space whilst others have too little? Are some parts of the office used a lot whilst other areas are hardly used at all? Carrying out a utilization study is an initial step to really understand the usage of space in your office. This way you can really change your spaces to make room for more productivity and stop wasting unused space.
By studying how your colleagues use the office space, you will:
- Save money in the long run because you’ll get the right amount of space you need
- Bust a few myths. Do you really need all those meeting rooms? Probably not
- Create productive spaces that staff will make use of
- Make room for other ideas… like a resting area?
Create an online survey and ask your colleagues (not just the managers) what they think about the current office layout and design. What do they like? What do they think is not useful for their work? What do they think could be improved? Does it help them work? Or does it hamper their productivity? Knowing other members opinion is important since they are the ones using the space. See if there are any common feedbacks and start from there. You might find some surprising and unexpected results.
By carrying out a staff survey:
- Your new office design will be based on feedback and evidence and not on ‘gut feel’
- Your colleagues will buy into the new office design as they feel they’ve had a say
- You will have a better understanding of the use of your office space
- The changes you make will be used since your colleagues suggested them
CREATE A ROBUST DESIGN BRIEF
A well-written design brief is one of the most useful documents you can have for your project. It helps your ideas be delivered through paper for others to see clearly. This step should be done after your pre-design studies and when you have a clear understanding of how to transform your office space. The pre-design process should make it easy for you to enter into this step as you have reasons and backup for your decisions on making changes. This way other people will understand your design and its logical reasons behind it too. Be cautious and make sure you have a comprehensive design brief.
A robust design brief can be as detailed as you like; however, it should include some basic points:
- Your vision for your new office ideas
- Your aims, goals and business needs
- Your brand values (work with the marketing department on this)
- A sign-off from senior management
After you have written a good design brief you are not done. The next step is to continue strengthening your design brief that has been approved. To create a solid design brief:
Carry out a workplace appraisal
The company’s success is an important factor to consider when changing up your design. Many of the main purposes in changing up your office are to foster productivity and growth. A workplace appraisal can further improve your chances to boost company success. Understanding the workplace appraisal helps determine what design changes are going to be effective in the future. Look at how your business works now and think about how the company might grow in the future. Evaluate what changes you might need to make to enhance certain sectors or cut off others in order to grow. Will certain departments need more space in the coming years? Or less? Will there be a need for new department spaces in the future? or will there need to be cuts in some existing departments? These are all questions that a workplace appraisal serves to answer so that you can have a great office design.
- Carry out management interviews to find out what each department needs or doesn’t need
- Calculate growth projections to ensure you accommodate for future growth
- Look at work patterns to ensure the new office accommodates your company’s way of working
Get a technology brief
With constantly changing innovations in technology, your office should keep up to maximize productivity. Having the tools to speed up or allow easier information access can really push efficiency. Don’t limit your gadgets to the basic office tools like a printer, search for new technology or evaluate what other company’s use and see what fits your office. Work with the IT team and find out what technology the new office needs to fully support the way your colleagues work. Think about computers, visitor services, audio visual equipment, comms rooms, wireless networks, and audio or video conferencing facilities. Keep the workflow going! Once you know what technology your new office needs, you can plan the spaces you want to create to include them.
It’s easier to get your technology needs in place right from the beginning. Rather than trying to accommodate extra computers once the office design has been completed. For instance, it is difficult or messy to add one more computer to a space designed for two. In response, staff may find the space too clustered or dense and not have room or space for themselves. Hence, a technology brief can prevent that issue in the future.
Perform a storage audit
Find out how much storage you really need. Not enough storage space can frustrate your colleagues and cause clutter. It can even hinder efficiency because it can be harmful to the office organisation and neatness. This means when you need to look for a file that you stored away, a lack of space may make it more difficult to find it. On the other hand, too much storage could be costly when you consider how much your office costs per square foot. Taking up space that is not used is not only useless but also prevents space for other use. A storage unit performance can help you find out the appropriate amount of storage you need so you can save stress and money.
Survey your new building
Take a comprehensive look at your new building. It is important to take your time to check that your new building meets your standards. Don’t be to hasty to settle, because once you make that decision it is difficult to change your space if anything is wrong. If you feel something isn’t working the way it should, now’s the time to negotiate with the landlord. Any system that is not working the way it should can disrupt colleagues from working efficiently, so take the initiative beforehand to prevent any problems.
As part of your survey:
- Check air-conditioning, ventilation, network cabling, and lifts
- Ensure there’s a Fire Exit plan in place
- Check works access: If your designer can’t get proper access for the office interior construction, the space will cost more to fit out
- Compare fit out cost between buildings: No two buildings are the same and costs can vary considerably
- Find out which way the building faces so you can assess how the space heats up during the day
- Check walls, floors, window in the office space to make sure you are getting the quality you pay for
- Check raised access flooring to make sure you can space plan how you want
- Get accurate floor plans to ensure you’re getting the square footage you’re paying for
- Look at usable space and fit factor: Oddly shaped buildings give you less usable space.
- So calculate how many people you can actually fit into the building
- Get your office designers to do a theoretical test fit to see if your business can comfortably fit into the spaces
Carry out a ‘green’ office feasibility study
A ‘green’ office feasibility study gives you the information on your office sustainability so that you can save money in the future. This will tell you how self-efficient your office is with energy. It can also guide how you design your office. Will you put a large cabinet covering the window that brings in natural sunlight? Knowing your ‘green’ information can help you have a better understanding on your spendings and also design process. A good sustainability audit should include:
- Energy audit
- Accreditation assessment: What’s better for your building? BREEAM, LEED or ?
- Natural light and thermal audit
- Return on investment calculations
The above mentioned tips should be constantly referred back to throughout the project, especially if decisions need to be clarified or substantiated at a later stage. This should contain your vision for the new office, along with any business or facilities needs that should be considered. This could also set out new ways of working that you’d like to achieve; such as introducing hot-desking or increasing breakout spaces. The document should also include brand values, work ethics, and sign-off from senior management.
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