A lot of us spend more waking hours in our office than we do in our homes. It’s where we fight for market share, pursue business opportunities, and realize our dreams. The most productive offices typically balance the comforts of home with a professional business image.
Chances are, your office could use some fine-tuning. Whether you’re just getting started with a new office space or looking for tips to perk up an existing space, we have come up with some important things to consider to help you get started on a positive work environment.
Make First Impressions Count
When you spend every day working in an office, it’s easy to forget the same space appears to others, therefore it is a good idea to put yourself in the shoes of a first-time visitor: What does your office say about your company? Does it present a consistent image? Does it reflect a healthy, active business? Is it both a practical work space and a welcoming environment for visitors and colleagues?
Setting aside some time in a week to keep things tidy, purchasing new plants or investing in a fresh coat of paint will ensure that first-time visitors see your office the way you want them to see it, and make a pleasant environment for you and your colleagues to work in.
Working in Colour
Think of your office as the clothes you wear to work — you want your office decor to project a certain corporate image, in line with the image of your company as a whole. For example, if you’re a lawyer or an accountant, your office should reflect a certain level of professionalism, which is usually done with dark, rich wood furnishing such as mahogany. On the other hand if you work for a multimedia, graphic design or advertising firm, your office is expected to reflect a more artistic, creative aesthetic. Either way, make a deliberate decision about your office decor — don’t just accept whatever was there when you moved in.
At the same time, think about how to incorporate your company’s branding into your office decor. Consider where and how to use your business name or logo, and decide whether it’s appropriate to hang a sign outside your office. Decisions on where to put your logo and paint choice can have a powerful psychological impact when potential customers or clients come.
Look for Cost-Effective Office Furniture Alternatives
The office-supply store is not always the best place to buy office furniture. Even buying furniture from a “discount” store can set your business back thousands of dollars. Leasing furniture may sound like an easy option, but it can be even more expensive than buying new furniture.
Instead, consider acquiring office furniture one piece at a time rather than as a set. By purchasing single pieces with a similar style and colours, you’ll have more options for buying furniture — and nobody is likely to notice the difference. Purchasing individual pieces also allows you to match different colours and textures.
Add the Power of Art to your Office
It’s not just a pretty thing or a nice-to-have. Regardless of your industry, artwork can show your customers that you are professional and fully capable of assisting them with their needs. Placing artwork in hallways and other common areas can be inspiring to your employees or colleagues as well. Exciting and fun artwork stimulates creativity and helps to foster motivation.
You don’t have to go out on an extravagant spree to get started. Photographs, prints and posters can be dressed up quite nicely with matting, glass, and a frame. Start with one or two, and add something new every year.
One way to start thinking about what type of art to purchase is to choose a theme that relates to your business, surroundings, community interests and values. For example, if you are in the medical profession, then you may want to choose “healing” artwork to provide a calm and serene atmosphere for your patients. A theme guides your purchases and gives meaning and impact to your result.
Another way is to consider the impact of colours. If you are in an environment where the employee’s well being is a priority and you want them to be comfortable and have a sense of calm, then use brown in the artwork. Brown says stability as well as suggesting a sense of order. In contrast the more vivid colours, orange, evokes energy and spontaneity. So, use orange for a call center where you need your employees to be energetic and upbeat.
Design and decorate your office as a way to make the time spent working indoors a little more enjoyable and stress-free, but always remember to keep it professional and remain within the corporate image of your company. The more you enjoy your office, the more you’ll want to be there.