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The 10 office design rules.

 1. Invest time in the design process

The most effective workspaces don’t begin with great furniture, they begin with great design. Getting to know your client and their needs is the first step designers should take. Poor design choices can be detrimental to staff productivity. That cannot be fixed with fancy furniture. Good design streamlines workflow, improves productivity and efficiency and encourages collaboration. It also helps you to recruit and retain great people. It should give your company a unique competitive advantage in the marketplace. That doesn’t happen on accident, it happens because of the thought you put into it on the front end.

2. Involve staff

Design isn’t just about aesthetics. Depending on the size and culture of the company it can be very useful to create a small project group where each department is represented by someone. This will put all different needs on the table. Team collaboration, traffic flow or privacy needs can be fully understood. This information is crucial to the architect but also creates understanding within the company between different departments. Design is all about the perception of the ones working in it. When involved in the process, they are more likely to be at ease in the design.

3. Unforgettable entrance and good coffee

Small waiting rooms and uncomfortable chairs, the entrance of your company is the first thing your clients see. The famous important first impression. Make sure it’s unforgettable. While the entrance is the first thing they see, the coffee is the first thing they will get. Make sure that the coffee they will get is just as impressive.

4. Create balance

If you want happy employees that stay productive, you need to create both private as well as open spaces. More and more research has shown that facilitating collaboration opportunity is the most important thing you can do as an employer. Informal spaces boost productivity. After being concentrated fixing complicated issues, fresh ideas come when you meet people, have informal chats and feel relaxed.

5. Do not copy designs

Companies like Apple or Google have great looking offices. Maybe you are so impressed with it, you would like to have the same. But every company has its own culture. Respect that. There is no guarantee that their great design will work for your company. Follow your own vision and add some self-reflection. It will turn out to be very useful.

6. Plan for the future

New technologies or new staff. Your company will keep on changing. Make sure you think properly ahead: is all that storage space in the future still needed? A new change also means you can break bad old habits.

7. Mind the acoustics

A design should be made not only with your eyes but also with your ears. Bad acoustics are often the culprit in many unsuccessful workplace design projects. Many designers underestimate the importance of sound absorbing materials. They choose beauty over functionality. Studies show that once distracted, it can take 23 minutes for the average worker to regain concentration on a task. Now I think there is nothing pretty about that!

8. The experience of space

Of course there are rules and regulations about how much space an employee should get. But the experience of space is far more important than the regulations or the factual space. Make sure there is enough space throughout the whole office! Nothing so annoying as coming out of your big office bumping into your colleague in a cramped hallway. The perceived space dictates the needed space.

9. Project management is a pre

A sharp eye on budget, planning and coordination is crucial for the final result. Whether you want to be fully updated about the process or not, always make sure there is a hands on, problem solving, assertive project manager involved. It will save you lots of headaches!

10. Manage expectations

Last but not least: pick two.