A company’s culture has always mattered when it comes to designing a new workplace – just ask any of the successful office fit out companies like ourselves currently out there. But these days the culture of an office, and how it affects an office colour scheme, furniture, acoustics, layout etc, is becoming even more of a priority. Most of us have seen the ‘fun’ Google slides by now, after all. To back up our point, a recent study by US management consultants Deloitte, showed that a huge 94 percent of business executives believed having a distinct workplace culture was crucial in helping a business to succeed. The top team were backed up by 88 per cent of employees, who completely agreed.

That employee affirmation in the Deloitte study is important – but not particularly surprising – since workplace culture is responsible for an employee’s happiness at work, as well as how well they engage (both with the work itself and their colleagues). Get those two aspects correct and your staff will be more productive – certainly, that’s what most office fit out companies believe.

Cultivate cosy communal workspace areas

If your company culture is one of collaboration then private spaces are probably more important than having an open floor plan. Private spaces in the form of communal meeting areas with colourful soft seating, such as couches, allow an employee to get away from their desk and talk in a cosy, relaxed atmosphere without feeling the eyes and ears of the whole office are on them.

Integrate your company’s core values

What does your company stand for? As part of the management team you will know, of course. But do all your staff – especially the new starts? Also, what about visitors and all those potential clients that drop in on you and your team from time to time – do they get it right away? To help everyone understand a little more about your company’s values, as well as to reinforce them to staff, it doesn’t do any harm to display it in the office. This could be in terms of literally spelling it out with vinyl lettering or LED neon signs. As one of the leading office fit out companies in Scotland and England, we think this can work particularly well for the right office.

Then again, if you are a company which is all about eco-friendliness and green values then having plenty of plants around (also known as biophilic design) and using sustainable wood where you can, will certainly help signify your core values. That’s because this design style is using natural elements to reflect the outdoors and, at the same time, isn’t ‘stealing’ from nature (but rather, nurturing in terms of the plants) and you are not deliberately harming the environment. On this note, living walls in offices and other buildings have become extremely popular in recent years. This is a great way of introducing living plants in areas that are space-compromised ie the garden grows vertically rather than horizontally so that you still have space for desks, meeting rooms etc.

Get your company’s spirit into design

Is your company young and go-ahead, artistic and expressive or smart and upmarket? Whatever that spirit (atmosphere) is, then it too should be reflected in your office design. Materials, colour, textures and whether or not you’re talking about straight lines or curves and minimalist or inventive office furniture – all this has to be carefully considered before any of the top office fit out companies will even begin to plan out an office fit-out.

Working nature of employees

These days it is not uncommon to have hot desks with employees working remotely a couple of days a week or more. If this involves regularly tele-conferences back in the office then this is obviously something that needs to be integral to your office design. And that means separate smaller rooms to ensure privacy (rather than communal areas). Are there are IT solutions you are also dependent on, such as smart screens, access to CAD design packages etc? Then this too needs to be considered in terms of space and layout.

More collaborative – and active – working techniques

Creative offices in particular often brainstorm. But it’s not always necessary to have a particular meeting space to do this- especially if it’s a project the team are working on that isn’t going to be finished in a matter of hours or even days. As a result, some offices facilitate moving around by hanging huge white boards which can be added to as the project moves along, with different staff members adding their own contribution over time. Management then makes it deliberately impossible for team members to simply send their contribution via email (ie they have to physically get up and add it). Often this will prompt others to arrive and a discussion to take place in front of the white board.

This doesn’t only lead to more collaborative working because it forces employees to work together, but it is also healthier for the employee because there is less sitting at a desk staring into a screen. It also happens to be a more mentally stimulating way of working for team members.

Office Design Trends

Level of noise your ‘enthusiastic’ employees provide

If your company office is loud and energetic it may prove stimulating and energising most of the time. But there are definitely periods where it’s going to become wearisome. And that where you need quiet break-out areas where your employee – or several of them at a time – can go and regroup. Again, small rooms or pods are good for this. And the latter hardly take up any space; a lot less than a room would and their circular design in the centre of a room can add a feeling of freedom and spontaneity to a design any office fit out companies worth their salt will confirm. Some companies have even gone so far as to have a meditation room for employees, while others host lunchtime yoga sessions in what was once the boardroom.

Other design aspects that matter to your employees

These days many millennials and Generation Z employees expect storage space for their bikes. Some enlightened companies do more than this and even install showers for those cycling to and from the office (encouraging staff to cycle gets them ‘green’ points too). Even having enough coffee stations – and the type of coffee you provide – can make a big difference. And what about a space in the office that no-one is allowed to enter if they’re using headphones and subjecting everyone else there trying to work to that annoying ‘tinny’ din you get on the tube all the time? Who was it said it’s ‘the little things that really matter?’

Get in touch to chat with us about your office design

If you are currently considering a change of design direction for your office right now, but aren’t sure which of the UK office fit out companies to turn to then do give ourselves at Steampunk a call. We will be delighted to chat over your plans with you and, at the same time, mull over a few ideas. You can call us today on 0800 197 2922 or email us via our website – where you will find many past projects listed – at www.steampunkfitout.co.uk