Why is your office space so important?
Great offices are much more than a space that simply hosts employees from 9 'til 5, Monday through to Friday. Instead, great offices are spaces where communities are made, game-changing ideas first come to light and where individuals grow, learn and build their career. In fact, in a recent survey by Workthere, 83% of small business owners agreed that a suitable workspace is crucial to a successful business.
By selecting the right layout, utilising the space you have and choosing the best furniture for your employees, your office space can encourage collaboration, boost the happiness levels of staff and even boost productivity levels.
Decorating your office in a way that represents the culture of your company is important too. Not only will it help your employees get into the right mindset at the start of the day, it'll guarantee that your clients and visitors will be left with an amazing first impression as soon as they step foot inside your office.
An innovative layout and multifunctional furniture
To get the most out of your office, you need to choose a configuration that works for your style of business. Every company is unique, so the features required will vary from space to space.
Creative industries, for example, tend to rely on breakout spaces. Ensuring there's a place to host ideas meetings, one-to-one catch-ups or even company-wide brainstorms means open-plan layouts often work best.
With a lack of walls to create a divide between departments, spaces like kitchens, quiet rooms and even meeting rooms with no doors can encourage what furniture designers Spaceoasis like to call 'serendipitous encounters'. People who might not normally bump into each other can meet in spaces like this around the office - and who knows what ideas will arise from each conversation?
For those offices that do require private, quiet spaces to make calls or for confidentiality, but find themselves short of room there are options there are a number of innovative products in the market like the PhoneBox by AXIA Design or the Limbus Furniture Booth from Glimakra of Sweden.
Attaching easily to a wall, both products use sound-proofing materials to create an enclosed space for calls, whilst muffling noise from elsewhere.
If your office is short on square feet, why not try some of the other, space-saving tips below?
- Make the most of the walls around you. Use blackboard paint or create floor-to-ceiling whiteboards for employees to work on.
- Think vertically. If you're short on storage space, add shelving and storage cabinets to walls, or invest in storage that can sit on top of desks.
- Invest in ad-hoc seating. From foldaway chairs and stools to beanbags, create a universal space that can become anything from a group meeting area to a place where employees can sit back, relax and have coffee.
- Create a sense of privacy. Create quiet spaces when you need them with movable screens and room dividers.
- Multi-functional desks. Choose desks that can move or adjust. Skullcandy's office in Zurich, for example, uses moveable desks. Fitting together like puzzle pieces, the desks can be placed together for collaborative work or separated easily to offer a more private workstation for concentration. Other desks, such as height-adjustable desks and expanding desks, can adapt whenever needed.
The art of sharing
Trying to work out exactly how much of your office should be dedicated to features like breakout areas can be difficult, especially if you're short on space. However, our experts at Workthere have created a handy guide to help you work out exactly how much office space you need based on the number of people you employ - take a look.. It's a great starting point if you're interested in moving offices, and it can help you calculate how much room you'll need for future growth. One of the major benefits of flexible office space is that it allows you to expand within a building subject to the availability of the building. For example, if you sign a licence on a space for 5 people, but are soon growing to 15 people, you can easily upscale to a larger office within the same building, should it be available.
Of course, if a percentage of your employees are frequently away from their desks throughout the week in meetings and travelling, you may find it beneficial to create a selection of shared desk spaces. This hot desk approach means you'll have fewer desks unoccupied at one time, leaving more space for employees to meet, collaborate and get creative.
The small things do count
To get the most out of your office space, you need to consider even the smallest details. Alongside grand changes like modifying your office layout and buying furniture that can adapt when you need it to, something as simple as going paper-free, can make a world of difference.
Switching from an office that stores hundreds of notebooks and sheets of paper to one that operates completely digitally is an effective, quick way to save on space and keep an all-round tidier office. Employees can use something as simple as a Word document to take quick notes, apps like Wunderlist or Todoist to create to do lists or software like Trello to manage larger projects. These apps are particularly useful if you have multiple employees across departments working on one project.
If you're struggling to visualise your existing office space in a new light, or if you're planning on making some major changes, it's always wise to seek help from a professional architect or interior designer. Alongside their unrivalled expertise in the field, they'll also have access to CAD software that can really bring your ideas to light.
If it’s ideas that you are lacking. visiting nearby office spaces, or searching for inspiration online, is a useful way to ignite a spark and get your new office plans rolling - as is chatting to your employees to see what they'd love the most from their office.
Below, you'll find inspiration from a couple of the most innovative office spaces across the globe.
Located in California, Grupo Gallegos' offices take the idea of an open-plan office to the next level. Designed by Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects, all walls have been removed to encourage 'visual connectivity'. At the heart of this office lies a huge, wide staircase that's known for being the go-to location for informal meetings and spontaneous brainstorms.
At Spotify HQ in NYC, you'll find floor-to-ceiling frames filled with string instead of standard walls. Designed to offer privacy while maintaining an open-plan field, Spotify employees enjoy the best of both worlds - they can enjoy a sense of privacy without feeling completely closed off from the rest of their co-workers.
There are plenty of other inspiring office spaces to discover too, from the Barbarian Group and its unique, 4,400 square foot desk that has space to seat 170 people to Pixar's headquarters in Emeryville that features a huge atrium space to encourage new ideas.
You'll find loads of inspiring co-working spaces right here in the UK as well. In fact, we have an entire guide dedicated to some of the best unqiue co-working spaces in London. Take a look here to learn more.
Here at Workthere, you can browse available serviced office and flexible office spaces across the world that already have amazing breakout spaces or innovative storage solutions built-in. Use our search tool to filter by facilities and find the perfect office for your staff today!