Where to start with updating your office design

The thought of an office renovation is daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

So where do you start? How to do you decide what level of renovation you want or need to do?

A great place to start is to walk into your office as though it was the first time you have ever been there. Try to look at your space through the eyes of someone visiting for the first time. See it as if you were a prospective client who is forming an opinion of you and your business and whether or not they want to work with you.

Take a notepad with you, and as you walk through the front door, ask yourself these questions:

1) Is your company’s brand reflected in that important first impression?

2) Is your logo visible and reinforcing your brand presence?

3) Is there a clear understanding of where to go and who to speak with?

4) Is each area clear of clutter?

5) Are your cables showing?

6) Is your office clean and fresh smelling?

7) Is the lighting bright and inviting?

8) Is the furniture dated?

9) Is there visible wear and tear?

10) Is your overall impression impressive?

Now visit every room in your office and ask yourself these questions. If these are too hard to answer objectively, ask your newest employee to answer these questions on your behalf.

Here are a few tips on how to address each point:

Is your company’s brand reflected in that important first impression?

Infusing your branding colours within the space often has a big impact. This can be done by using paint, shapes, and office furniture. Office furniture comes in a variety of colours, textures, fabrics, and materials, and by integrating these into your space, you are committing to your brand and reinforcing it throughout. This is also helpful for employees to be reminded of the brand and what it means to be a part of the team.

Is your logo visible and reinforcing your brand presence?

You don’t need to have your logo plastered everywhere within your office space for it to be an effective part of incorporating your brand into the decor. Having it displayed in the main entrance is key and it can be nice to see it in a hallway or boardroom. You can also have some fun with it such as creating a custom wall covering with a visual from the logo. This emphasizes the logo without having it dominate.

Is there a clear understanding of where to go and who to speak with?

There is nothing worse than walking into an office and having to figure out where to go and to whom you should speak. Introducing wayfinding signage is a great option where needed or you can visually lead someone to the right path by using lighting, a floor design, or a path. Such helpful additions will immediately develop trust and confidence in your visitors. If you have a reception desk, make sure that it is visible and clear of clutter.

Is each area clear of clutter?

There are lots of things you can do to immediately spruce up your space before you start planning your renovation. When you’re busy working, paperwork and personal items can start to pile up. It happens to everyone in any business. It’s important to make sure that those piles get cleaned up regularly, or it snowballs and too much clutter can negatively impact your culture. People start to care less about putting things away and as it worsens, it gives visitors the impression that your company is disorganized and this is not an impression any business wants. There are so many creative, colourful storage solutions for office spaces. They not only create a place for things to be stored, but they also reinforce your brand. If there isn’t an intentional place for something, it will be left somewhere and most likely not where you want it.

Are your cables showing?

As an extension of controlling your clutter, consider your cable management. Technology is a wonderful contribution to how we do business, but it tends to produce a tangled mass of cables hanging from every surface. This makes it hard for people to maintain their space and creates visual clutter immediately. Many office furniture solutions incorporate cable management so that you can have cables running across the floor and make it almost entirely seamless.

Is your office clean and fresh smelling?

Keeping your space clean and tidy at all times is so important. Make sure the floors are clean, storage units are wiped, and everything smells fresh. Some offices have been in the same location for so long the people in the space get used to smells that are potentially off-putting for a new visitor. Make sure the windows are clean, the plants are alive, the carpets vacuumed, and the garbage is regularly removed. An outdated space that is neat and clean is immediately more impressive than an updated space this is full of mess and clutter.

Is the lighting bright and inviting?

The right lighting solution is not only welcoming, but it can also make your team happier, healthier, and more effective. Office lighting should be in the 3500K to 4000K colour temperature range to create a bright environment and reduce the potential for fatigue and headaches in the people who work there. It’s also best to keep the colour temperature consistent — if it differs from room to room, it creates an uneasy feeling. Fixtures that flicker and burned out bulbs should also be replaced to ensure every area is well-lit for the tasks at hand.

Is the furniture dated?

It can be hard to justify replacing a piece of furniture that still “works” simply because it is dated, but sometimes it’s necessary to keep your brand and corporate culture up to date. If your brand colours are blue, white, and orange and your office furniture is dark brown, you have a disconnect. Dated pieces can take up more physical space than is necessary, while smaller, more practical multi-functional office furniture allows you to create spaces that will be used more often, in more ways, opening up possibilities for more collaboration, increased productivity, and great ideas. And your older furniture need not go to waste. There are many not-for-profits to which you can donate furniture that is in good shape and fully functional.

Is there visible wear and tear?

Wear and tear happen, especially in an office environment, so a certain amount is generally accepted. But at some point, that tired appearance starts to reflect on your brand, whether it’s floors, walls, or especially furniture. Contract furniture (proper office furniture) is tested in an office environment and should hold up to daily tasks for up to ten years. Much of that furniture is warrantied and can even be replaced at no additional cost if it doesn’t last as long as it should. Once a piece has seen its day, replace it. This will keep your overall space looking updated and well-kept and will also encourage employees to take care of their environment as it’s easy to be less concerned about upkeep when a piece starts to show its age.

Is your overall impression impressive?

As Interior Designers, we love to be able to go into a space, look at the floor plan, and rethink the layout and flow to make it work better for your business today and tomorrow. Not every space needs to have a complete overhaul, but every space should be evaluated annually. As your business grows, it changes, and your office design needs to reflect this progress. Little details can make a big difference. You have an impressive business, you have an impressive team, so make your office just as impressive.

Let us be your fresh eyes — we can be the ones to do a walkthrough and make a list of things that need attention. We can help incorporate your brand into your space using a multitude of creative solutions and help update your office furniture, including seating, desks, and storage. We also have creative solutions for lighting dilemmas and acoustic challenges. 

Give us a call to talk about how we can help kickstart your start your office renovation.