DATE: 11/30/2015

A well-designed office should function like a fine-tuned machine. It’s many parts working in harmony to achieve a common goal – happy employees who produce high-quality work.

However, unlike a machine that is organized by its mechanical components, an office is organized by its rooms and spaces. When these spaces aren’t built with their specific functions in mind, disorganization, inefficiency and lack luster performance can occur. Here we will review 4 common office areas and how to go about furnishing them:

Reception Areas

First impressions count. Make a good one by decorating your reception area with high-quality furniture that makes an impact. Perhaps, more than any other space in your office, your reception area should reflect your brand. Never forget, a brand is more than a logo – it’s the consistent experience you want your customers, employees and the general public to have when interacting with your business.

When selecting furniture for your reception area, choose colors, fabrics and styles that are reflective of your company culture. For example, if you’re an insurance company who emphasizes dependability as a brand value, consider decorating with the color blue, which has been shown to exemplify feelings of trust. Other important elements to include are flattering lighting, plush seating options and some sort of natural greenery.

Conference Rooms

A well designed conference room is not only beautiful, but effective. It should be furnished to enhance comfortability, collaboration and decision making. When furnishing your conference room, consider what types of activities it will need to accommodate: Internal meetings, new business proposals, interviews etc.

Each of these categories could require different things depending on the nature of your business. Some common features we suggest including are modern tables outfitted with electrical outlets, ergonomic chairs, a flat screen monitor, a HDMI/VGA hookup (for presentations/conference calls). Also consider decorating walls with framed art or photography pieces that compliment your brand (no random paintings of flowers please).

Private Spaces

As more and more offices switch to collaborative floor plans, the necessity of private enclaves becomes paramount. Depending on your industry, and company culture, you may choose to construct a mix of private and public workstations. No matter, private spaces should be designed with maximum productivity in mind. That means the including of walls, partitions and/or dividers for visual privacy, and the accompaniment of sound absorbing elements for auditory privacy. By providing employees with the option of solitude you will simultaneously be providing them greater choice and autonomy, something consistently ranked as a key indicator of employee happiness and productivity.

Common Spaces

Common spaces includes employee break rooms, cafeterias, kitchens and areas dedicated toward informal gatherings. Similar to reception areas, common spaces should be warm and inviting. Choose colors and accessories that contribute to your overall brand appeal. Consider choosing reconfigurable furnishings that can be easily modified to fit a variety of occasions. Also, look for work surfaces made from durable, easy-to-clean materials. A variety of table heights should be included to provide variety.

Collaborative Areas

Similar to common spaces, collaborative areas should be designed with different needs in mind. Unlike common spaces, the primary purpose of collaborative areas is to foster teamwork-related activities such as brainstorming, “think tanking” and planning. Include ample worksurfaces that can be used to lay out papers, comfortable seating options and some sort of writable wall surface for recording ideas. Additionally, furniture should be lightweight and easy to move.