Creating vibrant and playful offices is a tactic often-employed by the likes of Google to recruit and retain talent and there’s no doubt that Google manages to maintain this consistency through other strands of its workplace strategy.
But many companies make a mistake of just following the Google approach blindly and creating a space that not only might not work for their employees but can also give the wrong impression to their customers. There’s no point filling your boardroom walls with crazy-coloured graffiti if this doesn’t say anything about or to your staff and company culture.
It’s important that the culture and vision of a company is well integrated into any office design, says Harsha Kotak, design manager at K2 Space. A great example of this is K2 Space’s recent News UK building, whose graphics incorporating the organisation’s brand values cover internal walls and glass. Says Kotak, “When we completed the refurbishment of their new office the feedback we got from the client was ‘our staff feel proud to work in our new space’.”
A good office design can reinforce the qualities of a company’s products or service to their customer as well as their employees. Visitors should be able to understand what your company is all about from the second they set foot in the building.
“Not only does the office design reflect the culture of a company but also shows the direction in which the company is heading,” says Kotak, “attracting and retaining suitable staff is a challenge which every company faces today and a lot of this has to do with brand perception.”
And it’s really crucial that a workplace design isn’t set in stone. “Design should support an ever-changing work landscape,” says Kotak, “otherwise it can become stagnant and this can similarly create a bad impression, not to mention have an impact on growth and productivity.”
The fact is that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t acceptable and a more flexible space that can mould itself to staff is preferable. Your bright green foyer might have the wow factor and create an immediate good impression but, says Kotak,
“Employees can build or break the reputation of any company, so their wellbeing and comfort should be of utmost importance.”
As well as demonstrating to your staff and clients that you’re not looking to the future, by embracing, or not moving on from, last year’s office trends you are in danger of making yourself look out of touch than if you’d never even bothered to have a refurb in the first place.
For example, says Kotak, “Open-plan fixed benching systems will soon become redundant as more and more companies are adapting to the concept of ‘non-assigned’ desking and hot-desking. As the trend to ‘work from anywhere’ grows, many workplaces are starting to exhibit characteristics of a domicile – a more relaxed and more congenial space.”