A good office design is functional yet makes your clients feel comfortable. For example, you don’t want a design that is so unusual that clients will worry about your ability to create a professional design for them, but you do want to stand out from the crowd. These there are some elements you should consider when designing your office space to make it usable and professional.
1. Implement Natural Light
Workers spend as much as 90% of their time inside and don’t get a lot of natural light. When designing your office space, incorporate windows and skylights to bring in bright, natural light. Not only will the space feel instantly warmer and more inviting, but the additional light will allow clients to see your designs clearly.
2. Consider Room Layout
No matter what size your room is, how you lay out your furniture will make a big difference in how functional the space is. Consider the activities that will take place in your office:
- Do you need a workspace to draft designs?
- Do you need a seating area for clients?
- Where will storage go?
Particularly small places can benefit from taking storage up toward the ceiling so you are utilizing every square inch of space.
3. Plan Your Organization
No matter how you set up your office, you’re going to need a dedicated area for your computer and other electrical equipment. You’ll want to purchase items such as surge protectors, but you’ll also want to buy cord clips and think through how you’ll organize everything from your mouse wires to your power cords.
Actually consider where each item will be placed and how it will contribute to the flow of the room. For example, will the printer cable reach your computer hard drive?
4. Eliminate Distractions
Whether your office is in your home or a dedicated office space, it can be hard to concentrate if there are outside distractions, such as local traffic or noisy neighbors. One thing that can help cut down on the number of distractions is sound proofing your room. There are several ways you can soundproof a room, including insulation.
5. Choose Multi-functional Furniture
Make the most of the space you have by choosing pieces that have multiple functions. For example, you can install an island that provides storage for your samples, has a top that can be used as your work surface, and also allows you to pull up high-backed bar stools to meet with clients.
6. Purchase the Best Lamps and Artificial Lighting
Make sure you have enough adequate lighting to work at any time of day, on gloomy days and even into the night. Hitting the right amount of light for your office will require a combination of both overhead lighting and lamps. Consider lights that offer enough brightness to work effectively, such as can lights or florescent lighting. You’ll also want to purchase a lamp or two to place close to your workspace.
7. Utilize Comfortable Seating
Even if you only have room for a small loveseat or a chair, make sure you create a comfortable spot where you can sit and read or work on your tablet. There will be days when you spend long hours in your office. It can get uncomfortable to sit in the same spot all day long.
On top of that, it can also get pretty boring. By creating a comfortable seating area, you can both set up a place to meet with clients and one where you can get in a different position for a bit.
8. Go Ergonomic
Speaking of being more comfortable, invest in some ergonomic products that will keep your back from aching. Designing is hard work. You often spend hours bent over a computer or with your head down so you can view palettes and samples. To help alleviate some of the strain on your neck, invest in an adjustable desk. This will allow you to sit, move the computer screen up and down, and even stand or sit on a stool in a half-standing/half-sitting position.
9. Keep in Mind the Benefits of a Flexible Layout
One trend in office designs is flexible layouts. Because your business is likely to grow and you may have different needs from month to month and year to year, a flexible layout allows you to adjust to any changes.
For example, a desk on rollers allows you to roll the desk out of the way if you need floor space to temporarily store signs and banners for an upcoming trade show event. Or, if you want to see how a floor might look, you can push the desk back and place several tiles together to see how a section might look completed. Look for furniture that is easy to move so you can rearrange your layout as needed.
The key to designing an office space that incorporates some of these elements but still works for you and your clients is to think ahead to where your business will be in a month, in a year and even in five years. Flexible elements such as movable furniture and pieces with multiple functions can help you adapt as your business grows. With a little forethought, your office space will work for you for years to come.