VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Efficient, tasteful design can help maximize productivity

  • Comments
  • Print

Productivity. Comfort. Longevity.

While the old saying about location applies to most commercial real estate decisions, the issues of promoting productivity, providing a comfortable working environment and choosing materials that last become preeminent after the lease is signed.

current space-is not something you do everyday. If you’re part of a mid-sized or small business, then it’s highly likely that you’re juggling real estate decisions at the same time you’re trying to advance your business.

As a result of this pressure, too often key decision-makers don’t quite think through the whole planning process, which includes designing for maximum productivity and long term growth.

Your office should be a primary productivity tool. Many people think of their office or workspace merely as the place where they go to work everyday.

Your office should be far more than that-it’s an expression of your corporate brand and it should be a place where you and your employees can produce their best work. Can employees get from one place to another quickly and efficiently? Are printers and fax machines accessible?

Can your workplace be sustained? This question concerns whether the office materials you choose will retain a quality appearance for the applicable term. An understanding of maintenance specifications that will be required needs to be reviewed for any type of design.

Ignoring this consideration means that your office may initially look great, but over time can acquire a worn look from improper maintenance.

Are you open to new ideas? Advances in technology and workflow create options to consider in making your business more

Designing and executing an effective workspace requires intensely personal attention to functional needs and budgets. A workplace environment must positively impact productivity and behavior.

Comfort and function

It should be comfortable and stimulating. It should reflect the values and culture of the organization, and should produce a rewarding experience that fosters overall company performance.

Consider certain key considerations that can make your office or industrial space a real productivity tool. Ignoring them likely means your company will have to address them later, often at unbudgeted and costly expense.

It’s not over until you move in:

Signing a long-term lease-whether for new space or for improvements on your
productive. When analyzing tenant improvement options, too many business owners opt for a cookie-cutter approach to design. The result may be unnecessarily dull and boring-and counterproductive to the workspace.

Adopting this approach to designing your new office or industrial space may save some planning time initially, but can be very costly over the course of a few years during your lease.

Don’t overlook functionality. During the design of a new space, a mistake can be made in emphasizing a “cool look and feel” over daily functionality issues.

For example, placing workspaces and walkways in the wrong place can make for hundreds of extra steps each day. This can quickly add up to thousands of unnecessary walking steps and subsequent lost time. Over time, this can be a very expensive design error.

Promoting collaboration

Does your office promote collaboration? As many business experts point out, success in the 21st century is significantly enhanced when employees and corporate leaders successfully collaborate and share ideas and information. The proper positioning of desks, cubicles, meeting rooms and conference facilities plays a huge role in fostering and nurturing productive collaboration.

Integrate your total environment. Whether you think about it or not, your
business possesses a personality and brand that is unique.

When your sales professionals go into the field, they create and project that personality. Is your corporate personality reflected in your physical workspace?

Integration also means high functionality and consideration given to varying needs while maintaining consistency. For example, breakrooms and gathering rooms may have a more upbeat look. This is important for sustaining productivity, by giving employees a place to go where they can rejuvenate.

Will your physical corporate look last? Oftentimes you may drive by or go into buildings that seem “tired” in their look or design. This is often due to the fact that the designers or owners opted for the current design fad. When trends change, their once “cutting edge look” becomes a visual liability.

What’s your budget? Do you want a corporate Taj Mahal, or a sparse Scandinavian look? Materials, installation and maintenance costs should also be considered when putting together a design budget.

Considering these design issues upfront will help promote a workspace that truly becomes a positive productivity tool. Your company is one of a kind, and your workspace should reflect that.

Kramer is director of design at Precedent Real Estate Services. She has more than two decades of experience in designing more than 2 million square feet of office and industrial space Views expressed here are the writer’s.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.