18 Office Design Ideas that will Transform your Workspace
When it comes to office interior design, many jump to the assumption that “good office design” is predominantly about the aesthetic. And, while there is no question that a show-stopping colour scheme and careful selection of bespoke office furniture will make your environment appear more visually pleasing, there are so many other design features to take into account.
To ensure that you make the best design choices, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite office interior design ideas so that you can create a striking space that is both functional AND easy on the eye!
Read on to get inspired…
1. Create a More Ergonomic Office Space
At the top of our design ideas checklist is ergonomics. By incorporating ergonomic furniture into your office, you can prevent physical injury while supporting the mental well-being of your staff.
Think of it this way. If you felt uncomfortable in an office, your work would lack quality and take much longer to complete. If this were to happen, you’d be more likely to suffer from stress as a consequence. What happens when employees are injured or suffering from long-term stress? Absence. (and this can cost you a lot of money in the long run)
To avoid these issues, ensure that your office screens, chairs and desks are at an optimal height for each of your staff members. By taking time to recognise the ergonomic needs of your workforce, you can easily boost staff performance and ensure that staff feel safe within their work environment.
If you’d like to learn more about how to inspire a happier and healthier workforce through ergonomic design, check out our article on ergonomics in the working environment.
2. Incorporate Break Out Areas
Working in an open-plan office can be great for collaboration, however, when a lot of people are occupying a space, it can be easy for staff to get distracted. In fact, a survey conducted by Future Workplace and commissioned by Poly, revealed that one of the biggest office distractions reported by respondents was colleagues taking loud phone calls or speaking loudly to others.
If noise is an issue within your workplace, it is important to offer your staff a space away from their desk where they can relax, unwind and work with minimal distraction. This is where break-out areas offer the perfect solution. Break-out areas are versatile spaces that can be used to take calls, host informal meetings or work on complex projects in peace.
To maximise the noise reduction benefits of your break-out space, consider incorporating acoustic panels into your break-out area design. Not only do they do a fantastic job at reducing noise, but they can also be used as a substitute for artwork. With so many colours and shapes to choose from, you can really modernise your break-out space whilst eliminating unwanted sounds.
3.Inspire Clients With an Eye-Catching Reception
If you want to impress visitors, your reception area mustn’t be overlooked. As the first space that clients see when they walk into your office, your reception needs to clearly represent your brand and make guests feel welcome. At this stage, it is helpful to put yourself in the shoes of a visitor. Think about the things that would make you feel comfortable whilst waiting for a meeting or appointment. What would you expect to find?
The Waiting Area:
Ditch rows of corporate task seating for a comfy corner sofa or lounge chairs so that guests can relax and unwind. When choosing your seating, consider darker colours and fabrics that can be cleaned easily so that you can keep things looking fresh.
If you decide to include a coffee table, don’t forget the finishing touches! A table dressed with flowers, magazines, tissues and a jug of iced water will make your guests feel taken care of and show that you pay attention to detail.
The Reception Desk:
When it comes to your reception desk, why not get creative? Your reception desk doesn’t have to be linear. Experiment with different desk shapes and heights to really make a statement. If you want to soften the space, opt for a curved or circular desk which will provide a sense of fluidity and add a contemporary feel.
4. Never Underestimate the Power of Good Office Lighting
Bad lighting is a big no-no. According to The Health and Safety Executive, poor lighting puts employees at risk of suffering from ‘sick building syndrome’ which causes “headaches, lethargy, irritability and poor concentration”.
Fortunately, there are so many different lighting solutions available, meaning you can avoid these issues and even increase productivity if you pick the right type of lighting when designing your space.
If lack of natural daylight is an issue within your office space, it might be worth investing in some Human Centric Lighting. As the name suggests, HCL is all about the human experience of lighting. Therefore, when daylight is not available, HCL allows you to adjust the warmth and temperature of the light source so that it aligns with the body’s natural circadian rhythms.
Another great reason to mix up your office lighting is to add to the feel of different zones within the working environment. If you have decided to incorporate meeting nooks or breakout zones into your open-plan office fit out, why not use a different colour or style of light to create a sense of calm or cosiness? A warm pendant light or coloured architectural wall lights are a great way to change the mood within a small working space.
5. Bring the Outdoors In With Office Plants
Want to relieve stress and bring a sense of calm to your office?
Why not breathe some life into your space with a touch of greenery? Plants will not only make your office environment look better, but they will help staff to feel better too.
A study conducted by the journal of physiological Anthropology found that plants in the home or office can make people feel more “comfortable, soothed, and natural”.
When it comes to caring for your office plants, there are so many low-maintenance options that are ideal for the office environment as they only require a few minutes of your attention each week. Palms, Money plants and Aloe vera are great low-maintenance options but the list doesn’t end there. Check out our pick of the best plants to invest in for your office space.
6. Make Staff Feel at Home in the Office
According to Finder, 60% of the UK’s adult population worked from home during the first lockdown so it’s no surprise that some employees have struggled to adapt to being back in the office.
If your office is still half empty and you’re wondering why your staff just won’t return, think about what might be missing from your space. While it’s important to acknowledge that there are some reasons you have little control over (family commitments, long commutes, etc), your office environment shouldn’t be one of them.
Take time to understand what your staff would like to see in their ideal office. Do your staff prefer home working because they find it more comfortable or like having access to a fully stocked kitchen and dining space? These are things that are simple to implement yet will make a big difference to staff morale.
Don’t forget, staff opinions count. In a global survey involving 7,600 office workers from 16 countries, 33% of employees reported that office design would “unequivocally affect their decision whether or not to work somewhere”. So, if you want to attract prospective employees and retain the staff that you already have, make those important design changes before it’s too late. You don’t want to lose a staff member because they found a company with a better office space!
7. Inject Some Fun With an Office Games Area
An office games area is more than just a place for employees to unwind. Introducing team games into the office provides the opportunity for your staff to connect and get to know each other better.
If you have new employees joining the company, why not arrange a lunchtime game of pool or table tennis? This can be a great way to encourage bonding in a relaxed, informal way and can help you to break the ice with new starters.
When creating your office games room, you don’t need to blow your budget on an extensive range of game options. Instead, pick one or two games that are worthwhile investing in and then use your design features to create a sense of playfulness.
Beanbags, bold signage, DIY scoreboards and soft furnishings can all bring a games room to life.
At the end of the day, a games room is all about fun so let your imagination run wild!
8. Create a Kitchen That Is All About Connection
Last year, we published an article about the benefits of having a kitchen space in your office. From inspiring healthy eating to socialising and relaxation, we explained how an office kitchen can be more than just a place to grab a bite to eat.
But while you might be sure of the benefits of an office kitchen space, you could be wondering where to start when it comes to your kitchen design.
When creating an office kitchen, one of the biggest challenges can be creating a sense of mindfulness so that staff take time to eat well and don’t feel inclined to rush back to their desks. If you want to inspire mindful eating and counter rushed meals, you must carefully consider your use of space, light and colour.
Your kitchen space should be all about the experience. If a kitchen is dark, cramped, cluttered and uncomfortable, your staff members won’t acknowledge it as a space to relax and catch up with other colleagues. However, with the use of calming tones, soothing lights and plenty of inviting seating, your kitchen will draw employees in and establish itself as a space for connection.
If your office is a little on the small side, don’t be fooled into thinking that a kitchen is out of the question. An office kitchenette is a great way to incorporate the key features of a kitchen environment without needing tons of space.
9. Adapt Your Office Space for Hybrid Working
Earlier on, we spoke about the importance of redesigning your space to attract remote workers back into the office. But what else can you do to keep your team connected in the age of remote working?
Adapting your office for hybrid working has never been more important. If you know that, at any given time, a handful of your staff will be working remotely whilst the remainder are working in the office, you’ll need to think about how the office space reflects this.
Imagine that you have only 11 staff members turn up to work in an office designed for 24. If this starts to become a regular occurrence, there is little sense in providing more seating or desk space than you actually need. Instead, you can adapt your free space so that it is better equipped for virtual meetings and online training.
Why not introduce quiet nooks that can be used for online training courses? Or conference rooms with large monitors where zoom calls can be projected so that staff can connect both virtually, and in person?
Designing your office space with flexibility in mind will ensure that your team can choose how and where they want to work without unnecessary limitations.
10. Section off Your Space With Contemporary Office Partitions
In the past, solid wall partitions were fairly commonplace within most commercial office spaces. However, with the growth in popularity of open-plan offices, business owners have had to think of new ways to divide up their space.
If you have permission to build walls within your office, then solid wall partitions are certainly an option, however, they can get very costly if you’re looking to include more than one. A more budget-friendly alternative that offers both practicality and flexibility, is a moveable divider or temporary partition panel.
The best thing about using a temporary partition is that there is no rule to suggest what constitutes one. So, while you might opt for a hanging fabric panel or acoustic divider, your partition could just as easily be a bookcase, shelving unit or free-standing screen.
When looking for a suitable office partition, think about what you want it to achieve. Maybe you want it to have acoustic properties or an interesting design that will liven up an area of your office? If you need help figuring out the type of divider that would work best for your space, why not speak to a member of our specialist design team?
11. Create a Killer Conference Suite
We couldn’t create a list of office design ideas without including the killer conference suite!
With some tactical design choices, your conference suite can become a hub for innovation, creativity and productivity.
But how do you ensure that your meeting space leaves a lasting impression?
Firstly, it’s essential to consider who might be using the space. If you regularly host client meetings in person, then you need to think about how your conference room is going to appeal to your guests and reflect your core company values. A great way to highlight these values is by incorporating them into your design.
Supposing your company motto was ‘respect and integrity’. What better way to get this message across than to have it written on the wall in your conference suite?
To really place the emphasis on the fact that those values belong to YOUR business, why not design the text so that the colours match your company logo? Bold fonts and minimalist graphics are an excellent way to showcase your values whilst giving your boardroom a contemporary feel.
If your meeting room is likely to be used by both visiting guests and staff members, it’s vital that you make your space as comfortable and as versatile as possible. Consider executive swivel seating and folding conference tables that will give you more flexibility to rearrange the space when required.
To guarantee comfort for your guests, look for padded chairs or soft textile cushions which will add some personality and make them feel at home.
If you’re seeking further inspiration, check out our blog post to find out how to set up a conference room for maximum impact.
12. Improve Air Quality With Office Ventilation
Never before has office ventilation been so important. Since the pandemic, employees have become much more aware of the potential to catch infectious diseases whilst working within a busy office building. According to data collected by HSE, between 2020 and 2021, 93,000 staff self-reported that they had caught Covid-19 whilst at work. Although we have since made significant progress in stopping the spread of the virus, the fear of catching Covid is still very much present.
If you want to ensure that your office air quality is safe and well-regulated, you need to invest in a quality office ventilation system. With a quality HVAC system, you can draw impurities out of the air and control the temperature of your space. You can find out more about keeping your office space well-ventilated here.
13. Promote Inclusivity With Neurodiverse Design
According to a study published by the British Medical Bulletin, it is estimated that between 15-20% of the population are neurodivergent. Neurodiversity covers a wide spectrum of conditions, however, those that are more commonly known include ADHD, autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.
In order to create a workplace in which all employees can flourish, it’s essential to design your office interior with neurodiversity in mind. By communicating with your staff, you can find out how to properly adapt the space for those with additional needs.
Once you have spoken with your staff, you can then identify any adjustments that need to be made. Perhaps office noise levels are too high or the colours are making it difficult for employees to focus? Whatever the issues are, there are so many ways to fix them. Check out this useful article on Neurodiverse design, to find out how you can start making a change.
14. Make the Most of Modular Furniture
Did you know that there is evidence of modular furniture dating back to the 1920s?
After the first world war, a housing project named “The New Frankfurt Initiative” was developed in Germany to combat the post-war housing shortage. When designing the homes, a number of prestigious architects came up with furniture solutions that prioritised “modularity, mobility, and multi-purpose functioning”.
These design principles are still just as relevant today.
If you want to save space and money at the same time, modular furniture is the way to go.
Why not consider extendable desks or moveable cube seating? Having the option to move furniture when it’s not being used is crucial when you have a small office. With space-saving furniture solutions, you’ll have plenty of room to host company meetings or work events within your office, meaning you won’t need to look elsewhere.
15. Introduce Sustainable Office Design Features
In the last few years, more and more people have been thinking about ways that they can lessen their environmental impact. And for good reason.
According to the European Commission, greenhouse gases are increasing rapidly. This increase has led to warmer temperatures and more instances of extreme weather which has already had devastating effects on our planet.
But, what can you do in the workplace to help the environment?
With the right materials and sustainable design choices, you can reduce your environmental impact whilst encouraging eco-friendly habits amongst your staff. Research conducted by The University of California and INSEAD has suggested that including visual cues as opposed to text, can help people to recycle more effectively. So, if you want to encourage your staff members to dispose of their waste appropriately, consider incorporating some simple graphic signage.
When furnishing your space, look for furniture made from materials that can easily be recycled. That way, you know that your furniture will get a second lease of life when you no longer need it.
Find out how you can make your office environment more sustainable.
16. Combine the Old and the New With Office Antiques
As we have already mentioned, incorporating recyclable materials into your commercial office fit out is a great way to reduce your environmental impact. But why stop there?
Another way that you can make more sustainable design choices is by incorporating antique or secondhand furniture.
For a charming vintage feel, consider the addition of an iconic anglepoise light, retro rotary phone or a stunning 60s swivel chair. It only takes one or two stand-out pieces to add character to a space so you don’t need to go mad!
17. Stay Current With Smart Office Technology
If you regularly send instant messages or attend virtual meetings online then you are already using smart technology. Simply put, smart technology helps to make life easier by offering flexibility, connectivity and convenience.
What constitutes smart technology?
According to Built In, there are three main features of a smart device. These are:
- Context Awareness: The ability to collect information about the environment and modify actions accordingly
- Autonomous Computing: The use of data to make simple decisions without needing to rely on the user
- Connectivity: The ability to connect to a data network
In the office environment, smart technology can serve a range of purposes. From virtual communication apps to online booking software, cloud security and smart lighting, there are so many ways it can be used. Take a look inside one of the world’s smartest office spaces here.
18. Encourage Staff To Spend More Time Outside
Who wants to spend the entire day cooped up inside an office when the sun is shining?
An outside seating area gives your staff the opportunity to take a well-earned break from the office whilst reaping the benefits of fresh air and much-needed vitamin D.
Whether you’re in the heart of the city or out in the sticks, if you’ve got outdoor space, there is ample opportunity to get creative.
Perhaps you have a small balcony area? Why not repurpose it into a rooftop bar or terrace? While it may not technically be a rooftop OR a bar, it can still be a fun space to host after-work drinks and socials. Consider adding large plants, cosy bean bags and hanging egg chairs to create a stylish hub for socialising.
If you have a large outdoor space on the ground level, think about how you can add practical features to make the space more functional. Features like bike racks, benches and communal lunch tables will encourage your staff to step away from their desks and spend more time outside.
If you have limited access to outdoor space, don’t forget to ensure that your office has adequate ventilation, suitable lighting and touches of biophilia. When your employees can’t escape outside, it’s even more important to make sure that your employees feel comfortable!
We hope that our office design ideas have given you some food for thought.
If you’re feeling inspired but need some help planning your next office fit-out, why not give us a call? At Mcfeggan Brown, our extensive range of office interior design solutions can help you to transform your office into a dynamic, contemporary workspace that meets the needs of your business.
Speak to our friendly team today: 01275 464 220