It’s that time of year. Individuals with bloodshot eyes, moaning and groaning, a palpable air of tension and fear in the air… we’re not talking about Halloween, this is how you might feel if you’re approaching an office fit out for the first time.
Last Halloween we looked at some oddities of office design from around the world, but this year we’ve decided to get back to basics with some workspace scares that you might encounter or even worse, may forget to consider. Hopefully though, we can help you to avoid a frightful fit out!
We’ve already explored the most important aspects of budgeting an office fit out. Here are a few more fit-out fundamentals that you should review if you don’t want the entire project to become a logistical nightmare.
1. The thing! (you should start with)
It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses embark on an office fit out without sharing the most basic knowledge of their business. Any office design and fit out company will need to have a breakdown of staff numbers for the whole business, as well as how they split up into the various departments.
Along with an understanding of the processes and working practices undertaken in the business, this will allow the design team to start exploring how the office layout can encourage more chance encounters, spark creativity and improve productivity.
They’re hardly the most glamorous part of a fit out, but the toilets are a vital part of any office. They also needn’t be based on, sorry we can’t help it, a bog-standard design. It’s possible to reflect the culture and aesthetic of your office design in every room, even the toilets. We sourced specific mirrors for the toilets at The Bay Café, ensuring that they matched the look and feel of the rest of the café. It’s even been suggested that where you place your facilities can improve productivity and creativity.
people storage under the stairs
Storage is always going to be a major consideration of any fit out, but it’s the little things that can creep up on you when you least expect it.
It’s highly likely that you will have thought about specific places to store paperwork, stationery and the usual office equipment. But, when it comes to finding a space for the office Christmas tree and all your festive decorations, you may be horrified to find that there’s nowhere to put it. And who wants a box of tinsel under their desk all year round? Try and account for all of the various paraphernalia that most offices tend to accrue over time and think about things like where staff will put coats and umbrellas on those forebodingly dark and stormy days.
It’s also worth remembering that, for a stress-free fit out, this is the perfect opportunity to declutter.
4. Invasion of the fit-out champions
In all the technicalities, practicalities and logistics of a fit out, you’ll be forgiven for forgetting that all the decisions that you make will have a direct effect on the people in your business. To keep them involved in the process, it’s always worthwhile to allocate a “fit out champion”. They can oversee the office design and keep staff updated, answering any questions and providing feedback for any concerns that staff might have.
5. Don’t be afraid of the dark
Rather than the traditional Halloween lighting option (as above), it’s always worth finding the right office lighting that offers a perfect balance of natural and artificial light.
Lighting isn’t just about strips of fluorescent tubes anymore, there are plenty of opportunities to create unique and bespoke designs that not only look great but also serve a very specific purpose, like the 12m long lighting raft, with over 750 LEDs, that provides a ceiling of white light along the central ‘runway’ of our ShowOffice.
6. Dawn of the dead ink cartridges
They’re always there, lurking in the corner and the source of many a blood-curdling scream when the toner runs out.
But overlook the common office printer at your peril! The last thing you want is to be desperately reorganising your office design so that you can find space for these little pests. So give them a home sooner rather than later.
7. Rise of the machines
The modern office is now full of technology, and the office of the future will feature even more. While the Internet of Things will mean that more objects than ever will improve your staff’s ability to connect locally and globally, the likelihood of them becoming sentient and murderous is highly unlikely.
More concerning is the danger of not integrating your audio and visual equipment well enough into your office environment. Video conferencing and AV presentations are an important aspect of many modern businesses. It’s vital that any office design reflects this, giving staff specific spaces where they can use this kind of technology.
The humble fire extinguisher may not be the most exciting thing to consider during a fit out, but it’s important to factor them in at the early stages. If you do, they needn’t be an unsightly eyesore and could be seamlessly incorporated into your office.
We’d suggest avoiding any signs that point towards Indian burial grounds, Summer Camps or cabins in the woods, but in the office environment your signage is important and often overlooked.
In larger organisations you may want to direct staff and guests to different departments, whereas smaller companies can use internal and external signs to reinforce the brand. It’s worth thinking about more creative uses of signage that could become a feature. The bespoke back-lit WRU sign that we created for their Home Changing Rooms now acts as a backdrop to any interviews that take place there.
Maybe raising hell isn’t quite the best way to describe it. But a new office is definitely something that should be celebrated. So make the most of it and recognise the hard work that went into its design with a proper party. Fancy dress, bobbing apples and pumpkin carving are obviously optional!
Hopefully these 10 terrifying, or at least slightly disconcerting, tips can help you to avoid a workplace catastrophe during your next office fit out.
If it’s still proving to be a scary prospect for you, give us a call and we can help you keep those fears at bay.