Effective office design from the experts

22nd November 2019

For years we have secretly envied the offices of organisations like Google, whose work hard/play hard ethos make us dream beyond the tired coffee machine and worn-out brown office décor. And while the creative, colourful office designs and office fit-outs are not a reality for all businesses, an inspiring environment that brings out the best in its staff is not out of reach.

As independent project managers and designers, what defines our position in the market is how we collaborate with our clients brief and budget. We do this by using experience and imagination to develop a practical and inspirational space that overcome environmental factors ensuring your office engages both staff and clients alike now and in the future.

We sat down with one of our Associate Designers, and Jeanette Grover, Rapports’ Founder and Project Director to find out what considerations should be addressed when designing office space.

planningWhat is the most significant consideration for businesses planning an effective office design?

Jeanette: Consider the business culture now and how it will need to adapt in the future can be of real importance in the longer-term design process.

Will: Identify how many days’ staff spend in the office. A time and space analysis provides this valuable information.

  • How many meetings take place internally?
  • Do you envisage more virtual meetings happening now and in the future?
  • With those considerations will static meeting rooms be required in a longer-term design?
  • Workspace design must be adaptable to the future of your organisation and culture.

Jeanette: Equally, what is the current age demographic, and how will this change?

New generation employees do not want to sit at a desk all day. They want and need to be far more flexible and fluid in their movement. This encourages creativity and collaboration with a significant benefit to progressive organisations.

Research shows that sitting all day can and does have a negative impact on physical and mental health

The wellbeing of staff should always be considered in the design process; small changes in furniture and working culture can help and ultimately benefit the business.

How should an organisation reflect its brand adequately in a design?

Will: From experience, different companies look to communicate their brand in very different ways.

Some like to communicate a message literally, so every colour within a brand logo or marketing must follow through your space. Some of the more exciting design briefs, take us back to the first question, by considering the culture of the business.

  • Do you want the design to stop at the reception?
  • Is the design for client-facing purposes, or does it penetrate every part of the business?
  • And importantly, does the design show staff are valued? A flexible design pallet can show that you support and acknowledge your staff.

Jeanette: Yes, one of the most significant considerations our clients have is attracting new staff, and equally, they want to retain current staff.

We work with HR teams closely to carry out workshops that involve managers and staff in the initial design process.

We provide a considered questionnaire to staff to understand what keeps them motivated; what distracts them about their current working space. Your staff and office users can and should influence the design.

Reception space is also essential. It is the face of the business that will showcase your environment and business ethos. Entering a buzzy, connected reception gives visitors and staff a very different view of the business.

Consider incorporating comfortable soft seating that the staff will want to work from. 

 Plan early – Ensure you’re choosing the right space for your organisation at the very beginning.

What needs to be considered before creating a design brief?

Jeanette: Have a full understanding of your market and what you want to achieve before initiating your design brief.

Will: Translating a clients brief effectively, rather than ‘creating’ the brief from THE design end can help turn the concept into a 3-dimensional reality with more significant results. Designing on-site can be costly and time-intensive, especially if you have tight budgets and timelines.

How can an independent design and project management team benefit my office design and fit-out project?

Jeanette: The most successful projects incorporate the whole project team with joined-up thinking and clear communication.

If you detail out the design criteria, parameters and scope the works at the front end of your project as a ‘team’, you limit the number of changes during the contract.

Being detailed in the initial stages can prevent programme delay and help remove costly additions.

When working with Rapport, you’re assigned a dedicated, independent project manager to oversee the contractor/client relationship who will assist in controlling your project budget

Come and speak with Rapport for advice regarding your office move, office design or fit-out on 01252 712590 or info@rapport-solutions.org.uk.

To view our portfolio of work, click here.