Unlike residential design space planning which is largely a matter of personal preference — for example, some people like wall-to-wall furniture, others lean towards “less is more” concept — office design space planning is a strategic function, because it impacts everything from real estate costs to worker productivity.
If you’re thinking of refreshing, renovating or re-inventing your environment, here are five best practices to steer you in the right direction:
1. Start by asking “what” instead of “how.”
Instead of limiting your options by trying to grasp how certain improvements can be made, it’s wise to take a step back — typically with the guidance of a design-build partner (more on this below) — to ask what you want to achieve or overcome.
For example, you may want to enable more cross-functional collaboration, or make traffic flows more efficient (this is especially important in medical and dental practices). By asking “what” instead of “how,” you will get a full picture of the possibilities vs. needlessly restrict yourself to limited options.
2. Work with a design-build partner.
A design-build partner takes ownership of both the design aspect (which may involve architectural aspects if structural changes are part of the plan), and the construction aspect (including managing all sub-contractors). In other words: they help you create the vision, and then make it happen on your behalf.
3. Involve staff in the process.
It’s wise to involve staff in the planning process, (either as a whole, or via representatives of different departments or teams), so they can provide relevant input — especially with regards to challenges and issues that they face in the current environment, such as lack of privacy, too much noise, poor lighting, and so on.
Naturally, you cannot create an endless “wish list” and promise to address all issues; especially since not all people will feel the same way about things like temperature, noise levels, and so on. Yet involving staff in the office design space planning dialogue is smart strategy, and it also creates interest and excitement vs. apprehension and worry about the changes.
4. Think ahead.
One of the most critical aspects of effective office design space planning is to solve today’s design-related challenges, but also keep an eye on tomorrow’s needs and goals.
Of course, there is no crystal ball that reveals with precision what the future will hold; heck, even meteorologists with advanced satellite data often get the weather forecast wrong! However, there are times when a business can project with reasonable confidence that it will need (for example) to accommodate 10-15 new staff members in the next 2-3 years. Factoring this into office design space planning will save significant money and time down the road.
5. Enjoy the journey!
Last but certainly not least, office design space planning is all about paving the way for something new and better. Use this opportunity to motivate staff, and to generate buzz and excitement among your customers. For example, you can post photos and updates on your website and social media pages, and send the message that while you’re proud of your past successes, your business’s best days are definitely still ahead!
To learn more about refreshing, renovating or re-inventing your environment, contact the Key Interiors team today. We are design-build experts with more than 30 years of experience, and will guide you every step of the way: from creating your customized office design space plan, to carrying out all work — right down to the last detail. Your consultation with us is free.
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