A city has a life, a spirit, and a personality all of its own. Where office rents are sky-high and start-up companies live and die on a weekly basis, designing a successful commercial workspace is about so much more than looks.
Successful commercial businesses fit out their offices with not just aesthetics in mind, but with ambiance at heart.
A workplace shouldn’t be satisfied with just looking good, but with creating an environment of enhanced dynamic and design. It has to actually feel like a better place to work, both to the customers and external stakeholders, and to the internal staff.
This is achieved by consulting with an interior designer who will take the time to understand the business on another level. The feel of an office will come from the physical embodiment of the culture, core values and mission of the workplace, as well as from the styles and needs of the workers there.
Good designs reflect the character of the business in the practical environment. This feeling encourages customers and investors, and makes workers feel more comfortable and appropriately inspired. You are more likely to attract the right staff, encourage them to their full potential, and get them to stay.
This includes office space and flow, colour scheme, meeting and communal spaces, and promotion of quiet high-thinking areas, but also includes basic creature comforts like natural light, plants and water, sound, body temperature, and how people sit or stand to work.
It also involves creating the most efficient use of time, by making meeting and collaboration space available at optimal times, and offering individual workers the flexible workstations that will encourage them the most.
If you position your style to reflect current trends or seasonal looks, it will date. If you position it to reflect the personal mission of the business, this will be much more stable, more original, and more likely to stand the test of time.
Co-working spaces are the present and the future
The workplace has become a more relaxed and flexible environment, and contrary to what traditional offices would have you think, worker productivity is booming as a result.
Better office design encourages social interaction, open sharing of ideas, and opportunities for networking and inspiration. SMEs are utilising business relationships to develop their strengths and their reach, and are more efficiently using space and money at the same time.
So, how can we achieve this in Sydney?
While it is easy to do lip service to a lot of the concepts we are talking about, actually delivering on the goods is another thing altogether.
It is not just a matter of brightly coloured receptions with mini cafes and communal foosball tables; it is the ability to design a workplace that promotes potential and loyalty in customers and staff. Its not just about an environment of being hip and flexible, its coming through with a genuine and tangible ‘great place to work’. And this is much harder to produce that it is to define, but you know it when you experience it, and a good interior designer should be able to help you find it.
This can mean taking some of the following steps when you are designing your optimal workspace:
- Design for performance first, rather than planning for location, budget or market availability
- Involving a lot more people at a lot more levels in the planning and design process
- Removing hierarchy and implementing instead philosophies of harmony, intuitiveness and functionality
- Including in your design scheme minimalist concepts like adaptable furniture, hidden storage and wireless connectivity. At a base level this makes the office more pleasing to the eye, and encourages people to work.
- Thinking outside the box when planning for the best use of a space, and coming up with more than one concept where possible; there could always be a better way to do something
- Having the guts to be innovative, unique and a bit courageous in your design thinking.
With office rents at ridiculous levels, you need to create the most flexible and efficient use of your space that you can. This can be a tricky balance of using every available space, while at the same time opening up flow of energy and light and reducing clutter.
With the rise of eCommerce and other online businesses, where you physically locate your office is less important than what it feels like to work there.
Sydney landlords are leading the way in offering better workplace options, such as flexible co-working spaces and activity-based working. Workers don’t have possession of specific offices or desks, but have the space they need to do their job when and how they need it.
Because you are very unlikely as a worker to do the one task over and over all day long, your workspace should be designed for tasks rather than individual roles. Designing your commercial office in this way allows you to move, create, collaborate and grow.