RSS

Tag Archives: Office

There Is No ‘I’ In ‘Space’

Open office design has become mainstream enough to have its own Wikipedia page (no, really) and it has been around since the 1950s, rapidly popularized in the authority-challenging 1960s and growing ever since. Yet supports still approach open design with new eyes, and that all-is-new perspective is apparent in Alexandra Levit’s article on ways to use open office design to map corporate culture.

She hits on some familiar themes:

  • Open designs help “relax hierarchies.”
  • Having low or no cubicle walls improves “collaboration” so “people will naturally connect with one another.”
  • Technology is important to provide a platform for efficiency.
  • Design all spaces as if customers will see them, especially in considering natural light and “pleasing colors.”

What’s interesting is a project she uses as an illustration – Deloitte’s new-ish (2011) campus in tiny Westlake, Texas, a project she calls “controversial.” The project was a massive one – a training center sprawling over 350 rooms and costing over $300 million, nestled in the foothills of Tarrant County. While close to DFW Airport, Westlake itself has fewer than 1000 residents, while the hotel center along employs over 500 people and sees an anticipated 45,000 people per year. The controversy wasn’t about the design of the space – it was about the necessity of the space.

Deloitte social spaceA Forbes article about the Deloitte campus said that the campus design was so effective because “learning represents the strategy of the company.” The article – proposition about looking at office design as “I” and “we” spaces – then points to a massive wall of screens with associate-driven media and a person-tracker as a way of creating a giant “we” space, a communal, collaborative zeitgeist.

But is that really it?

Deloitte created a training facility, and the idea behind a lot of the designs appears to be ways to create a team spirit while associates are at training that will energize them at their daily work. In other words, it is very similar to the bulletin board in a schoolroom, surrounded by students’ artwork. It does create a sense of unity and team work, an “us” mentality, but with a very specific scope. It is a transient community space, one that only lasts for the time people are at the training.

Would that kind of “we” space work in real life? Because the Deloitte facility is decidedly not “real life,” even for Deloitte employees.

The Deloitte facility is highly effective because it reinforces a core strategy (as the Forbes article notes) – learning is their core corporate value. Dedicating resources and providing a lush environment for training emphasizes how important it is to their employees. It is truly form following function. The design flourishes – the wall of screens, the associate finder, the tech-forward training centers – provide a collaborative space that is tuned toward a very narrow focus. It is full-immersion in corporate culture.

I have a sense that level of “we” space design wouldn’t work, not in most places. It would be too overwhelming, too much “we” and not enough autonomy. I stumbled on another article at Recruiter.com[5] about ways to attract and retain employees with office design. It’s based on the results of several different university and industry surveys – and almost nothing in there relates to an open design to improve collaboration. Three of the six points deal with letting people select and design their private workspaces. The top priority is flex-scheduling and the ability to telecommute. Another one is simply having comfortable chairs.

In other words, when they’re asked what they actually want, employees don’t list “collaboration” and “innovative design.” They want privacy and comfortable chairs. It’s simple.

One idea that jumped out at me in the “I” and “we” spaces article – and I hope it’s something that is explored and expanded elsewhere – is the idea of designing collaborative spaces around projects rather than people. Instead of having Conference Room A or Open Design Area B, create a specific space for a specific project, so that everyone working on that project has a consistent place they can meet, collaborate as needed, create group materials, and pool resources. That seems like a way to truly inspire innovation and collaboration, of creating a “we” space, while preserving the privacy and sense of personal ownership and comfort that is actually critical to employee happiness.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned

About the Author: For over 35 years, David Johnson has worked in small and large corporate environments, focusing on marketing, strategy, employee productivity, interior design, and management techniques. Now, he works with office design, productivity, and ergonomics. He writes regularly on business sites related to office culture, communication, and design. You can follow him on Twitter (@bizoutfitter) Google+ or check out his conferenceroomoutfitters offfice furniture website.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

How To Impress Clients With An Up-To-Date Office Workspace

office

Image by blupics

First impressions are everything.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
And so on…

These well-known adages reinforce the importance of creating a positive image of yourself (and business) right from the off. In an increasingly competitive market, you must look as professional as possible to secure business deals – remember: there will always be another company ready to take on a deal you can’t clinch. Transforming your office into a stylish, tidy, and polished space can improve important client relationships no end.

Read on to discover what improvements you can make to your office today and identify just how they can benefit your business.

Your Office as a Reflection of your Mind and Capabilities

Ever heard that saying that a tidy office equals a tidy mind? Walking into a well-organised and professional space is without a doubt the best first impression you can have of a potential business contact. Knowing that you’re capable of maintaining order in your surroundings creates a sense of responsibility and can go some way to reassuring a client you are reliable and will get the job done.

What Do Your Design Choices Say About You?

In terms of the décor, it’s said that less is always more. However, having blank walls with no personality can look very bland and corporate, even suggesting you lack imaginative flair. Conversely, extreme decorations or gaudy colour schemes aren’t going to work in your favour or create a relaxing business environment. Creating a balance of professionalism and creativity could just manage to seal the deal – bear that in mind when choosing your new office scheme.

Show Your Client Just What You Can Do

Having a well-kept workspace is all well and good, but often clients will want proof of your achievements before they contemplate doing business with you. Having displays of your work in your office not only demonstrates your capabilities, but also shows that you take a sense of pride in meeting customers’ needs and expectations – it goes without saying that this can only promote your business image.

Taking (Tolerable) Pride in Your Achievements

Showcasing any awards or accolades you have received over the years is also a good way of reinforcing a sense of trust and professionalism. That said, there is a fine line between being proud of your achievements in a positive sense and being slightly too cocky or distastefully arrogant. Being confident is in no way a negative trait but displaying accolades in such a fashion that you seem a tad showy is not going to reassure a prospective client that you will be easy to work with.

Create the Perfect Business Conference Room

Calm and professional discussions should always be the aim of a meeting; therefore it is essential to incorporate a quiet place for negotiations in your office. Trying to talk business in a hectic environment with employees running here, there, and everywhere is hardly the polished impression you wish to create. Similarly, there should be minimal distractions so that the focus of your potential client remains on you and the task in hand.

Not only can the perfect office space improve client relations but it also provides you with a clutter-free area in which to work in a calm environment – ideal when those everyday stresses start to get you down.

Organise your office and improve your chances of success – what are you waiting for?

Have you noticed that an impressive office has helped with client relations? Would you agree that a tidy workplace is so vital? Share your comments and opinions below!

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

Jade is an enthusiastic freelance blogger who enjoys writing on topics including travel, languages and the world around her. She writes for Applied Workplace.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Design An Office To Reflect Your Business

kimball-18So, you’ve set up your business and managed to bag your first bit of commercial space – it is a very exciting time! However, now you face the melodrama of having to decide how to decorate your office.

Do you go traditional? Do you go minimalist? Do you go quirky? Firstly, it is essential that your office reflects your business’ interests and values, in order to create a professional and exciting place to be.

Your working environment must be comfortable, but also set the tone for your brand and your work ethic – it should reflect your brand and its identity and values.

Even if you’re in a rented place, there are things that you can change or play around with to give it that personal touch, without having to change anything permanent. Especially if your budget is particularly low, you could work with the smaller accessories such as lamps and cushions to create a co-ordinated look.

Colour scheme is extremely important when it comes to reflecting your brand throughout the design of your office. The colour scheme of your office should follow the same guidelines as the colour scheme of your brand – one key colour and one accent colour.

If you have not yet developed your branding greatly, then perhaps select neutral colours that will work with any colours. If you are an edgy agency, perhaps opt for a colour that is in complete contrast to your main branding colour – this shows that you are not scared of being different, creative and quirky.

Usually pre-installed carpets and furnishings will be quite a neutral colour, as will computer hardware. Try to match all exterior and interior signs to maintain a constant sense of styling.

This constant sense of styling should match the outlook of your business:

If you want your company to feel traditional and friendly, steer clear of minimalist, clinical styles and go for warm colours and neutral furniture that’s easy on the eye.

If your business is quirky and modern, then opt for eye-catching furnishings and odd colours – push the boundaries!

Ensuring that your office reflects your business will allow staff to feel as though they are really part of an exciting, well-put-together brand when they come into work. This will then boost their morale and approach to work, which increase productivity!

Metre Squared Interiors is an office fit out company in London with a team of professionals dedicated to making whatever you require happen.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

How To Create An Office That Will Make You Money

money-changing-handsWhen considering redesigning your office or buying a new one completely, you may get a little overwhelmed by quite how much it’s all going to cost.

The price of hiring a professional to help you do the best job possible, as well as the materials, labour and admin costs can all add up.

However, there is not enough emphasis put on the importance of a well-designed office – the costs of redesigning or moving offices can actually create profitability in the long run…

Not only will a modern, unique office show clients and staff that you care about the environment in which you work, but it will also show that you are responsive to current trends and understand today’s market.

Having a new and modern office design will also boost staff morale and allow staff to feel as though they are part of a brand.

So, what do you need to consider when designing an office, in order to make it profitable?

Lighting

Lighting is a great way of creating an illusion of space, but can also act as decoration for your office. A bright-coloured, oversized or unique lamp is a great way of adding a quirky edge to your office design and could act as a conversation starter when you invite clients into the office for a meeting.

Window shopping

The general rule is that you should never leave your windows bare, traditionally you should have some sort of blinds or curtains up. However, a new trend of bare windows has come into fashion, creating more of an industrial look. If you are conscious about having bare windows, however, you can opt for quirky blinds or curtain, but keep them light coloured to allow natural light to easily shine through.

Art

No office is complete without a piece of art. Whether it’s a print or an original, no wall should be left bare without a piece of art. Again, art is a great conversation starter and talking point that people will always have an opinion on.

All the small things…

Indulge in the small things like beautiful vintage cups for tea and coffee (perhaps reserve these for meetings, as opposed to everyday use!), cloth napkins for lunchtimes or a quirky fruit bowl. Investing in these things will be worthwhile, because these are the things that people will remember about your company. It’s those finishing touches that might just win you the contract over your competitors.

Metre Squared Interiors specialises in office fit outs and office design in London. They’re experts in creating an office that will suit your business and boost your profit. 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

What Would Your Dream Office Look Like?

mbg7The truth is: my office space is cluttered. It has fluorescent lights. My chair gives me back ache and my tiny screen make my eyes strain. Sounds lovely doesn’t it. But does it sound familiar?

If so, that’s unfortunate for both you and your company. The bare facts state that the less aesthetically appealing your surroundings are at work, the less productive you are.

Quick, go tell your boss! Then hurry back and read what your dream office could look like, and how it could help you in more ways than you thought.

Layout

Let’s face it, open plan is in, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. Some studies show that open plan offices lead to a 62% decrease in productivity and an increase in sickness.

The Google offices feature an open plan environment, which is effective for them because they brainstorm and team build all day long.

In smaller companies, this wouldn’t work as well. The dream office would be spacious and definitely not gray. Plain white, cream or deep greens are the winners here. They are classy and promote a better work environment.

Temperature

According to surveys taken, employees are less productive when their offices are either too hot or too cold.

That’s why temperature control is so important. There are all kinds of thermostats available for the office setup. But if it were up to me, it would be an air curtain  which keeps heat in and uses 72% less electricity, implementing climate control at the door.

Lighting

Natural lighting is definitely tops. Throw those fluorescents out the window. They lead to eye strain, headaches and lack of focus.

This means windows and lots of them. Natural light is responsible for a 16% increase in productivity. The classiest offices have circular or wall length windows, looking out on the city surrounds. Simple, elegant and effective.

Filing

Clutter and disorganization muddle up the office and the mind. That’s why a proper filing system is crucial, and I’m not talking about heavy duty grey block filing cabinets. No, something sleek and refined is what you should be aiming for.

How about a rich wood vertical cabinet or (for the more futuristic look) the Perspex cabinet which enables you to see what’s filed where?

Furniture

Let’s talk chairs. The ladder backs are out and the comfortable swivels are in. No more steel frames without cushions please, it’s time for a change which looks a lot like this:

Comfortable, adjustable, easy to get around. This chair has adequate neck and back support and keeps the occupant focused and happy. There are other snazzier versions on the market, but many of them are strangely shaped and don’t provide as much comfort.

You can’t beat the classics and this bad boy does the job as well as you’ll do yours.

Break time!

Okay, not technically part of the office, but just as important. Recent studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can be as bad for your health as chain smoking.

This means you should get up and take a walk around once in a while.

Decorations

We’ve established that the office should not be cluttered, but one devoid of aesthetic value decreases efficiency. A conundrum, you cry? Never fear.

Minimalistic, elegant and clean is what you want. Keep the space open for your walking breaks. That’s why potted plants, wall-hangings and calmer abstract paintings are what I’d go for.

There you have it: my dream office. Clean, elegant, with lots of natural light, a comfortable swivel, temperature control, plants and abstract art, chic filing systems and vibrant, refined color themes.

What would your dream office look like? Let us know in the box below.

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

Caitlin is a writer and single mum, who enjoys organizing her messy workspace once a year. That’s why she likes blogging about interior design and clean spaces. She blogs for Applied Workplace.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Five Cool Products For Your Office

article_photo

Five Cool Products for Your Office People often do not realize the benefits that can be gained from upgraded office tools. This year, five office products captured the attention of business people in Australia. These five products are expected to improve office efficiency and productivity. Let’s take a look at what’s available:

1. HzO WaterBlock and Liquipel

Most people have heard horror stories about smartphones, netbooks, or tablets falling in the water at the office, airport, or home. This common occurrence has brought increasing demand for waterproof devices. HzO WaterBlock and Liquipel are both great products designed to repel water and remove the fear of losing precious information if devices are dropped into the water. Liquipel has the capability to protect from scratches also. Office devices should be waterproof to avoid data loss and business interruption.

2. SpnKiX

If the office complex spans a large area, SpnKiX can be used to zip from office to office or boardroom to boardroom. The skates cost $649, but the skates are expected to sell once the company raises enough capital to develop the design fully. Soon, people around the world will be zipping efficiently through the hallways and arriving to meetings on-time without experiencing fatigue or tiredness. SpnKiX makes it easy and fun to travel around.

3. MacBook Air

MacBook Air is one of the coveted ultrabooks in the office. It is robust enough to perform complicated computations in the office and lightweight enough for travel to clients. Some people complain that the MacBook Air does not have all the features that a more balanced laptop might possess, but business people love to purchase these ultrabooks for the office.

4. HP Envy Spectre

HP Envy Spectre is an ultrabook that is covered in glass and is often viewed as desk art. Though the ultrabook is aesthetically impressive, the extra glass adds almost one pound to the total weight of the device. One of the most remarkable features is the proximity control keyboard that lights up when the fingertips come near the keyboard. This makes business people feel like they are working on a computer from a futuristic spy film like James Bond.

5. Accessory Kit for Laptops

Accessory kits are recommended for travelling business people. The case come equipped with a USB mini mouse. The cord is retractable for easy storage. The typical kit also features a USB hub with four ports, a USB microphone and headphone set, a retractable connector, and a RJ-45 Internet telephone retractable extension. These kits are cool because they contain everything a business person could need in one compact unit.

These Five Products Can Improve the Office Experience

These cool products will improve flexibility, productivity, and efficiency in the office environment. Purchasers should make a commitment to purchase these products and improve the office experience. While the tools are not necessary, business practices are improved with these five cool and innovative products. Consider these five products to improve office interactions, they are fun, techie also maintain a professional look.

Written by Christine Swan – Christine is a young owner of a small business online, in order to avoid complications for taxes/staff benefits and budget issue, a virtual office is an perfect option for her.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Treat Clients Like Royalty And Build A Personal Relationship

Communicating with your customers is vital to continued success in business. Poor communication is the fastest way to lose existing customers, whether it’s because of lack of communication or unclear communication. Sometimes communicating with your customers can be a job in itself. This is especially true for companies with a large clientele list. You do not have to be like Michael Scott from The Office, who memorizes the names of every client’s kids, their allergies, and their favorite sport. That may be a little creepy. But you sure don’t want to come across as an insensible person, who has no care for personal relationships and is only in business to make money. So here are a few steps a business owner, manager, or even a salesperson can take to make their relationship with their customers indissoluble.

            Michael Scott may take it too far with his knowledge of his client’s children’s habits, but it shows that he truly cares about the business relationship they have and most of the time it works to his advantage. Whatever you do, you want to stand out, so the next time that client picks up the phone looking for the service you provide, there is no way they are calling anyone else. It is difficult to stand out when business is becoming so impersonal. With the internet and phone being the connection between most businesses and customers, how do you stick out?

Receptionist

            First, find a talented receptionist. This person is the voice of your company. When those clients start calling, you want someone with confidence and cheer taking care of whatever problems or questions they might have. The receptionist should be the epitome of your mission statement bundled up into the perfect employee. Train them to care for each phone call as it is their own customer and offer them bonuses or incentives to keep them upbeat and focused. There is software available that can simplify the job and keep your company on track. A receptionist plays a huge part in the operation of a company and should be rewarded for hard work.

Online Forum

            Next, create an online forum for your company for those clients who prefer to work over the internet. Your receptionist can also be in charge of this forum with your guidance and knowledge. This will allow your customers to have a place to ask questions that are not time-sensitive, which will promote a more transparent relationship. Your customers will have faith that you care for their questions after they see you invested in an on-line forum which caters to their needs.

Holidays

            Finally, acknowledge any special days or holidays. Don’t do it the old fashioned way! For example, you should have the first day your company did business with the client on record. It is almost like your anniversary! On major holidays like Christmas and New Years, send them a New Year or Christmas corporate holiday E-card thanking them for their continued business. These e-cards are the newest and fastest way to show your customers how much you care. They will be happy to know you are thinking about them during the holiday and impressed with the tech-savvy card. It also saves a lot of time that most people don’t have anyway! No more cramming written holiday cards before your precious few days off.

This is the way to build a personal relationship first and a business relationship on top. It guarantees a level of trust between your business and your customers. Trust will always win a customer over; once they know you provide the best service, the personal rap you build with them through these steps will ensure repeat service and a fruitful relationship.

Featured images:

Ashely is part of a team of writers that has contributed to business blogs and news sites. If you want to see more, follow her on Twitter @ashelymarie1985.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,962 other followers

%d bloggers like this: