Written by: Christopher Chitty
If you read our guide on how to set up your new office with necessary utilities, you're pretty much on your way to a good looking work space.
How your office looks is very important to your employees and clients.
It does not matter even if you are setting up a Representative Office and are unaware of your company's future in Singapore beyond the six months or a year.
If the office is an SME, the idea of equipping it with furniture can be costly, especially if you have limited capital.
Yet, there are some things, other than utilities that are absolutely essential for the office. If you can't buy these items, go ahead and rent them. Some offices comes with furniture but those that do not, it may be possible to work something out with the landlord. Or rent them, whichever works best for you.
The typical stuff you need for your office such as tables, chairs, whiteboards and couches go without saying.
It is important to realize that modern offices have gone beyond the common white walls and four cornered rooms with geometrically accurate furniture.
Take a look at some world class offices such as Google, Blizzard and even Apple and you will see how vibrant and alive they are. A good working environment promotes productivity so it is important to spend some time in designing and decorating your work place.
Here are some things you can get to liven up your office;
• Posters/Pictures: Sometimes all it takes to break the tedium of staring at a computer screen or staring blankly while you talk to a client is looking up at a poster or picture on the wall. Inspirational charts can help too but too many of those is pretentious and counter-productive.
• Plants: Potted plants brighten up the office and having a few in key locations, such as near the doors or in the corner of the pantry will do wonders for the atmosphere. You can get either plastic or real plants. Just be sure to maintain the real plants often. Last thing you want are weeds growing on your dividers.
Aquarium: If you want to foster some team responsibility, get an aquarium and tell your staff that they'll have to take care of the fishes. Having a nice aquarium placed in a relaxing corner of the work floor will brighten up the place. Besides, who can say watching fishes swim is not cathartic?
• Calendars: Even though it is so easy to click the digital calendar on your computer, having a wall mounted calendar with interesting images will subconsciously make employees look forward to the next month to see what picture will be on it. This may sound ridiculous, especially since nothing is stopping them from peeking underneath but calendars are still a good way to remind everyone of what day it is when they forget to look.
• Library: Encourage your employees to read and improve themselves by having a few books linked to increasing productivity in the office.
• Recreation room/pantry/gymnasium: If your company owns an entire building, there's really no excuse to not provide any or all of the above. If your employees are going to be spending a lot of time in the office, it is advisable to give them avenues to distress. A recreational room with a pool table or a well-equipped gym will go a long way to managing employee stress than a single manager can.
To make all of the decorations suitable with your entire office, you will need to decide on a particular theme to adhere to. For instance, if you want to stimulate a professional atmosphere, choose black or mahogany and keep the furniture to that tone. While earth colours can make people feel too relaxed, it is possible to counter that with a few well-placed plants. Also, good lighting will help balance the mood.
If you run a creative designing firm or an organization where your staff are meant to be creatively attuned, pick bright and vibrant colours to make them feel lively at all times. Natural light is a good supplement to it so choose big windows for locations in the office where it will benefit from that light.
Try not to have windows in direct sight of the sun though. If the layout of the building is such where this is unavoidable, have blinds or curtains attached to counter it.
Sounds tedious doesn't it? We'd be lying if we said designing your office isn't a science.
However, you can cultivate the right kind of work mentality and attitude in your company by designing and decorating your office, so it pays to plan this out well in advance.