With the advent of mega wealthy companies like Google and Facebook, the idea of an office being just a boring grey cubicle is slowly disappearing. Sure, big companies and extravagant offices have been around for decades, but as never-before heard of careers like web design, app development, and social media marketing start appearing, the offices that house these jobs have risen to meet the dawning of this new creative age.
But you don't have to be the guy who started Angry Birds to provide you and your employees with a fun sophisticated office! And when it comes to revamping your office, there are just a few questions you need to ask yourself (or make sure your interior designer asks you!) to find the right style for your company.
First and foremost, what do you want your office design to say about your company? I think companies today are focused more on making the office a cool space for their employees and less so trying to impress outsiders, but maybe your company is different. Who are your directing the design of your office towards? Employees? Interviewees? Or maybe your competitors?
Even if you are designing your space for the latter two options, any CEO worth his or her salt knows a company would be nothing without the happiness of its employees, so consider what kind of environment your people can work in. Do they like structure and private offices, or are they more unstructured, preferring open working areas?
It also depends on what kind of information is being shared; a team that is constantly interacting will benefit from co-worker tables and a more open seating plan (at M.Swabb we share one big conference table!). Flexible workspaces encourage employee interaction and collaboration, and they put everyone's jobs on the same level. But other jobs require a little peace and quiet with less interruption from the guys from Sales playing foosball during the lunch hour.
Which brings us to the general atmosphere of the office. Of course every manager wants his or her employees to be relaxed and happy, but some company environments are more casual than others. The kind of furniture and décor you choose says a lot about your work style. Are you the kind of company that encourages a game of air hockey while sipping on a beer as soon as the clock strikes 5 (or maybe 4, we're not judging)? If so, you'll want unstructured furniture like beanbag chairs, hammocks, and laptop desks on wheels.
You can promote this casual atmosphere with chalk boards to keep score of games or write funny messages, bright artwork, greenery, and maybe even a bar cart for whiskey Wednesdays – an idea I keep strongly suggesting to my coworkers who are apparently a lot more professional than me.
But maybe you're more of a formal company and you have investors and VIPs come through more often. In that case you'll go with furniture that's not so lightweight and temporary and private offices that are less open but more grandiose. Offices like this can benefit from wallcoverings or custom furniture, beautiful lighting such as chandeliers and sputniks, and overall rich materials including warm woods, steel, and leather.
Ultimately, no matter what kind of company you are or whether you're using your reception area to impress interviewees or dropping 5k on a custom pool table for the marketing department, everyone benefits from a change of environment, whether that be going from private office to private office, or desk to casual lounge space. Movement stimulates brain activity, people (which is why I went home and wrote this)!