Office Planning Essentials – Where Do We Start?
As The Retail Duo approaches each READY OFFICE space they consider many elements. A quick checklist of essentials to keep top of mind must always be taken care of first and foremost. Upon completion of these elements the real fun begins, and making the workspace come to life with many other layers becomes the next step.
Having a well lit space is essential and not just for zoom calls. Depending on the faint glow of the 'ring light', which admit it, everyone has done at some point is not ideal. Natural lighting is always conducive to productivity for the sheer fact of feeling as though the outdoors is inside. Catching a few rays of sunshine through the office window can be refreshing! Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a window in their work space and in that case lighting sources become top priority. Preventing eye strain and comfortable light temperature can be achieved by adding various lighting alternatives. Thankfully lighting design can be a fun element and it can complement both function and form!
Although more people are striving for a zero waste office environment there will always be the need for storage of everyday office essentials. More furniture designers are getting creative with solutions that are not your typical filing cabinet (thank goodness). Storage of course eliminates clutter and allows for more focus. In the age of hoteling storage becomes a challenge when multiple employees are coming and going. Mobile storage units and modular systems offer flexibility and a more relaxed feel to the office.
During the heart of the pandemic many people perched on whatever chair they could find in the work-from-home movement. It was not uncommon during zoom meetings to hear employees complaining about missing their beautiful office chairs that moulded into the smalls of their backs. But rightfully so, they were sitting collecting dust in empty offices! HR departments soon learned the value of employee wellbeing and ergonomics and for sure employees became aware of this important element. Chairs, desk heights, screen level, and overall comfort have been catapulted to the forefront. The evolution and demand for the sit/stand desk has been a welcomed office staple and they are among the most coveted pieces on the market.
INSPIRATION & FUN
Even when hoteling or sharing work spaces, people long for ways to make their space their own. Not everyone needs multiple family photos, wall quotes and a nice vase of flowers but some people like at the very least a splash of colour or some inspiring art.
During the regular work day people also want to get up and move around a little and step away from their desks. Whether it is a quick power walk, some yoga and stretches or a few rounds of ping pong. It could just be the re-set that everyone needs to produce stellar work!
Multiple people in an open office setting of course presents a pro of being able to have casual conversations and spontaneous meetings. The downfall is constant noise and difficulty focusing. A natural and simple solution is to incorporate some textiles. Softer fabrics absorb some of the sound and can also add to the theme and ambience. There has also been great progress made when it comes to integrating sound panels that are not only efficient but visually pleasing. Dividers are always available for both privacy and acoustics and they too have been evolving to become more decorative and less about the traditional sterile cubicle square design.
It is exciting to see how furniture designers, office accessories, and decor have become an area that is now unique and evolving. As the lines continue to blur between different design genres the office space is benefiting and therefore so are hundreds if not thousands of employees, and it is about time in our minds!