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How to focus your office design for people

Office fitouts are an investment. A better, more though-out office design offers clear returns that don’t necessarily cost more. Focus more on increasing your organization’s productivity and success rather than only individual performance. Office management is not just implementing peace among your co-workers or maintaining office movement but also includes maximizing concentration for your office employees. When considering your office design ask yourself:

  • Who are our employees, and who will they be in the next 5 years?
  • Who else uses our space? (visitors, clients, community members, etc.) and why?
  • How do we want others to perceive us when they enter our space?
  • What extent do you value flexibility and choice over how we work?
  • What are our current sustainable productivity attributes?

Office Environment

Just like any office, there are constant phone calls, email alerts, and random chattering. Especially recently where open office trends are common and ideal for collaboration; however, that puts privacy and focus in jeopardy for your employees. Usually in an office,every 11 minutes are interrupted and it takes roughly 23 minutes to get back on task.


Designating specific areas with more seclusion will allow your employees to have the option to hide for an hour for remote work or for those who just need a change of scenery. If you have limited walls in the office, try using free standing partition screens. Partition screens create a shelter from visual and audial distractions to help provide an enhanced sense of psychological security and the flexibility to arrange privacy according to your office layout. Even adding a mix of textures with various furniture pieces will inspire richer vocabulary and creative environment.


Windows and natural light help stress management and cognitive performance in the office. A study compared employees who worked next to a blank wall, employees who worked next to a window and employees who worked next to a simulated video of the same outdoor image. The results showed that the blank wall and video seemed to have the same effect. This instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems, or the biophilia hypothesis, has confirmed that a physical or a visual connection to the outdoors have an influential impact on state of mind and stress levels. Instead of having your office glare with fluorescent lights, try replacing them with warmer, more natural glow.


All who enter the office want to feel welcomed and seem as if they are contributors to the organization. For some employees, the office is their second home so culture is important for their level of satisfaction. Although games and work outings are perks, the development of culture in the office happens more organically. Positive culture can inspire more cooperative interaction and teamwork which increases production, quality, and service. Although it can also have the opposite effect, the culture and dynamic is what makes everyone who walks through the doors feel a part or contributor to the company. Each office is unique with its employees and culture, so encourage personalization. Each employee should have the freedom to customize their workspace according to their personal work preference. It adds character and dynamic to the office which makes it more welcoming to your clients.

Stimulating Communication

When you are designing your office to stimulate communicate and improve productivity, be sure to have a goal. If you are considering redesigning, do you want higher productivity or stimulate more creativity? Maybe create a deeper office culture or integrate departments together? Create flexibility that will make it possible for employees to move around the office because the availability of endless combination will create a more dynamic and collaborative workspace.

Growing Digital Workspace

Remember to balance the digital and physical spaces in your office. The more people share online, the less people tend to have physical interactions. The digital workspace in an office enhances human to human collision through file-sharing, emails, messaging, and other communication tools. Research indicates that interactions and engagement decrease as the physical distance between work groups grow and online engagement increases.


Think about implementing workstations for multiple employees or larger office lunch tables to move employees closer together and increase interaction. If an employee developed an improved approach of doing a particular job or task but doesn’t tell anyone, she increases her personal productivity but no one else’s. Closer desks will allow collaboration that will benefit the organization as a whole rather than individual personal improvement. A personal drop in productivity can have a positive outcome on group performance. An unassigned seating office has been a popular practice within offices to increase department integration; however, it has proven to drop energy levels. Although an office can save money by integrating departments closer together, team communication has a risk of decreasing and loss in revenue. Remember, office fitouts are an investment.

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