The Four Areas of Good Space Planning
If the space is uninviting, garish, too poorly lit or simply drab and clinical then employees may well feel dejected and undervalued. Office space that looks attractive and efficient to visitors will also offer an ambient working environment for employees, and the needs of the projection of corporate branding need not be at odds with the needs of office staff.
So what are the factors which should be taken into consideration when planning office space or reception areas within your business? The easiest way to consider these is to decide who is going to use the space, and what is needed by those who have a responsibility for it or involvement with it.
Almost certainly one of the first groups of people to spring to mind will be those people who will work within the space themselves each day. The employees of the company have to be kept in mind when planning any part of a business, and the reception or office area is no different in this respect. All too frequently, this is not the case, with overall appeal and business image taking priority over functionality and practicality.
However, if a space is poorly designed from the employees' perspective, then this can lead to a number of difficulties. If the space is uninviting, garish, too poorly lit or simply drab and clinical then employees may well feel dejected and undervalued. This can in turn lead to lower productivity, high staff turnover and difficulties when it comes to recruitment.
By investing in your employees, making it clear from the start that they form a major part of the space planning project, then this is likely to help boost working and commitment levels. In some cases, businesses have found that by investing considerable time, effort and money into developing highly attractive and interesting working environments they have been able to use this as part of their recruitment program.
This in turn can result in attracting more capable, committed and qualified people, which will in turn lead to increased productivity within your business. It is perfectly possibly to combine appeal and effective corporate branding with functionality and a respect for the needs of employees. However, it is not only the needs of employees that have to be considered in many office environments, but also the needs of the company in influencing and impressing visitors and potential customers.
Not all office space will be subject to the scrutiny of visitors, but many will, and it has to be accepted that this could be a significant factor in space planning. However, here again it is possible to satisfy what should not necessarily be conflicting requirements. Office space that looks attractive and efficient to visitors will also offer an ambient working environment for employees, and the needs of the projection of corporate branding need not be at odds with the needs of office staff.
These needs will vary from business to business, and the type of industry involved, as well as the corporate brand image you wish to portray, and will affect the space planning concepts from the very start. If your business is dynamic and young, and wishing to portray an energetic, vibrant image then it will be necessary to consider the effective use of space, lighting, color, designer furniture and the overall standard of decor.
Clearly, muted pastels, creams, browns and beige colors will do little to encourage a vibrant sense of energy. Yet, slapping lurid citrus colors everywhere is likely either to blind your customers as they enter the office, or make your employees feel quite nauseous within the first day of working there.
The planning of an office space can take into consideration the shapes of walls and furniture, with sweeping arcs and curves suggesting fluid, easy transactions and business methods, generating a restful and calm appearance. On the other hand, sharp corners and minimalistic designs can indicate a sharper image, more vibrant and active.
However, it is often the combination of factors which will decide the end result, with colors, shapes, general architecture and lighting all adding to the final result, but it is important to have a clear idea of what impression you wish to give to help direct each element of the design.
An important factor to most businesses, particularly right now, is that of cost. Large office spaces with high ceilings, glass walls and open areas can look good, but when it comes to heating, they can prove to be very costly. Similarly, creating more intimate smaller spaces with lowered ceilings might reduce heating costs, but cut out a good deal of natural light. Not only does natural light contribute to a high degree of employee well-being and productivity, but it significantly less costly than the daytime use of artificial lighting. It also projects a better image to visitors and potential customers who may themselves be environmentally aware.
This introduces another element, all too often ignored, which is the environment. Today, not only is there a responsibility for all business to try to reduce their carbon footprint, but there is a great amount of kudos available to those businesses that can show such a commitment. Many deals have been signed or rejected as a result of one party's impression of the other's environmental policy.
Think about the type of woods used, and from where they are sourced, as well as maximizing natural energies such as daylight and solar heat. Space planning can achieve satisfaction and success across all of these different fields, but it will be important to give them careful consideration from the very start.
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You now understand how a good space planning can project your corporate branding and impress visitors. Visit Corporate Environmentsfor more details of how space planning can combine equally the needs of your employees and customers to the advantage of your business.