New Year = new office? Read our guide to office planning…

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With the start of another year, it may be that you’ve been thinking that 2014 could be the year to improve, re-design or re-fit your offices.

In previous blog posts we’ve often talked about the benefits that a well-designed office can bring and with this in mind, we thought we’d offer a little advice on where to begin! We know from experience that if you run your own business, the thought of any kind of office re-design – even something as simple as changing the layout of a couple of desks – can seem to be incredibly daunting, stressful and time-consuming. However it doesn’t have to be this way!

It’s important to begin by understanding the benefits that good office design can offer

It’s important to begin by understanding the benefits that good office design can offer. From maintaining and enhancing your corporate identity, through to improved staff morale, productivity and retention, re-designing your office is a hugely positive step to take.

Appraise the space you have

Any office re-design should begin with a thorough appraisal of the space you have and this should also include an analysis of both your current and future business goals. You need to know what you have, what you want and what you need. Once you’ve put some thought to this, it may be that the space you have is sufficient, provided it is re-organised, or you may find that you need to consider moving to larger premises.

Planning an office space

Successful office planning is all about finding the most efficient, user-friendly and cost-effective solution to meet your business goals. This can include making best use of the space you have, the facilities available and the equipment you need. Think about how many people work in your office, how much space they need and the nature of their work. Don’t overlook practical issues, including where you’ll hold meetings, space for staff to eat, relax and socialise plus storage space to meet both your current and future storage needs.

Designing your office

‘Office design’ means the way that your office will look and feel. This is where elements such as furniture, lighting, flooring, wall-coverings and partitioning will come in. When choosing new furniture, fixtures and fittings, choosing items to reflect your identity is essential. Of course budget is going to play a huge part in what you choose, however good design is important, especially when it comes to office furniture. Flexibility needs to incorporated into your finished design so that your office can grow with your business. A great way to create a corporate image and identity is through the use of colour and if you’re on a tight budget, choose key items in your company colours to reflect your brand or image.

Lighting is key

Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the importance of lighting in the office! There is nothing worse than working in an office that is lit by a couple of weak, flickering fluorescent lights and your staff will really appreciate being able to work near natural light. Make use of your windows and try to position desks as near to them as possible. Lighting can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your offices and should be on of your top of your design priorities.

Office furniture

Buying new office furniture can prove a significant investment and you may want to consider re-using some or all of the furniture you already have. However it is important to ensure that your furniture reflects your business objectives so it’s wise to invest in a few new key pieces where possible. For example, could you buy new office chairs in your company colours? This would be a great way to get started on creating a cohesive, corporate look.

Re-fitting or re-locating your offices presents a fantastic opportunity to give your business and your staff a real boost. A well-designed office could re-invigorate your business, increasing morale and performance.

At Ultimate Office Solutions we’re specialists in all aspects of office design, space management and space planning. We also offer a range of consultancy services, designed to help you understand more about the benefits that a well-designed work place can bring. If you would like further advice or information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Posted January 15, 2014

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