For office buildings undergoing a redecoration or refit, we have more and more often encountered the desire to make a space more social. Why should this be, for a working environment?
Well, increasingly organisations are coming to appreciate the benefits of balance for their employees. This partly comes from an organisation’s corporate culture, which should be supported through the building layout itself. An office is no longer just an office, it is a flexible space to work, meet and inspire creative ideas. So how can you make your office more social?
Clear the clutter
Tidy desk, tidy mind, goes the train of thought. However, decluttering is more than a dictatorial policy against stuff! It can be counteractive to prevent people from personalising their working space. Instead, allow the time for regular de-cluttering initiatives. This can help everyone in an office feel more focussed and less overwhelmed. Indeed, the process itself is often an opportunity for your staff to communicate in a relaxed environment. For people to maintain a decluttered working space there must be adequate storage around the office. Bespoke storage solutions that utilise space efficiently are a wonderful investment here and support workers to control clutter.
Colours and words
The most social colours to consider when redecorating your office are from a warm palette. So, yellows and oranges. These colours inspire creativity and positivity. Where red is a strong colour that is often associated with taking action, it can appear aggressive. If you use colour to support the social aspects of your office, don’t overdo it. There’s no need to have your entire office painted orange from floor to ceiling! Graphics and words that support your corporate mission are a great way to introduce social colours. Many tech organisations even commission murals within a colour scheme to create depth and creativity in a space.
Increasing your use of glass within an office decoration or fit out will aid the dispersal of natural light across the space. This is where an open plan layout is wonderful and encourages staff wellbeing. However, unless you plan to ditch your roof entirely you will need artificial light. Flexible LED lighting solutions can offer a variety of brightness and colour to change the feel of a space depending on how it is being used. Lighting and projection facilities can turn a cafeteria space into a seminar space at the flick of a switch!
Using light, then, can support the increasing practice among corporates of using their office space flexibly. There is no need to structure your office layout to include separate and distinct working, meeting and kitchen areas. More meeting room space is a priority for many organisations. Increasingly, then, social spaces that incorporate meeting facilities are the popular choice to present to visiting clients ahead of traditional meeting rooms and boardrooms. Kitchenette pods within open plan desk areas allow for casual meetings to take place, while booths can offer a bit more privacy for smaller meetings. These spaces encourage departments to mingle, whilst maintaining distinct boundaries.
Allow for Privacy
Having some level of partition and the scope for privacy is just as important in making staff feel comfortable in their working environment. Sometimes, an occasion requires complete privacy and, in this case, an enclosed meeting room is the only solution. That doesn’t go to say that this should be the only function of the space of course. It could also be the location for Friday afternoon cake and tea! The important aspect in creating a balanced and social space, then, is laying out the office so that it can be used in a huge variety of ways.
Soft offices are on the up! Many office designers furnish breakout areas and meeting pods with high backed sofas and cushioned seating. This furniture is inviting to use and encourages staff across departments to use the space to exchange ideas. Bespoke meeting pods and booths can be designed to reinforce your organisation’s brand in shape and colour. In this way, the social aspects of the space help to create a feeling of unity among those using that space.
Laying out and designing your office with social capabilities in mind can help your organisation to work efficiently. Far from detracting from work, creating an office environment in which colleagues are comfortable to integrate and share creative ideas has fantastic benefits for a growing corporation.