3 Common Mistakes Made When Designing an Office


Whether you are lucky enough to be in a position to design you or your business’ office from scratch, or you have found one that you can move straight into, there are undoubtedly some alterations or improvements you may want to make. Below are three mistakes often made when it comes to designing an office.

1) Not designing it for its purpose

How could this happen you might ask? Well, it’s pretty simple – smaller companies with less bureaucracy tend to be at risk at this, when the owner sees a design they fall in love with on Pinterest or Instagram and decides that is how they want their office to look. They invest heavily in an interior designer to redesign the place, only to realise belatedly that they are a law firm, whose office looks more like a tech company, and really isn’t suited to their line of work. Loud, open spaces with very little privacy – outcomes like this happen far more often than you would expect.

The first step in designing an office is to think of its purpose and then build around that. It may not be the prettiest, but as long as it is completely functional and fit for purpose, this is ultimately what you need. Consider implementing technology that would be useful for pretty much any office type such as fantastic room booking systems or internet-enabled devices such as lighting and audio. Such systems would almost always have a use in any office.

2) Not considering the acoustics

Again, an office may look great on the surface, but until you are there day-in-day-out and able to truly experience it, issues such as bad acoustics may get overlooked until it is too late. If you go for a very open plan design with the intention of promoting teamwork and collaboration, don’t forget to allocate private spaces, such as meeting rooms to allow for this also.

As with the first mistake, don’t just invest in looks alone. Certain materials may be visually attractive, but can be horrible if there are dozens of people making noise simultaneously, and this can be very distracting and lower employee productivity.

3) Restricting your employees input

Why would you not listen to the people who will spend the majority of their waking hours working there? Although you may want a uniform office space, this doesn’t mean that you have to exert your influence all the way down to each person’s workspace. Give them the relative freedom to customise their own space with colours, photos and whatever they would like to make their area a happier place (within reason, of course).

As with the other points, this may be limited to what type of organisation you are and what you are trying to achieve. Of course, a workspace that is loud and brash would likely not bode well at a law firm, but employees would more than likely already be aware of that.