Your office environment plays an important role in the success of your efforts to establish your business as a profitable venture. No one can achieve intended results and accomplish personal or professional goals in a cramped, uninspiring, unorganized and poorly lit space where there’s little room for fresh ideas to take shape. A well-designed office is a space that’s comfortable, inspiring and efficient and that enables your workforce to give their best.
Your business deserves an office environment that will help it succeed rather than pull it down. Whether you’re building a new office from scratch or refurbishing your existing one, the following tips will help you create a fantastic workplace for you and your employees.
Brighten up the walls with abstract art
A beautiful yet understated work of art can bring understated charm to your office. Just pick a piece that’s not too loud or in your face. You can easily find medium- and large-sized colorful canvas prints at the art and framing shops and home décor stores in your area. You can also find some good bargains online.
If you have artsy fingers, make your own wall art by painting a white or black canvas in colors of your choice or get a budding artist in the family to do one for you.
Print your personal photos and use them as art
Use photos from your travels, adventures and important life events as wall art in your office. Develop large prints and have them framed, placing each one in an area where it would inspire and energize your team. For instance, you could use a photo from a camping trip or a picture of your city’s skyline or oceanfront or display photos of your past work to showcase to visiting clients. If you or an employee is good with Photoshop, edit the photos a little for an enhanced effect.
Bring in live plants
Do away with any plastic plants in your office and replace them with real greens that will thrive indoors and won’t need a ton of maintenance. Indoor plants can effectively uplift a work environment. In addition, research shows that having live plants around improves people’s concentration and productivity and induces a feeling of positivity and well-being.
Place small potted plants on each work desk (you can ask your team to pick one of their choices) and place larger ones at the corners. Go for succulents if you prefer easy maintenance and infrequent watering.
Place small whiteboards at different places
Office whiteboards need not all be the size of a classroom instruction board and they need not be restricted to the meeting room alone. Place smaller whiteboards around the office for scribbling different messages. You can use these to post reminders, write motivational messages, deadlines, birthday wishes, and even a joke or draw to lighten things up.
Hang pinboards to give your staff a space to put photos, souvenirs from events, product samples and so forth. You could also use chalkboards if you’re not a fan of the stark white color of conventional whiteboards.
Place fresh flowers at key points
A creative fresh flower arrangement will cheer up your workspace, serve as a visually appealing conversation point and create an instant and easily connect with nature. Flowers are such a visual delight that having them around when you can steal a moment to look away from the computer will instantly reenergize and refresh your mind.
The folks at Cali Bouquet can conjure up splendid everyday flower arrangements that suit your budget and personal style. If you’re worried that your fresh flowers will wilt away too soon, they also have some great flower care advice up on their site.
Paint some of the walls in a bright, bold hue
Cheer up your small office by painting opposite walls or a nook in a bright color such as orange, green or cherry red. The idea is to break the monotony of muted colors and create a vibrant working space or break area that offers a welcome respite from a typical office-like environment.
Coordinate the furniture or upholstery with the wall paint, introduce a couple of bright-colored accents such as a floor lamp and you’ll have a vibrant and chic office space. If doing up the walls in a stark color sounds too much, choose paints in the usual muted colors and introduce splashes of bright hues in the form of handpicked decorative pieces made by local artisans.
Make the most of both natural and artificial lighting
Lighting is an important element of a modern office that’s designed keeping in mind the mental and physical wellbeing of the workforce. Good lighting is important to make sure people can do their work properly. When you choose your office space, try and find a place that gets plenty of natural light. If that’s not possible, you can always use artificial lighting to illuminate the different spaces in your office as per the purpose they serve and the lighting they need.
Aside from functional lighting, bring in lamps, indirect lighting, concealed lights, and mood lighting to create a unique yet well-lit ambiance that will inspire your staff and impress your clients. Don’t forget to install energy-efficient lighting solutions that will keep your power bills in check.
Create unwind zones
The startup culture has brought about a positive shift in the way office spaces are designed. Organizations big and small now like to have dedicated spaces where employees can take breaks, relax, and refresh their minds before getting back to work. Integrating such spaces in the office helps improve employee morale aside from enhancing and lightening up the ambiance.
Use cool tones, concealed lighting and comfortable furniture in such spaces to make them more inviting as the go-to zones when someone needs to take a break.
Use rugs to define different spaces
A well-placed rug in the right color helps to outline a space and provides unobtrusive structure to the various work areas within a large hall. If your office is a big space with several work areas, use rugs to create separation without using physical barriers that could make space look small and cluttered.
When choosing rugs, remember to pick colors that go with the overall décor or your brand theme. Avoid buying patterns that are too busy and choose calming designs instead.
Make sure your office smells great
While you go to great lengths to make sure your office reflects your ethos and sense of style, don’t forget to check how it smells. Light, natural fragrances that won’t irritate or cause allergies are a great way to make sure your office smells just right not only when clients walk in but at all times so that your employees will have a nice-smelling place to come to every morning.
The best thing about incorporating this tip is that it doesn’t cost a lot—all you need is to pick the right natural scent that’s not too overbearing for a small indoor space.
Have a small cafeteria or lounge
If you can spare the space, dedicate a nook as a coffee zone with some books and music to create an ambiance where you can share a cup of coffee with your clients, have informal huddles with your team or catch your breath in the middle of a hectic day.
Control your costs by buying pre-loved lounge furniture at bargain sales and using soft curtains as space dividers. Place a couple of board games next to the coffee machine. Use bean bags to create a casual and easy look, and spray some chalkboard paint on the wall for quick and easy scribbling.
Rent large items such as furniture and equipment
Instead of spending a fortune on buying expensive furniture, accent pieces, artwork and tools, and equipment, opt for renting some of these items or purchase the bigger items at bargain sales and thrift stores. This is particularly useful when you’re an early-stage startup that wants to have a great office space but doesn’t have the funds to acquire expensive furniture and equipment.
Aside from giving you the flexibility of changing the look of your office from time to time, renting can help you use your capital on the more important things. Do a cost-benefit analysis and consider having a mix of purchased and rented items based on your needs and budget.
Lead by example
Simply incorporating a great and efficient design does not guarantee a great working environment. In particular, if yours is a new organization, you need to set an example for your staff as a leader who believes in and practices hard work, time management, discipline, punctuality, cleanliness, and honesty.
A playful office is a great thing for a modern-day business that values employee satisfaction and morale, but it should not turn into a play zone where people have confused priorities. So, along with designing an inspiring and lively workplace, set work ethics and high standards for your staff to follow so that your efforts will bear fruit.