For spaces that are startup to spacious — try these office design tips on for size.
FOR SMALL COMPANIES
Have a tiny budget for your tiny company’s tiny office? Here are 8 tips for thinking big when you’re small.
1. Show a little creativity.
“Small space design is tricky, but fun,” says Lindy Allen, founder of Four Chairs in Lindon. “Our goal is always to maximize it. Small-scale furniture and well-thought-out plans make small spaces cozy and properly functioned.”
2. Sharing is caring.
“Forget the notion of one desk equals one person. Make shared spaces,” Allen says. “This frees up room for creative space.”
3. Stay true to you.
“Don’t try to be something you’re not,” says Stacy Anderson, co-founder of Remedy Furniture and Design in Orem. “Investing in high-end furniture does not prove you are at the next level. Rather, it sends a message of insecurity in what you are now. In the early phases, less is usually more. Be tasteful and meaningful. Don’t overdo the design. Set a budget — and stick to it.”
4. Looks for less.
“If funds are limited — and they always are with startups — look for inexpensive ways to implement the same ‘look,’” Allen says. “We can wallpaper just one wall instead of the entire room, we can add benches in place of individual chairs, we can look for less expensive pieces of furniture, art and accessories that complement and communicate organization, planning and function.”
5. Inspire confidence.
“A tidy, well-kept office that has implemented style and direction communicates organization, dedication and longevity,” Allen says. “Make people comfortable and happy — and they will trust your company.”
6. Get personal.
“Allow employees to bring in personal items to brighten up a dull space and add to the décor,” Allen says. “Personal touches promote innovation as well as creativity.”
7. Prepare to grow.
“Be strategic with how much you place in the early stages of your business,” Anderson says. “You may move to bigger or better office spaces sooner than you think, and budgets should be tailored for growth.”
8. Times, they are a-changing.
“Not long ago, the norm of a tech startup was using only a 6’ table with computers all over it, leftover pizza and soda cans spilling out of a garbage,” Anderson says. “Today, people care about who you are, what your goals are and what you look like — especially given the photo-centric media world we live in today.”
FOR MEDIUM COMPANIES
You’re growing up! Your office should, too. Here are 8 tips for companies on the rise.
1. Welcome, welcome.
“Invest in your front-entry space,” says Joey Johnson, co-founder of Remedy Furniture and Design. “Once you have the cash flow to support a quality reception area, set a legitimate allowance to that space. You can only make one first impression, so make the impression that shows your company’s style and character. You can scale down the price point as you walk through rest of office. Make sure your focal pieces are done right, while filler pieces can be less expensive.”
2. Snack on this.
“Mid-size offices usually have the ability to cater to their clients in a few more ways,” says Lindy Allen, founder of Four Chairs. “A beverage or snack station is greatly appreciated by those waiting on appointments.”
3. Best of both worlds.
“You don’t have to sacrifice function for style,” Johnson says. “An experienced designer will help you achieve both.”
4. Keep it fresh.
“Rather than let your office begin looking tattered and dated, make a plan to implement fresh new designs and colors annually,” Allen says. “Keeping up on the design is often easier than a major reconstruction.”
5. Budget beware.
“Set a design budget — and stick to it!” Johnson says.
6. Prep yourself (before you wreck yourself).
“Medium-sized companies are often not prepared for the growth they experience,” Allen says. “Growing companies with adequate space can start with an open feel and then slowly add functional spaces for additional growth. If we start small with a plan to expand, it will be less painful and messy down the road.”
7. Look around.
“Keep a watchful eye on spaces that are always busy, as well as the spots that are never used,” Allen says. “That is such valuable information to any designer when assisting with office design. No dead space allowed! Every inch of your space should work for you.”
8. Find the middle ground.
“You’re in the middle of your business’ growth, and your design should be, too,” Johnson says. “The biggest mistakes mid-size businesses make are the extremes — skipping office design completely or going over the top.”
FOR LARGE COMPANIES
We don’t know if you know this, but you’re kind of a big deal. Here are 8 tips for the big guns.
1. Own your power.
“If you own a large company, own your style through and through,” says Lindy Allen of Four Chairs. “Select a look and color scheme that says, ‘This is who we are!’”
2. Help needed.
“Bring in an outside design team to help you think through the form and function of your space,” Allen says. “Do what you’re good at, and allow others to do what they’re good at.”
3. Help the help.
“Great execution plays hand-in-hand with communication,” says Stacy Anderson of Remedy Furniture and Design. “Hiring someone and just letting them ‘run with it’ only works a small fraction of the time. Those cases, more often than not, end poorly if the executives don’t take the time to talk with their designer about vision and purpose.”
4. Goal integration.
“Office space design should mirror company goals,” Anderson says. “For example, companies that want their employees’ lifestyle to blend into their daily life should offer recreational activities, on-site gyms, personal spaces, and community spaces that inspire collaboration and encourage new thought.”
5. Find a vibe.
“Re-using similar colors and styles throughout the office makes the entire space seem well planned and cohesive,” Allen says. “Find a design element and implement it throughout in a variety of ways. That way you’ll love every space, but not for the same reason.”
6. In the zone.
“Divide large spaces into zones,” Allen says. “Just as a city uses zones in order to get the most out of the area they have, this is what we do in office design. A great office has zones … break zones, collaboration zones, private zones, quiet zones.”
7. Give them a break.
“In designing large office spaces, a ‘time out’ space where people can play ping pong or foosball and get out of the office norms benefits creativity and can pay big dividends.”
8. Worth the effort.
“Great office design is instrumental in creating a place where people are proud of where they work,” Johnson says. “Time and again we hear employees bragging about how cool their workplace is. If they love where they work, that love spills over into the work itself and creates an atmosphere of longevity.”