Walk through the space, from the entrance to each area where customers and employees will visit. Think about the types of tasks that will happen in each area. Some businesses might require open floor plans to foster collaborative creativity—people can easily work together and give input on projects. However, some employees and tasks will require more private areas for small group collaboration or working alone. Be sure you’ve provided space for each, Salamandick says.
Many businesses integrate design and comfort into the lobby and front reception area, then “everything drops off into a worker-bee environment,” says Mitch Dowell, founder and creative director at Washington, D.C. area-based branding firm Branding Experiences. He says it’s important to create balance throughout your space. Just as you have different “moods” and design approaches for various rooms in your home, think about how you can integrate function and design throughout your office.
Make break spaces comfortable and inviting so employees have a space to recharge, he says. Equip conference rooms with smart boards and monitors to give employees the tools they need to collaborate creatively. Create brief presentations that appear as screensavers on sleeping monitors that reinforce your brand or motivate employees, he suggests.
Lighting is also crucial, and the most creative spaces don’t have uniform lighting. If possible, get employee input on lighting options, allowing them to use desk or floor lamps in addition to ambient and natural lighting. She recommends avoiding fluorescent lights, and adapting lighting for various job functions based on the employees’ needs.
“A lot of coders and developers like dark spaces, so you have to find a way to provide that, too,” she says.
Branding touches can include logoed mugs on every desk, or company colors used on workstation chair backs or waiting area couch cushions, can add subtle but effective touches that reinforce your brand virtually everywhere you look, Dowell says. And be sure your team is involved in making design decisions.
“Getting them involved is a healthy exercise to be sure you’re designing to meet their needs,” he says.
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