Despite the homeworking and hybrid revolution, maintaining a stylish and comfortable office is more important than ever. In the recruiting landscape, you’re competing with the comfort and convenience of your employees’ homes, so you need to make your office even more appealing to encourage them to work on-site.
If you want to attract top talent and boost employee retention, you need to ask yourself if your office is up to scratch. A drab, lifeless and outdated office isn’t going to show your company in the best light – in fact, your current office design could be negatively impacting your employees’ morale, which can lead to reduced productivity (and profit!).
Plus, if you’ve had to upsize or downsize your company since the COVID-19 pandemic, this could be another reason why a complete office refurbishment is sorely needed. But how can you create an office environment that boosts morale, increases productivity, attracts top talent, improves your profits and helps you compete with the top companies in your industry? Take a look at the 14 simple office refurbishment ideas below for inspiration.
1. Encourage collaboration with open-plan office spaces
Gone are the days when employees would be forced into depressing little cubicles to stare at a screen for 8 hours. Business owners now realise the value of open communication and creative collaboration in the workplace, with employees sitting together at open desks to encourage organic conversation, brainstorming and mentoring throughout the day.
In addition to open-plan desks, meeting rooms and meeting pods are great features for more structured collaboration. Although we’re now well aware of the convenience of video conferencing thanks to our time working from home in 2020, technology can’t completely replicate the experience of communicating face-to-face at an in-person meeting. In an open-plan office, employees can easily drop by someone’s desk to ask a quick question, and unplanned conversations over a cup of tea or coffee could lead to a brilliant solution for an ongoing project. These little moments aren’t really possible on Slack or Teams.
Of course, some employees will prefer peace and quiet when they need to focus on an individual task. This is why it’s important to take everyone’s needs into consideration during the office refurbishment and design process. For example, you could buy portable partitions that can be used to separate desks when quiet focus is needed, or you can invest in a separate, smaller office room that’s designated as a ‘quiet zone’.
2. Maximise your office space
Even smaller offices can benefit from office refurbishment. Although you may think that nothing much can be done with your small office space, small office design is all about making the most of small spaces to bring out their full potential.
For example, to create separate zones in your office without wasting space on walls and doors, you could invest in thin partitions, cabinets or living plant walls that can divide the space while still letting plenty of light through the room. This will create the illusion of more space and allow you to incorporate multiple office ‘zones’ (such as a quiet zone, breakout areas and kitchenette) without creating dingy box rooms.
You can also use storage wall solutions, such as built-in lockers, to divide your office space into zones. This will have the added benefit of providing more storage space for employees, so they can keep personal belongings secure and out of the way. This will reduce clutter throughout the office and help you make the most of your space.
Another way to maximise office space is to use compact office furniture, such as slimmer chairs and desks. You can also save on space by giving your employees laptops rather than installing multiple computers. Plus, choosing furniture with exposed legs is a great way to give the illusion of more floor space. Glass desks are an even better solution for this.
3. Invest in ergonomic office furniture
If you could only focus on one element in your office refurbishment, it should be your office furniture. Sitting on uncomfortable chairs all day is catastrophic for employee morale, so spending all of your budget on wall art only to leave the desks and chairs as they are is pretty pointless.
Moreover, sitting in uncomfortable chairs and not adjusting office equipment to the correct height for the individual can be very harmful to your employees’ physical health over time. In the short term, this will negatively impact their concentration and productivity, but in the long run, the lack of care for their wellbeing will encourage them to look for a job elsewhere.
Therefore, if you want to increase employee retention, you need to show you care about your employees by investing in high-quality, ergonomic office furniture. This furniture should be height-adjustable to allow all employees to sit and view their screen at a comfortable height. Adjustable lumbar supports are also a must.
4. Increase natural lighting
A lack of natural light can cause hormonal imbalances, leading to symptoms such as irritability, stress, depression and upset the general morale of the workplace. If you’re relying exclusively on harsh fluorescent lighting in your office, it’s definitely time to rethink your office design and incorporate some clever lighting solutions!
Always add large windows wherever possible to maximise natural lighting in your office. Of course, artificial lighting can be used to supplement natural lighting where windows would be impractical, but keeping it natural as much as possible will make a world of difference to your employees’ mood and morale. If you can’t install many windows in your office, you can amplify the impact of your current windows by adding mirrors in key spaces, which will bounce light around the room.
5. Consider biophilic design
Continuing with the natural theme, the next idea you should consider is biophilic office design. Biophilic design is all about incorporating natural features into a room, such as plants, natural light and natural materials like wood. Even the use of natural tones and calming colours of green, blues and pinks contribute to the biophilic feel and design you are looking to achieve with natural and eco friendly connotations..
Natural elements – and real plants in particular – can have a dramatic effect on your employees’ mood. Indoor plants reduce feelings of anxiety and stress while boosting relaxation, cheerfulness and cognitive performance, which means that introducing plants into the office could markedly improve concentration and productivity. Plants could be placed on desks, in large pots on the ground or in a ‘living wall’ structure to create separation between zones without obstructing natural light.
Biophilic design is also about considering the impact that your office refurbishment will have on the environment and adjusting your office planning accordingly. This could mean using natural and recycled materials throughout the office, or it could mean introducing eco-friendly office initiatives like recycling, going paperless and cycle-to-work schemes.
6. Implement consistent branding
In addition to impressing current and prospective employees, your new office needs to impress visitors and position your company as one of the leaders in your industry. When showing customers and clients around the building, you want them to come away with the impression that your business is reliable, cutting-edge and consistent.
Modern and high-quality furnishings will go a long way towards achieving this, but you need to think more carefully about your office design if you want to create a particular image of your brand. For example, if you want to position your company as a leader in sustainability, you should incorporate biophilic design. If you want to appear modern and forward-thinking, you should experiment with unconventional art and furniture.
One thing that all businesses should focus on is projecting a consistent brand image through office design. Make sure you pick a theme and stick to it throughout the office – if the look and feel are too eclectic, you could appear hesitant and unreliable. Incorporating your brand’s logo and brand colours wherever possible is also a good idea, as this will keep your business fresh in visitors’ minds.
7. Consider colour psychology
When it comes to office refurbishment, all elements should be considered in depth. Even the colour you choose to paint your walls with can have a huge impact on your employees and visitors. Researching colour psychology can help you choose an office colour scheme that helps you project the correct brand image.
According to colour psychology, colours like orange and yellow evoke a sense of cheerfulness, energy and freedom, which is great if you want to encourage creative collaboration. On the other hand, cool-toned colours like blue and green can create a sense of calm, reliability and focus.
However, be careful to not let your office colours overpower the space and create an eyesore. Using too many bright and bold colours can actually distract employees instead of encouraging focus, creativity and collaboration. To avoid this issue, think about the tones you are using and make sure they complement each other.
Plus, to prevent the space from becoming too chaotic, you could use different colour schemes and accent walls in different parts of the office to encourage certain emotions and behaviours. For example, you could use brighter and warmer colours in meeting rooms to increase energy levels and collaboration, and in quiet working zones you could use cooler colours that encourage calm and concentration.
8. Add homely touches
As mentioned in the introduction, you’re now competing with people’s homes in this post-COVID era. When working from home, people can often be just as productive whilst also enjoying their home comforts. To encourage people to use your newly refurbished office space, what new features will you offer them?
Many business owners have managed to boost office attendance by adding homely touches to make the space more inviting. Adding comfortable sofas, chairs and bean bags can help workers relax and unwind during their breaks, whether you put these features in their own room or throughout the office space. Being able to take breaks when needed is a key part of maintaining morale and overall productivity, so make sure you provide plenty of furniture and spaces dedicated to relaxation and comfort.
9. Create a relaxation space
If you have enough space in your office, creating a separate breakout area or relaxation room is the best option for your employees’ mental health and job satisfaction. In the office planning stage of your refurbishment, we would recommend setting out a suggestion box so that your employees can ask for the features and perks they want the most. This could be a dedicated relaxation and mindfulness room (complete with comfortable sofas, cushions and yoga mats), or a breakout room with a pool table and TV to relax during lunch.
Although this seems like a lot of money to spend on something not directly related to work, you have to think of the long-term benefits. Employees who feel relaxed, comfortable and able to take breaks when needed are able to be much more productive due to their lack of stress. Plus, these employees will appreciate the effort put in by their employer to create more office perks, making them more likely to be loyal to the company. Top talent in your industry will also notice the extra perks in your office and will therefore be more likely to apply for jobs with your company.
10. Increase storage
Being faced with a messy, disorganised workplace can be very disheartening for employees. Not only will the clutter worsen their mood, but it’ll also impact productivity as it will be harder for them to find the documents and equipment they need.
Some decorations (such as indoor plants) are necessary to prevent the space from looking too utilitarian. At the same time, too much stuff can be overwhelming and chaotic, which won’t reflect well on your brand. To solve this, we would recommend investing in a built-in storage solution like large cabinets, hot boxes or lockers. This would also give employees a chance to store their bags and coats away at the start of the day, rather than putting bags under desks (which can be dangerous if walkways are obstructed).
For storing smaller personal belongings, we would recommend clever desk storage solutions such as Hot Boxes. These portable storage containers will help your employees keep their desks organised and their belongings safe, which will improve focus and productivity. Plus, these containers can easily be moved around the office, making them a great solution for hot desking and hybrid working.
11. Paint an accent wall
An easy way to add some visual interest in an office space is to paint an accent wall. This is a great way to break up the monotony of the rest of the room and attract people’s attention. Using bright colours is a great idea if you want to create a sense of cheerfulness and optimism, or you could incorporate your brand’s colours to reinforce your brand identity.
However, you should be mindful of what you’re using the space for when adding an accent wall. Think about colour psychology to decide if the colour you’re using will encourage the right emotions and behaviours for that space. For example, do you want colours that encourage creative collaboration or quiet focus?
In addition to using colourful paint or wallpaper, you can adorn this accent wall with art or motivational quotes that reflect your brand values. Not only will this inspire your team, but it’s also a great way to show visitors and prospective employees what your company culture is all about.
12. Update the flooring
Don’t forget about the floors too! It’s easy to forget about the state of your flooring when you’re distracted by elements like your wall art and greenery, but office flooring is a key detail that says a lot about your business. Inviting a client over when you have a frayed, stained carpet can set a bad first impression, so your office refurbishment should always cover the basics like updating the flooring first.
Just like different wall colours, different types of flooring can create different moods. Polished tile, wood or laminate flooring can create a calm, clean and professional atmosphere, whereas carpets can be used in your breakout or relaxation room to heighten the cosy ambience. Whatever material you choose, make sure it doesn’t clash with the rest of your decor – if you have very bright walls, it’s best to go for neutral flooring for balance.
13. Experiment with mixed materials
If lots of colour isn’t your thing, why not experiment with mixed materials and textures? This is a great way to add visual interest to your office without relying on bright paint, wall art and loud patterns.
Adding different textures to your office design can give you a more understated and sophisticated result. This can be achieved through natural textures (like living walls) and wooden elements if you prefer a biophilic design, or if you like the industrial look, metal features and exposed structural elements like bricks will work extremely well.
14. Encourage personalisation
Finally, to inject more life into your office and prevent it from looking too sterile and curated, you could give more power to your employees by encouraging them to decorate their own desks. This will create a fun and relaxed office atmosphere and perhaps lead to a more quirky office design, which is perfect if that’s the type of brand image you want to create.
Another benefit is that allowing employees to have more control over their workspaces will improve their motivation and sense of fulfilment. In the long term, this increased motivation can maximise productivity levels and therefore affect the amount of profit you make.
To make the most of the space you currently have, you need expert office refurbishment services to help you visualise and execute your office design plans. Here at Diamond Interiors, we use 3D visualisation tools to combine creativity and precision in office planning, helping us to create a bespoke solution that fits your business’s exact needs. Contact us today to arrange a free initial office design consultation.