There's a lot to consider when you're designing new office space, and you should make sure that productivity is high on your list. Cornell University's Ergonomics Laboratory has found, for example, that small investments in ergonomic features can boost a company's productivity by an average of 12 percent. Other studies have found that temperature, lighting, and even the imagery you have on your walls may all affect productivity. When my company recently doubled our office space, we first created a financial plan, one that helped us see where it made sense to be frugal and where more sizable investments would pay off. We also worked with a great designer, Casey DeBois. Here are some key concepts that informed our final result.
1. Hello, Ikea!
While the legendarily affordable retailer may not seem like the go-to source for grownup office needs, its products provide a lot of versatility for little money.
- We bought glass tabletops and mounted them on the walls of the conference rooms to create massive "whiteboards," a much sleeker and cheaper alternative to the standard office product.
- Plain black shelving units are inexpensive, and they can be easily jazzed up with a quick coat of spray paint. We went with gold to brighten up our wall-to-wall units and create a more polished look.
- We found that countertops could be used to create desk space, leaving more money in the budget to invest in high-quality chairs, which is where comfort really counts. DeBois, an interior designer at Homepolish, helped identify many such opportunities.
2. Splurge selectively
We favored things that enhance collaboration.
- Our team is split between our New York City headquarters and an Arizona office. To encourage constant communication, we installed large TVs in both offices that carry a nonstop interoffice live stream.
- We blocked off a significant amount of space for communal tables that allow small teams to meet without the hassle of booking a conference room. We made this move after analyzing our meetings and realizing that about 70 percent of them involve only two or three people.
- We invested in wall-to-wall carpeting and acoustical tiles to better control sound. Collaboration is essential, but noise should never become a distraction.
3. Loud and proud
Your office space should convey your company's values and reinforce a spirit of collaboration.
- We let the team decide what to name our conference rooms, and everyone had fun with it. One floor features famous rockers (including "Benatar" and "Joplin") and another highlights business trailblazers ("Bezos" and "Winfrey").
- Our core values of trust, innovation, passion, and empowerment are literally emblazoned on our walls, captured in such phrases as "Feel amazing about your money," "Build better habits," and "Achieve your goals." These visual cues look great and continuously remind us of our mission. They motivate us to tackle each day head-on.