Guest Post: Design meets ergonomics - the products you need to create the perfect office

Guest Post: Design meets ergonomics - the products you need to create the perfect office

Every office is influenced by its layout and décor, whether it knows it or not. A dull office design with drab walls and nothing captivating for the eye to look at will cause employees to feel rundown and dispirited, while a bright design with lots of intriguing décor choices and break-out spaces will ensure everyone stays on track.

In order to design the ultimate office space that meets everyone’s standards, you’re going to need to lay your hands on quite a few tools. The cubicles of yesteryear are out, and open-plan layouts that are packed with creativity are most definitely in.

So, if you’re attempting to design the perfect office, here’s what you’ll need:

1) Light and space are essential
When setting out the rough drafts for your office plan, remember that you really can’t ever have enough light or space. Studies show that natural light can help to increase productivity by warding off sleepiness, so ensure each employee will have access to it.

Whether you choose to go down the cubical route or the open-plan one, it’s important that each employee is given enough personal space at their desk to personalise it and feel safe. This means you may want to invest in pinboards for each person, along with good-sized desks.

2) Break-out spaces are essential
Breakout areas have become increasingly popular throughout office design, as the overall size of offices has shrunk. This means designers need to begin working in more communal space that can give employees a chance to relax and unwind away from their desks.
You can fill office break-out areas with innovatively designed furnishings and dining tables that will allow everyone to enjoy their time at work.

3) A tidy desk is the sign of a tidy mind
Incorporate lots of cupboards and drawers in your office design to ensure the company has enough storage space to keep clutter off desks. As they say, a tidy desk is the sign of a tidy mind, and researchers have found that working in a cluttered space makes it harder to focus.

Each employee should have access to a set of desk drawers or a desk tidy, and you’ll need to set space aside for a stationary cupboard.

4) Comfortable workstations
In 2010-2011, 7.6 million working days were lost as a result of work-related back pain.

It’s vital that you take ergonomic office equipment into account when designing your office plan. If you’ll be the one sourcing the products, you must account for every aspect of the workstation - not just the desk and chair, but also computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, mouse pads, monitor arms and more.

5) And remember - link everything back to the brand
Once you’ve purchased all of the products you’ll need to create the perfect office, it’s important that you remember the golden rule of office design - link everything back to the brand.

For example, Facebook’s office campus comes with its own artist in residence, so the design is constantly changing. There are also manually-adjustable desks for every employee, and treadmill workstations are available for those that want to keep fit while working. All of this links back to the hack culture Facebook grew out of in the first place.

Meanwhile, at the Zappos office, employees are encouraged to be as creative as possible by decorating entire rooms (rather than just their workstation). The company’s even provided its staff with arcade games like Dance Dance Revolution and more. This ties in with the brand’s beliefs in fun and personality.

And finally, technology giant Apple has styled its office campus after its many products. Every desk, every room, every corridor follows a minimalistic design, with white being the prevalent colours. Clean lines, high-tech computers and spaceship-style areas have all been put together solely with Apple’s brand in mind.

What else do you think you need to create the perfect office?

This guest post was written by design expert Aurora Johnson on behalf of Cheshire Office Interiors, a multi disciplinary interiors company offering office design throughout the UK.

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