Every office serves multiple purposes and has its own personality. In today’s highly technology-oriented business environment, there is, of course, an emphasis on the use of technology. The highest and best use of technology is what existing and potential employees want to see and feel and it is what existing and potential clients want to see and feel about the enterprises with which they do business. Compare how a client or employee would feel if they worked with an enterprise that did not utilize the best technology versus working with an organization that operates in an environment where staff had access to and can easily benefit from technology.
Does your business have an interior design that maximises the use of technology? Does your business have an interior design that promotes the use of technology? Does your interior design announce to potential and existing clients that you have technology and that you have a space designed to provide the most rapid information and service available? Does your interior office design sell your business?
It has long been acknowledged that an enterprise’s interior design is a reflection of the business. Now, it is also a reflection of the enterprise’s technological savvy.
It has long been acknowledged that an efficient interior design is healthy and productive for employees. Are your employees as healthy and productive as the enterprise requires? Do your clients see your design as a healthy and productive workplace?
One Size Does Not Fit All
There have been numerous studies about spatial usage and its effect on employees. A 2007 study by the Hughes Corporation interviewed about 2,000 employees from a number of industries and many organizations. 90 percent of the participants indicated that the workspace quality affected their attitude and their productivity. However, what one business might consider a functional office design may be very different for another enterprise. Each company’s office design needs are unique.
We now understand that office design incorporates elements of ergonomics, “the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of the interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theoretical principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.”
That is how employees view the workplace and that is how clients view a company’s office space. It would be an error to believe that the company’s brand is not either raised or diminished by the perception and functionality of is workspace.
In fact, a 1999 study conducted by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) demonstrated that the physical workplace design is one of the three most critical factors in determining job performance and job satisfaction. Only 31 percent of workers interviewed reported that their workplace was satisfactory. 50 percent of persons looking for work said they preferred to work in an office that had a good physical environment.
What Makes A Good Design
Given that each office’s needs and each enterprise’s technology are different, and ideally require a customised design, it is interesting what clients and employees regard as indicative of the quality of an enterprise. These interior office design elements ranked high on the list of important factors in the ASID study.
- Air Quality
In 1986, Springer Inc. found that in the insurance industry, “the best ergonomic furniture improved work performance from between 10 and 15 percent.” The importance of these findings should not be overlooked.
The New View of Office Design
Natural light and open space are relatively new elements that have gained much attention in the world of office design. Open space, in particular, is in demand. But, open space work areas can have practical disadvantages. Natural lighting is definitely a health and emotional benefit that increases productivity but designers are challenged to spread the light through the entire space with methods such as glazed partitions. And, some workers do not like the effect of natural light on their computers.
But, while open space may have negative noise and less than optimal air quality repercussions, open space is usually conducive to interaction and teamwork. An important concern when considering open spaces is the industry term “churn rate.”
Churn rate indicates how often an enterprise needs to move their employees and assets around. It is the percentage obtained when the number of moves per year is divided by the total number of offices the enterprise occupies. Churn rate and open office space are two popular 21st century considerations.
Regardless of other considerations, studies indicate that designs that reflect an organisation’s churn rate are sustainable. At the same time, the proper use of open spaces is deemed more productive than smaller spaces. Designers have the tools to counter resistance to open space work areas. If the designer can add natural light into the equation and maximise the effectiveness of the enterprise’s technology, a win-win scenario is created. This is the formula that employers desire. This is the space that employees want to work in and this is the space that customers want to see when they come calling.
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