Having a happy, healthy and enthused workforce is the key to the success of any business but if your office interior is dull and uninspiring, the mood can easily ripple out to your workers.
Having a light, bright and upbeat environment can create the right atmosphere in the office, helping your staff to focus, concentrate and enjoy the surroundings in which they work.
Clean windows and a fresh lick of paint on the walls is a great place to start but the perfect working environment needs a few extra tweaks too. We take a look at a few of the most important factors in helping to make your office the ideal place to work.
First impressions count
Whether its visitors arriving for a meeting or staff coming in to work, the reception or lobby area can help to set the scene.
Creating a good office takes effort.
An out of date, crowded or abandoned reception area can make the business seem shabby and unprofessional; not the impression you want to give either your staff or potential customers!
But whilst you don’t want furniture to be squashed in, leaving little room for manoeuvre, it’s also essential to provide somewhere to sit. Being forced to stand whilst waiting is going to put visitors in a bad mood before they start!
A great solution is modular seating; this provides the flexibility to change the layout depending on your requirements but also looks modern and funky too. Available in a range of colours, you can either opt for bright and contemporary or a more modest design if your business image is more low-key.
Modular seating is available in a range of different units; many people can picture the versatile cubes which are perfect for schools and common rooms but there are many other options available too. With curved designs, centre benches as well as sofa-style seats, you can opt for a professional look which is versatile too.
If you really want to make your visitors feel at home, add a drinks machine or at the very least a water cooler. Being able to get a drink whilst they are waiting is just an extra little touch that not every company will think of.
The other important factor for the reception area is the desk; this is one of the first things a visitor or employee will see when they walk through the door and its style will significantly influence the design of the area.
Whether you opt for a large and traditional model or a more minimalist and on trend design, the reception desk is an important factor in finalising the reception environment.
Around the office
Once your staff have passed the reception area, it’s essential that their work space is just as well-presented and thought out as the lobby.
Having a beautifully designed reception but a dismal office will send out the message that you care more about your visitors than your staff, consult an estate agent like http://www.marshallvizard.com and seek their advice on office layout.
The good news is that it doesn’t take much to create a bright and friendly atmosphere; the perfect place to work.
A good colour scheme is a way of making an office a nicer place to work in.
To start with it’s important to get the basics right; get your windows cleaned regularly and make sure they are not obstructed with overgrown trees and bushes. Plenty of natural light with views out of the window wherever possible will help your employees feel more relaxed and upbeat. There’s nothing worse than feeling hemmed in and isolated and can result in a very negative vibe.
Refresh the paintwork regularly, clean fresh walls will give the office an immediate facelift, making it a much nicer place to work.
Don’t forget to cast your eyes to the floor either; if it’s tacky or crunchy underfoot, or if the carpet is stained or threadbare, it won’t just be an eyesore, it could be a health and safety risk too. Whether you opt for laminate flooring or carpet, make sure it is clean and in good condition.
A few small touches can often make an office a great working environment.
Small touches can also make a big difference; some pieces of artwork can break up the blank canvas of a wall and make the room feel that little bit more loved. It doesn’t matter what line of business you are in, or what your corporate image is: you can opt for more traditional scenery type paintings or modern contemporary designs; either would work just as well.
You might want to even consider changing the chairs, or at least getting them re-upholstered. Sitting at a computer for long hours every day can be tough on the lower back and hamstrings to having a comfortable padded chair is a must. Rather than opting for the rather depressing grey, blues and blacks which are par for the course, why not get the office chairs upholstered in a different colour? Either pick a bright hue which matches your corporate logo or give the office a real lift by plumping for lots of different tones.
Getting down to business
Whether you have an open plan design or individual offices, the work station is an intensely personal place and being able to customise it can give an individual feel a sense of belonging.
Allowing staff to personalise their work station can help to create a much more pleasant working environment. They may like to have photos of their loved ones on display, or perhaps even a plant to help boost the oxygen quality as well as their mood. Calendars or funny posters are other popular ways that staff might enjoy decorating their desk and as long as they are not offensive or distasteful, it’s a good idea to encourage your employees to express their individuality.
Individuals who feel they are able to influence their own working conditions and tailor them to what they like to see will be more motivated, have higher morale and are far more likely to have a positive view about their employer.
But although staff may spend a significant percentage of their working day at their desks, they may also be attending meetings or bringing in clients or visitors. For this, a separate and private room is usually necessary.
Your office should be a place where you would happily hold a meeting.
Meetings can be small and informal or larger and more official and it’s helpful to be able to tailor the layout of the room to meet the needs.
If there’s just two or three of you, fanning out around a large conference table can feel awkward and unduly affect the tone of the meeting.
Modular seating is perfect for meeting rooms as it allows you to tailor the layout for what you need. With snugger options such as sofas available as well as larger-scale seating, you can easily re-arrange the meeting room into a more formal design, incorporating pedestal tables to complement the chairs where necessary.
You might even want to dot some modular seating around the office, providing casual and informal points suitable for non-confidential meetings, making it easy for staff to brainstorm away from the demands of their work-station.
Time to relax
The health and safety direction requires every employer to provide a place for employees to relax and eat their lunch away from their desk.
This area is key because having somewhere which is clean, airy and comfortable can help rejuvenate your employees ready for the afternoon. On the flip side, having a rest area which is dingy, dirty with just a few hard chairs as seating is unlikely to get the best out of your staff.
Good offices are often a bit tidier than this one.
Even if you don’t have an onsite cafeteria, having facilities where employees can grab a snack, such as a vending machine, can be a great way to help them recharge their batteries.
Seating plays a major part in rest areas; when your staff takes a break from work they want to be able to relax and unwind, not perch awkwardly on a chair whilst they eat their lunch.
Consider the social element too; unless you are a particularly small company, there’s a good chance staff may be taking their break at the same time. You will therefore need to provide a layout and seating that caters for both those individuals who want some peace and quiet as well as those who want to sit and chat with colleagues.
Modular seating is a great way to achieve this rather tricky dilemma; with lots of different options you can create sofas as well as corner seating to maximise every spare inch available. With units which are easy to move around the room too, your staff can create the seating that suits their mood and allows them to easily join in conversations by simply pulling up a cube.
But modular seating doesn’t sacrifice comfort for versatility; with deep padded chairs and soft drums and benches, they offer the perfect place to relax during a lunch-break or even for just a quick cup of tea. And after being hunched over a desk working hard (hopefully!) a place to unwind, recharge tired batteries and stretch out is everything an employee could want in a rest room.
Of course, getting the seating right is only half the battle; you’ll also need to think about the colour you paint the room.
The tones you pick may be limited in part by the dimensions of the space; if the room is quite dinky you will want to avoid anything too dark.
But did you know that the colour you choose can influence the mood and energy levels of your employees? Take a look at some of the following associations:
Red: a bold colour which has been demonstrated to increase the heart rate, it is an exciting and arousing colour, perfect for areas where fast flow of foot traffic is required.
Office desks can be bought that aren’t very expensive.
Orange: although orange is another stimulating colour, it can help to stir up an appetite which makes it popular for canteens and other places where food is consumed. Associated with creativity and excitement, it’s said to help individuals to tap into their imagination and ingenuity.
Green: a restful and stress-relieving tone, the colour green is thought to enhance reading abilities as well as creating a sensation of peace and calm.
Blue: a colour often associated with serenity, studies have shown that it can lower both body temperature and pulse rate, making it perfect for chill-out areas. However, because it can diminish appetite, it’s not recommended for places where people will be eating.
Yellow: a sunny yellow hue helps to speed up metabolism so is often picked for areas where food is being consumed. However, use with caution as it’s also been linked to feelings of rage and frustration.
White: although you might think this is the easiest option, white is one of the least relaxing colours to paint a room. Not only can it look cold and clinical, it reflects light the most harshly, and can lead to eye-strain.
The same rules apply to other areas too so pick the colours you choose for your modular seating, walls and accessories very carefully in order to create the perfect office environment.