How to Make Your Office Space Reflect Your Values
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, there's been an undeniable shift in the way we all think about and use the office. Many UK workers found out during the lockdowns of 2020 that they can easily and effectively do their jobs from home. For a while, it seemed like remote work would become the norm and having a physical office was going out of style. But as soon as workers started returning to the office, it became clear that the office environment can still provide many things that working remotely can never offer: effortless interactions with coworkers, more opportunities for collaboration and idea sharing, a productive environment away from the chores and distractions of home, and much more.
In this post-pandemic context, office design is more important than ever. Decorating your workspace to spark joy, boost productivity and engagement, and inspire creativity is key to maintaining a happy and effective workforce. Here at Future Squared, we spend a lot of time evaluating different office spaces with our clients and we've come to realise that one of the most important aspects of your office space design is how it reflects your company values. Whether your organisation champions diversity, sustainability, collaboration, or kindness, office spaces that reflect these values are a great place to work where employees feel motivated and engaged.
To help you decorate your workspace or provide inspiration for your new office search, here's our guide to ways you can make your office space effectively reflect your company values.
First of all, define your company values
So, what are your company values? The core values of your business are the beliefs and principles that drive the organisation and the decisions you make. They are the things you look for when hiring and the things you want your current employees to mention first when somebody asks them, 'what do you like about your job?' Your company values are shared between the founders, leadership team, and all staff.
Here are some company values with real-world examples:
- Teamwork and collaboration: Creating a supportive work environment where people are encouraged to work together. Example: Google.
- Sustainability: Commitment to being eco-friendly and responsibility toward the natural world. Example: Patagonia.
- Social responsibility: Giving back to the community and environment. Example: Ben & Jerry's.
- Innovation: Emphasising creativity in all aspects of the company. Example: Apple.
Put health and wellness first
If one of your company's core values is looking after the health, wellness, and work-life balance of your employees, how exactly can you design your office to reflect this? Start with choosing ergonomic furniture to make sure that your employees are comfortable at work, and ensure that the office furniture is adjustable for people of different heights and preferences.
For example, offering standing desks is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to your people's health. Research has found that reduced sitting at work can reduce neck and shoulder pain, improve feelings of health and vitality, and even improve employees' work performance.
While adding an on-site gym to your office may be somewhat out of your budget, choosing an office with a gym nearby or in the same building and offering discounted gym memberships can be beneficial.
Other small design choices can also make your office reflect this value, such as by adding a table for healthy snacks and fruit in an easily-accessible part of your office. You may also choose to turn a small meeting room into a meditation or quiet room, kitted out with soothing colours and leafy plants, providing somewhere for your employees to go to prioritise their mental health throughout the day.
Choose sustainable materials and furniture
If sustainability is important to you and your team, filling your office with sustainable furniture and eco-friendly materials is a great way to turn that value into a reality. For example, opting for desks made of recycled materials or choosing a big meeting table made of reclaimed wood can make your office more eco-friendly and add an impressive sustainable design element to the space.
Add some biophilic design like a green wall or by using leafy plants in your workplace so your team can enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of being surrounded by plants. Biophilic design is more than just an office design trend; research has found that simply adding plants to a room can make workers more productive.
If you rent a whole building or property, installing modern energy-saving and water-saving features can also reflect your commitment to being a sustainable business. Water-efficient faucets and toilets can reduce water consumption, and capturing rainwater on the roof to water plants can also be a great idea. Plus, energy-efficient lighting with motion sensors can help you reduce the energy used in lighting your office.
If you're currently looking for a new office to rent, look out for sustainable office buildings with eco-conscious features like good insulation, recycling and composting facilities, and environmentally-friendly policies.
Finally, changes like installing a bike rack or bike storage room can encourage your team to cycle instead of drive to work, reducing the carbon dioxide emissions caused by commuting in the car. Note: on-site showers to allow everyone to freshen up can be equally important in encouraging green commuting!
To find out more about ways to reflect your commitment to the environment with sustainable design, check out our blog on How to Make Your New Office Eco-Friendly.
Inspire creativity with creativity
If creativity, innovation, and out-of-the-box thinking are hallmarks of your organisation, your office design should reflect this. Your team needs a workspace that will inspire them and provide visual stimulation – say goodbye to boring grey cubicles and minimalist open-plan offices.
Some of the ways you can add a creative touch to your office is by sourcing unique and inspiring wall art, for example by commissioning a local artist to paint a bespoke mural on one of your walls, or by sourcing colourful prints and posters from local craft markets.
Other ways that your office space can reflect and inspire creativity are by installing whiteboards or pin-up boards where employees can bounce ideas around. You might choose to designate a particular corner or meeting room a 'creative zone' where employees are encouraged to brainstorm and ideate together. Comfy sofas and beanbags are also a plus, encouraging employees to think differently by moving away from their desks.
In short, if you want your office to inspire creativity, providing visual stimulation is key. An all-grey modern office design may convey professionalism, but a colourful and art-filled workplace is far better for promoting creativity and innovation. You might even choose to add playful touches like board games or puzzles that encourage your team to relax and let their creativity flow.
Not only will a creatively designed modern office inspire and stimulate creativity for your own team, but it can also impress any clients or potential hires that you bring to the office!
Bring diversity and inclusion to your office
Any modern office needs to be accessible for people of all abilities, especially if diversity and inclusion are your business' core values. Examine your office space to make sure that there are sufficient ramps, elevators, parking spaces, and accessible and gender-inclusive toilets for everyone to use.
In addition to accessible design, your decor choices can also reflect this commitment to inclusion. Choosing design elements that celebrate diverse perspectives and backgrounds is key. For example, if you choose to paint inspirational quotes on your walls, make sure that these reflect diverse cultures and backgrounds. Similarly, pick art, photographs, and other decorations that speak to this wider perspective.
Furthermore, the modern office shouldn't just get kitted out with tinsel for Christmas. Decorating the office for a range of different cultural holidays and celebrations is a great way to demonstrate that your company values diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Designating prayer and reflection rooms is another way to ensure that your office design is inclusive to all, allowing employees of all religious or spiritual beliefs to feel comfortable expressing them in the workplace. For employees who are parents, private spaces for breastfeeding or pumping milk are also valuable.
Choosing your new office
If you're in the market for a new office that you can customise in line with your company values, some of the best flexible options are managed offices and serviced offices. Although these offices are both similar in that they are flexible rentals taken care of by a provider, they have some key differences.
Managed offices are offices looked after by an office provider where you pay a single fee that includes rent, insurance, bills, security, cleaning, business rates, and more. When you rent a managed office, you can customise every aspect of the design, layout, and furniture of the space -- just give the office provider your specifications and in a matter of weeks they will customise the space to your liking. The cost of this brand new fit-out is spread over your tenancy, making managed office spaces a cost-effective option for your business.
All-inclusive office spaces priced by the desk, serviced offices are private offices usually within a business centre or building which offer cost-effective rents and a wide range of facilities and amenities. Like managed offices, businesses pay for serviced offices with one monthly fee that covers everything from rent and insurance to bills and front-of-house services.
The main difference between serviced offices and managed offices is that serviced office spaces are fully furnished and ready for move in. This makes them ideal for organisations that want a speedy and cheap move. They already come kitted out with furniture so there's less opportunity for customising the design of the space, but you can still add whatever decorative touches you desire.
Find your new office today
Whether you decide you're looking for a traditional office with a conventional lease or a more flexible and cost-effective option such as a serviced or managed office space, Future Squared can help. As experienced office brokers with access to locations all over the UK, we can help you identify places that are perfect for your needs and negotiate unbeatable prices for your deal.
To create an office space that truly embodies and encourages your company's core values, opting for a flexible managed or serviced office space is a great option. With the ability to customise your space in a cost-effective way, you can use your modern office design to project the values and principles you care about. To find out more about the office spaces we offer or to start your search today, get in touch with the Future Squared team.