Even in times of hardship some companies are growing and some are merging or downsizing. Moving offices or premises can be a lengthly and expensive process and can be quite disruptive to work flow. Maintaining an existing address through times of recession or slow growth can give confidence in your brand. Perhaps 2012 is the year to renovate and design a new office fit-out?
A well designed and refurbished office will not only impress visitors, but could help improve the business through staff productivity and enjoyment. Working in an environment that is well lit, well ventilated with comfy and ergonomic surroundings is such a vital part of getting the most out of a workforce.
Some common generic office problems include, unwelcoming entrances, too hot, too cold, too noisy, too stuffy, too cluttered, too distracting, not enough welfare facilities or daily inconveniences such as parking or finding a private changing space or somewhere to store your lunch. Getting an independent expert, such as an interior designer or architects to help re-lay out an existing office or design a new one can be of significant benefit.
Office fit out Architects are trained and have experience in how people behave in spaces, and how buildings are used. Simple aims such as line of sight of reception upon entry, knowing where to find the toilets without having to ask, an appearance of an organised workforce without clutter or mess, and comfortable conditions are all too often missed in office buildings that have been poorly altered over the years. A wholistic new approach can dramatically change the first impression for customers and enjoyment of being at work.
Our own office building is simple in layout and very cost-effective. It is a pleasant place to be and work, the office space is tall, naturally ventilated, well lit, adequately spaced with plenty of hidden storage, quiet, with long-distance views and good facilities, we also have the added bonus of a balcony, but that is the perk of designing your own building!
Some aspects of good office design we enjoy are an open plan office where we can really interact and work as a team, with a dedicated print room and library, a nice conference room, a smaller soundproofed meeting room, a kitchen hidden from view, toilets and shower, covered bike hoops by the door and easy public car parking. Incorporating some fundamental building physics into the design keeps the office as green and sustainable as possible. Large south facing windows and doors flood in natural light, with blinds for the low winter morning sun and an overhanging roof to shade from the hot summer rays. The electric (daylight colour temperature) lighting is controlled in banks, so we can switch off rows depending on how bright the day is outside. Opening up the windows and roof mounted windcatchers brings in fresh cross ventilation and the windcatchers can be left open securely overnight in the summer to purge the day's air. Our heating is individually controlled for each desk and runs off simple oversize pipes under the desks. Each workstation has plenty of power and data connections underneath to keep technology looking neat.