It's good to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in office design. Trends can serve as a guiding or inspirational force on your design decisions. And they can help keep your space relevant by giving you a better understanding of the direction that the industry is headed. But it's easy to focus too much on the do's than the don'ts – to get distracted by all the shiny objects and cool ideas, while glazing over the not-so-glamorous principles of office design that will ultimately make or break your space. So let’s go back to the basics and cover 3 mistakes to avoid in your office architecture.
1. Don't Follow Trends Blindly.
There's a time and a place for trends – it's important that trends aren't making your design decisions for you. First, be aware of your own unique set of needs. Then look to trends. It's easy to look at the top office architecture trends and throw them into your designs. However, that's how we got into a world of unused ping-pong tables and beanbag couches in the first place. Does anyone even like ping-pong at your office? Maybe they do. The point is you can't use trends as a replacement for good judgment. Just because it's working for others, doesn't mean it's going to work for you. We suggest you first look at your people and culture to decide what perks and trends you could deliver through your design to most benefit them. Of course there's absolutely nothing wrong with staying up-to-date with the latest trends – just don't let them make your decisions for you.
2. All Space Should be Usable.
Never sacrifice functionality for aesthetics. Real estate isn't cheap, so why create an office space that doesn't maximize its usability? Of course you want your spaces to look nice, but you should never have to give up functionality for design. An ideal design will balance the two. If your ultimate goal is to improve employee productivity and wellness, then find a middle ground between aesthetics and functionality. Practically speaking, make sure you have furniture that’s actually comfortable and rooms that people will use. Employees are getting used to alternative spaces, like coffee shops, but still need a tabletop so they’re not juggling their laptop on their knees all day.
If you design with wellness and quality of life in mind, these decisions will feel very natural.
3. A Design Element is not a Strategy.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the physical elements of office design and start listing off all the interesting, exciting aspects of other offices you've seen. But a design element doesn’t define your workplace strategy. It's a good idea to first start with the strategies and goals you want your office to meet. Then move on to how physical elements can help facilitate those goals. We're not suggesting you ignore ideas you like, but before making any concrete decisions, determine whether it serves your overall strategy. For example, if one of your strategies is to get people out of private offices throughout the day, a corresponding design element might be a beautiful communal table in a centrally located kitchen.
What are the major goals you want the office and its various areas to achieve? Health and wellness? Better collaboration? Maximum productivity? Think about those things first, and stem the design decisions from there. This way every design element supports your higher level goals and sets you up for success.
Staying True to Your Needs
These may not be groundbreaking discoveries, but following these principles will help ensure your designs stay on track and your workspace meets your needs, not somebody else's. If you're interested in learning more or want to talk with someone about your future workspace, get in touch with us today! We'd love to discuss your vision.