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Can Good Office Design Really Boost Business?

People are spending more and more time at work with Britons on average using 35% of their waking hours in the office, so it is crucial to keep employees motivated whilst incorporating the latest design trends to any work space. As understanding of cognitive behaviour at work develops, we see new methods of working being introduced and with this comes new and innovative office design.

Managing Director of DV8 Designs Lee Birchall discusses what design elements are taken into consideration to enhance productivity and create a modern business space that will stand out from the crowd and become a unique selling point in its own right.

Lee said: “There is no denying that office space has come a long way since the basic and uninspiring set ups that we were familiar with just 20 years ago. Following the likes of global giants such as Google and Facebook, more and more companies recognise that the working environment can have a huge impact of staff and in turn affects productivity and motivation. As a result, we have seen the world of work undergo a design makeover. It is not uncommon for businesses to put a significant budget behind developing or regenerating office space, hoping to achieve something practical yet totally unique that adds yet another talking point to their offering.

“Creating flexible working space is key for me as a designer. Before my team goes to the drawing board with design concepts it is paramount to really get to grips with the space itself and think ergonomically about how best to adapt it to suit the needs of the business. This could be something as simple as changing office configuration or it could be structural to add smaller areas for individual or group work for example.

“Multi-Zonal working spaces are in huge demand and we recently completed a project which centred around creating adaptable areas to accommodate different styles of working including isolated working, training and briefings through to idea sharing areas. The design brief specified that the space should promote the development of staff and for this reason we wanted to create an open plan feel to enhance communication and create a community feel. Subtle or even removable partitions are a great way to create zones whilst being as unrestrictive as possible, encouraging open working especially within a large team.

“Breakout space can almost be classed as a necessity in any 21st century office environment. Although in terms of design, breakout spaces can vary significantly, it is simply an area where staff can escape from their desk to refuel and unwind. Taking breaks has been proven to boost productivity and some of our previous projects have seen us create the likes of games rooms including pool tables and sofas through to open spaces that bring the outside in with the use of greenery, creating a sense of tranquillity within a high-charged environment. Combining traditional desk space with more quirky areas not only enhances the experience for employees but has proven benefits across the board in terms of wellbeing and social interaction.

“One of the key factors that I consider as a designer is looking at the purpose of the space and adapting the design to maximise this. An example of this includes a recent project with YKK Group, whereby we created a suitable area for clients to visit the site for business meetings. As a talking point we added a showcase of products to invite customers to really engage with their surroundings – including unique touches such as this adds interest and dimension to any design. This space is now affectionately known as ‘The Meeting Place’ which perfectly captures the modern and innovative ethos of the company.

“Many business owners want their office space to reflect the company’s image which is why it is crucial to align the design to the brand, ensuring a level of consistency that makes it instantly recognisable to clients and customers whilst still using a clean and minimal colour palette to enhance productivity. Bold strident colour schemes are always effective, and we have in the past used a defined colour scheme to separate workspace areas from breakout areas, with the introduction of natural materials such as timber and stone to add subtle contrast to the overall aesthetics. It is important to consider that the reception area will be the first point of interaction for staff and visitors alike and so this area can afford to be more vibrant to create a memorable first impression.

“Businesses want to create a lasting impression with their clients and we have been involved in some fantastic projects that have certainly created a talking point from a design perspective.”