First of all, imagine the following scenario. Your company has been invited to showcase what it does at a large exhibition, where plenty of potential customers, and a number of current competitors, will also be present. You have a small space where two or three of your staff can stand, greet visitors, and hopefully make some useful connections.
(Correct. It’s a networking expo).
But what did that look like, as you imagined it? What was the impression you hoped to leave on the people who spoke to and networked with your staff? Was it corporate? Cool? Approachable? Professional? Any other words you associate with your company?
This same level of visual communication applies to your office design too. From the first impression you want to leave on visitors, to the atmosphere you hope will inspire your employees. Here are some ideas for communicating this core ethos in your 9-5 workplace.
A thousand words within four walls
Whether you’re a corporate entity seeking to break a faceless stereotype within your industry, or an exciting agency looking to out-cool the competition, there is plenty you can pack in to your office’s design. Whether you decide to DIY it, or choose a specialist workplace designer, like Maris Interiors, there are numerous ways to convey your ethos, including:
- Space planning and use of light
- Choice and configuration of workstations
- Use and type of furniture for work and breaks
- Integration of technology, including digital signage
- Use of colours, fabrics and finishes
- Selection of artwork and outside influences
Delivering the right messages
The above list could probably go on much longer, but you get the idea. Whether alone or individually, everything delivers some form of message. But what is that message, for you? And is it right? Could ‘the message’ itself even be ‘an actual message’? Think of your office design a little like a marketing project – what do you want people to see, fell and understand as they move around the office.
If your ethos is friendly, for instance, it’s going to feel out of place if bright, brash and in-your-face colours and images are splashed all over the workplace. And similarly, if your ethos if cool, catchy and contemporary, a lifeless, open-plan office isn’t going to have the right ring. Think back to that networking event you envisioned, and carry that feel through to the interior design of your new office.
Map your ethos and make it reality
If you’ve ever been through a branding process, either internally or with a designer, you’ll be familiar with brainstorming or mind-mapping your brand. And the same process applies, to how you apply all this to your office design. You’ll already have a blueprint of the space itself, and your job is to detail how this map conveys this ethos in each segment of the workplace.
From the entranceway of the building, to the space people use for meetings, you’ve got an abundance of walls, fixtures and fittings to consider. It’s naturally a little more complex than packing it all into the small space of an exhibition stand, but thankfully it’s going to be far more rewarding if you get it just right. Jackson Pollock once said that “every good painter paints what he is.” When it comes to the ethos of office design, this is certainly an ethos that’s worth remembering.