Here at Scout we have been thinking about our office space recently – what would the perfect space look like for us, examples of offices we know that get it right and what can others learn from optimising their space to ensure staff satisfaction.
I started by taking inspiration from some of the offices of our Clients and where I have recently had meetings to understand further what they have done to get it right.
As we work in a creative industry, most of our Clients offices are thoughtfully designed and try to create an environment of free thinking and collaborative working. There are definitely some similarities:
- Open plan – unless necessary, due to confidential conversations (like the HR and finance departments), most offices are open plan, even between departments. This allows not only the space to look and feel bigger, but everyone knows each other better and are more social with each other, creating stronger bonds between individuals and departments.
- Music – Spotify is widely used and although often an eclectic mix of tastes has to be accepted, generally music creates a more uplifting and positive environment – a bit of dancing and humming always lightens the mood.
- Meeting spaces – it doesn’t matter what office we visit or own, there is never enough meeting space! In our industry, everyone loves to chat and finding the space to do this is essential. Different types of space is the key; more formal for board meetings and pitches, less formal for team catch ups and brainstorming sessions, places to scribble on the wall and pin things up, to interview someone and to take that difficult call from the Client.
- Something a bit fun – a lot of the Agency offices we visit have a pool table or a table football game but one that I particularly appreciated was a wall of pick & mix penny sweets. Not the most healthy of course but looked amazing, smelt amazing and certainly kept the energy levels up of the developers and designers!
- The correct lighting – a seemingly obvious one because offices need lights, but ideally a bit of natural light is appreciated. Lots of fake strip lighting will cause stress and headaches and having not much of a view will depress staff after a while. If you are in a basement office it may be best to decorate it with beautiful, inspirational imagery to inspire – or move, of course!
I think the most impressive office I have visited recently was a very large, London based Architecture and Property Development company. Due to the nature of what they do, to be honest it needed to be impressive, but it certainly didn’t disappoint. The CEO gave the designers a one sentence brief and asked them to bring that to life in the space they had; ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!’ It was a professional working space for about 100 people but to give you an example, the board room was suspended high up from the ceiling and was a glass box with access to it via chocolate coloured winding stairs – Mike TV when he is shrunk and inside the TV! Inspired!