Whether you are a new start up or a well-established company moving into new digs or renovating your existing ones, your office design is a big deal. How you do it can mean the difference between happy, productive employees and miserable ones. A lot should go into your design choices. Along with the space you have to work with, you should consider your employees’ workstyles, responsibilities and needs. Make the effort to get their input, because it does matter!
Traditionally cubicles have been the most popular office design, but these days many firms are going with a completely open design. The thought is that it encourages team work and bonding, but many employees hate it for it’s lack of privacy and loudness. If your employees need to work on complicated projects, make lots of phone calls, or hold meetings with clients, an open floor plan may not be a good idea. Cubicles offer the privacy and quiet they need while not being completely isolated from others. If you do decide to do an open floor plan, make sure your design also includes quiet spaces for meetings and phone calls. Whichever floorplan you choose, take your employees’ comfort into consideration. Ergonomic chairs and a high quality climate control system will be very appreciated. A comfortable lunch room with vending machines or a small kitchen is also a great addition.
If you’re unsure where to begin with your office design, consult one of the many commercial interior design firms that are out there. Use Google to research and get reviews and ask around for recommendations and referrals. A good firm will have a portfolio for you to look at and client testimonials. Don’t simply pick the one with the lowest price, go with the best designs and most creative firm. Remember, you get what you pay for.
When you’re ready to chose a firm, read the contract over thoroughly and have your lawyer do the same. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you don’t understand. Continue to stay involved once the work begins, and if the firm does not discuss things with you or makes you feel shut out of the project, speak up immediately! If there are problems with the job, contact their local professional society or licensing board to file a complaint. They do take them seriously! Open communication on both sides is the key to success.