An inviting office sets the tone for client meetings. Especially in the case of a service business, such as a law office or development firm, your office sets the stage for what customers can expect from you and impacts their trust in your ability to do the job they require. A law office or cybersecurity firm, for instance, with plush carpet and a well-appointed conference room tells clients you are good at your job. Otherwise, you couldn’t afford the fancy digs in an expensive office building. On the other hand, if you’re a development firm working to build apps and other digital products, a fancy office isn’t as important as showing the trappings expected by clients, such as massive server rooms and an open floorplan to allow developer collaboration. A plush office for a developer might say to prospective clients that you overcharge and waste their money on creature comforts.
An inviting office also improves the productivity of your workers by making them happy to work for you, taking care of their needs (such as a coffee station), and invites collaboration with comfortable spaces. Even something as simple as the temperature impacts productivity, according to a study from Cornell University, with a temperature decrease from 77 degrees to 68 degrees resulting in 76% more typing mistakes and 46% fewer pages typed. Additional finds show 80% of workers prefer an option to switch between a sitting and standing position at their adjustable desks.
Meanwhile, an uncomfortable office causes clients and workers alike to decamp as soon as possible, spending little time in the environment. Read on to learn how to create an inviting environment that sets the right tone for meetings and work, while making visitors and employees feel comfortable.
Why you need an inviting office
As we discovered during the pandemic when many office workers were sent home, productivity increases when employees feel comfortable and have more flexibility in dictating their work environment. Studies conducted in early 2021 show:
over the past few months show productivity while working remotely from home is better than working in an office setting. On average, those who work from home spend 10 minutes less a day being unproductive, work one more day a week, and are 47% more productive. [source]
For instance, a large study by Stanford showed worker productivity increased by 13% with an accompanying increase in worker satisfaction attributed to fewer sick days and fewer distractions. And, this phenomenon predates the pandemic. As early as 2012, researchers found increased productivity in work-from-home employees involved in creative and stimulating work (while orders were less productive working from home on boring, repetitive tasks). These facts surely justify investing in an inviting office environment. No matter how you feel about this, the truth is that a little care and attention placed now can help your working environment seem so much more comfortable, while also giving you the ability to raise workplace satisfaction and enabling your staff to feel more alert during their day to day efforts. If staff have to work in an office, particularly as they’re likely accustomed to remote working from home now and again, it’s a great idea to make that space as inviting as possible.
Customers and clients also use the appearance of your office to judge whether they are wise to do business with you. They look for an organized, efficient, professional, and comfortable workspace as a reflection of your personality, company values, and professional ability.
But what are the finishing touches of an inviting office, and what benefits do they bring? Let’s discuss that below:
Creating an inviting office
If you bought into the notion that an inviting office improves productivity and worker happiness, while also encouraging customers to choose your business for their needs, then the next step is prioritizing what features of the office warrant spending some money and which don’t really make an impact on either employees or customers. So, check out the options below to see where your business should invest in its future.
Flooring that fits the bill
Quality commercial carpet suppliers know one thing – the flooring used in a space can make its aesthetic truly stand out. We tend to think of flooring as a fundamental element of our room, but not a necessarily perfect aesthetic influence. That couldn’t be further from the truth, especially in an environment where plenty of foot traffic puts stress on your flooring to look nice and hold up under the traffic. The right flooring, in this respect, is aided by proper installation, correct materials, and confident tones that work with your office design. Proper cleaning keeps your flooring looking good and protects your investment.
Choosing flooring is a matter of taste to an extent, although your needs also dictate the right choice. A good quality carpet adds to your image as a successful, professional operation, while hardwood or even concrete might fit the vibe you’re going for better and require less maintenance so it always looks good.
Open plans that invite collaboration and encourage engagement
The jury is out on open office plans as they sometimes result in too many distractions but these distractions often result in impromptu collaboration and build an esprit de corps that greases the wheels of change with social capital. At Google, for instance, they stagger open spaces with private workspaces to get the best of both worlds; allowing employees to focus on a project while offering comfortable seating for ad hoc meetings. By distributing food and drink options around the room, workers cross the open spaces every time they go in search of coffee or a snack, bringing them into contact with their colleagues as they traverse the open seating areas.
The right lighting
While it’s important to make sure an office environment is well lit so that everyone working within the space can easily do their job, it’s also a good idea to make sure that natural lighting is emphasized through windows and skylights distributed around the area. Natural light results in 84% fewer problems such as headaches, eyestrain, and blurred vision, which reduces stress and improves performance.
Meanwhile, lighting that’s too bright makes the office look like an operating theater, resulting in more stress and headaches. Plus, overly bright rooms aren’t inviting office environments. You may also find that developing a competent approach to lighting means ensuring the tones you decorate your office with, such as how you paint your walls in branded colors, the displays you use for your staff wall presentations, down to the color of the desks in the space can help you curate a worthwhile and reliable space that feels inviting and calming to work in.
With this advice, we hope you can apply the proper finishing touches for an inviting office.
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