When it comes to office design, viewpoints can vary on everything from how space should be used, to wall covering materials and colors, to open vs. closed workspaces, and the list goes on. This divergence of opinion is positive and should be encouraged, and can be one of the most interesting aspects of the entire office design process.
Indeed, most people do not fully realize or appreciate just how many variables are involved in the office design process until they step back, and start brainstorming and analyzing. A seemingly simple and straightforward discussion can – and usually does — quickly turn into a series of passionate debates! After all, everyone has an opinion on what they want the work environment to look and feel like; especially since the average employee in the U.S. spends 34.4 hours a week at work, and 40 percent spend employees spend over 50 hours a week a work.
The good news is that businesses do not need to rely on subjective or arbitrary criterion when making office design decisions. That is because Harvard Business Review has highlighted 7 attributes of workspaces to assist businesses in identifying their preferred way of working before they launch an office design:
- Location: the extent to which the office design is accessible.
- Enclosure: the extent to which the office design is enclosed (e.g. walls, ceilings, doors, etc.)
- Exposure: the extent to which the office design provides privacy (both visual and acoustic)
- Technology: the extent to which the office design features high-tech or low-tech tools.
- Temporality: the extent to which the office design encourages staff or visitors to linger.
- Perspective: the extent to which the office design focuses a person’s attention.
- Size: the extent to which the office design uses the available square footage.
There is no right or ideal placement on the spectrum for any of these attributes. In other words, a business may decide that with respect to exposure, it is best to have a highly public environment. Or, it may decide that a significantly private environment is optimal (or may be necessary to comply with regulations, best practices, etc.).
The point of this list of attributes, is simply to ensure that employees and executives cover all of the bases when it comes to making office design decisions – since some aspects may be more readily apparent than others, or simply dominate more of the discussion. This approach also sheds light on how integrated the process is. For example, opting for an environment that discourages lingering (i.e. a low degree of temporality) may impact the degree of enclosure and/or location, and trigger adjustments in those areas.
Ultimately, the goal is to find the right mix and balance. No, not everyone is likely to have all of their preferences reflected in the final design. But with the right approach and process, the office design will be a success that supports employees, impresses customers, and enhances the bottom-line. Everyone wins!
To learn more about developing your customized office design plan, and for expert step-by-step support on how to make informed and rewarding decisions that make sense now and into the future, contact the Key Interiors team today. Your consultation with us is free.