Do timeless workspaces really exist? As a manager or business owner, you might be wondering if it’s possible to achieve a space that is both leading edge, yet manages to withstand the test of time, but it’s certainly possible to obtain a balance.
If you’re buying new furniture or renovating, then you expect those investments to last awhile. You can improve the lifespan of your workspace and keep it feeling fresh and relevant by considering the following design concepts:
Prioritize Design for the Needs of Team and Clients
Rather than defining a space based on what fads are circulating at the time, prioritize designing for the needs of your team and clients. Any renovations made that don’t serve the work style will end up seeming impractical or frivolous. For example, transparent glass walls might be trending, but may not work in areas that need few distractions. By creating a space that supports the needs of your team, you’re guaranteeing it will last.
Do you think your clients will benefit more from comfortable seating, or a decorative fountain? Before adding flourishes that will make your business appear more flashy, priority should be given to items that will benefit workflow, making it possible to deliver a better experience to your clients.
Consider What Inspires Your Employees
You can create a timeless work environment that defies stereotypes associated with different age groups, backgrounds, and experiences. By creating a space that caters more towards motivating your team as whole, rather than trying to appease a certain age group.
Does your team look for sources of inspiration for creative work, or are they more interested in facts and figures? Do your employees get fired up after collaborative sessions, or are they more interested in meeting individual goals? Designing around these culture questions will result in an office environment that feels truly supportive of your team’s ongoing objectives.
No matter what generation your team fits into, or what the current trends are, a space that fits the culture of your company and motivates your team will stand the test of time.
So you keep reading about the ping-pong or foosball tables that the “most successful” companies have in their break rooms, but how well would those things actually fit in with your business? If it really fits in with your culture, great, but for some a ping-pong table or big screen TV would only collect dust.
Similarly, instead of investing in an espresso bar, headsets, or group work tables, ask your employees to describe their ideal work environment. You might be surprised with what kind of feedback you get, and it could really shed light on where to focus your attention.
Design with Purpose
Each piece of furniture should have a purpose. While selecting furniture, think of how each item will be supporting the service your office space is providing. Don’t make decisions based on appearances alone, but rather if it will contribute to whatever the space is meant to achieve.
By designing with purpose in mind, you’ll eliminate a lot of wasted space, or furniture that never gets used. Unused items have a way of appearing neglected or dated.
Before you start making promises on what kind office changes you can create, be realistic with what you can deliver and sustain. Before splurging on something like a snack machine or nap pod, think of whether you’ll be able to follow through with upkeep (scheduling refills, or changing linens), there might be a lot more work involved than imagined.
Whatever your choose, it should be sustainable, because sustainability and timelessness go hand-in-hand. If any of your investments don’t receive the maintenance they require, that’s a quick way to make your work area feel discarded or obsolete.
As you embark on designing your office space, keep these concepts in mind. By choosing timeless elements and not defining your space based on fads, you’ll have workspace that stays relevant to your needs and company culture — and that never goes out of style.