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Creating Office Spaces That Inspire

     Your office space is a place where your employees meet day to day to engage in activities that help your company flourish and grow.  The space in which they work should do more than just house creative minds, it should inspire them.  A well planned office does more than just look pretty.  It should create a good first impression for your clients and draw in potential candidates.  A well planned office will also improve the productivity and attitudes of your current employees.

     Too often, employees are accommodating their workspaces instead of their workspaces accommodating them.  Just think, all of that extra effort could be used towards company projects, client meetings and development tactics.  This point is illustrated well when you look at the effort employees put into personalizing their workspace with photos, memoirs, etc.  A company space needs to have a balance of functionality and creativity to help your business thrive.

     When it is time to invest your energy and money into a floorplan, make sure you do it right.  Don’t compare your company to other office setups.  They are not you and do not have the same culture, management or employee practices that you do.  Analyze current and emerging trends.  Try to identify specific challenges that your current space presents.  Just because there are no signs of dramatic failure, doesn’t mean there is zero need for improvement.

     Don’t just guess what your business needs.  Many companies guess how their businesses work by what they see.  Observation is helpful, but there is always more than meets the eye.  It is important to ask your employees about what they need and use.  For example, it doesn’t make sense to put a box/box/file pedestal in every office cubicleif some employees need to expand filing space.  By talking to employees and finding out about their needs, you would know that certain employees are better accommodated with a file/file pedestal or even a 2 drawer lateral file in their cubicle space. 

     Involving your employees in the design process will heighten internal morale.  An employee’s personal workspace is one of the few areas in which they feel a solid sense of control.  The last thing an employer wants to do is make employees feel powerless.  When you analyze your environment and keep your employees involved, you will better understand your company’s space.  This will help you avoid future problems with the design of your space and help you to gain a better understanding of your employees level of resistance to change.

     To successfully involve employees, conduct personal interviews, hand out surveys, create opportunities to review plans and decisions, communicate which decisions will be affected by employee feedback, and teach people new strategies to utilized their new space.    Be very clear and honest to your employees about your plans.  Genuinely listen to their suggestions and express the value of their opinions.  This will help them to better commit to the new workspace, feel a sense of control, and know that diversity is recognized within your company.