If you are a freelancer and do not foresee meeting or interacting with your clients in person or via video conference, you probably don’t need to worry much about office design. But for the majority of professional businesses, a proper office layout is critical to build career success, as well as overall productivity. The workspace has an important role to play in helping you market and sell your products or services effectively, whether you meet clients in person or communicate with them over Skype.
The Game of Visuals
According to statistics, many people make decisions based on emotional responses. For instance, you would likely not buy a £200 perfume at a store that looks dilapidated and worn-out, even if the perfume being sold is verifiably authentic. Why is it that you’re giving so much consideration to the state of the shop when you’re only in there in the first place to purchase the reputable perfume? You know the shop won’t have had any effect on how the perfume smells but you opt to buy it elsewhere anyway, why?
Now let’s compare this scenario to your own workspace. Are you sure your client would not mind poorly maintained furniture, bookshelves and tables layered with dust? You should consider how they’d feel walking to an office painted with dull and oppressive colours surrounded by dead plants. Even if you deliver work to the client’s complete satisfaction, put yourself in the client’s shoes and answer the question at hand.
First impressions make a lasting impact. When you invite your clients over to your office, you can have a significant edge during the discussions if you are surrounded by a professional backdrop and environment. You are a professional, and your workplace should reflect as much. Office cleanliness, proper fitting etc. are crucial. However, do not overdo or forge this impression. The office refurbishment and overall fittings should resonate with your personality and sector. For example, an environmental company should embrace green furniture simply because using any other colour wouldn’t make as much sense.
If you try and create a false image, aspects of your office would look out of place – something that is easily noticed by professionals. Make sure the space is warm and inviting as people naturally do not like a cold and unfriendly environment, both in a personal and professional setup. Moreover, clients find service providers with a friendly and warm workspace to be more trustworthy. It’s not just office cleanliness and correct office fitting that matters. Quite often, the right textures and colours warm up the office space too.
Office Furniture Arrangement and Layout Design
The kind of space or seating arrangement in your office indirectly reflects how much you value your clients. In other words, make sure your office space has enough comfortable seating arrangements for clients and other visitors. It would be unprofessional and impolite to let your client stand, especially whilst you do all the talking seated. This gives off the impression that you aren’t overly bothered about your client and that you see them as inferior to you, something that isn’t going to endear them to your company. Besides availability, the seat’s positioning should also be considered. For instance, if you’re going to make a presentation, the client should feel comfortable and correctly positioned in order to experience your talk in the best possible environment.
Your office furniture arrangement and space should be functional whilst working towards delivering your overall brand message. Remember, there is no correct or incorrect seating arrangement. Certain plans could affect a meeting’s outcome. The classic layout in which you and the client are seated facing each other with a table between you is effective, but not always the best option. The table can work as a barrier for some, but not for others. Consider the nature of the clients before making this decision, and be sure to keep an open mind. For an informal and relaxed atmosphere, a round table can work wonders! As per research, curves are more appealing compared to straight lines when it comes to creating a relaxed, open space. Something to think about, at least.
Productivity of the workforce
Another thing to consider is how a good office layout affects the productivity of the workforce in said office. In a recent survey 25% of employees said that the current design of their workplace was hindering their performance, whilst 53% believed that their performance would improve if they had a more ideal work environment. This clearly shows that office layout influencing productivity is more than just theory. With many people unhappy with their work space, it’s time for businesses to start seriously thinking about changing their office layouts – and reaping the benefits!
This has a direct link to keeping and gaining more clients because a happy workforce not only radiates a good atmosphere around the office, but it also generates good results. Again, picture a client walking into an office to be greeted by fed up employees, looking miserable. It’s not going to send the best message out to current and potential clients about the company. Then when they come to realise that the work they are producing isn’t up to standard, it’s a lose-lose situation for all involved. It’s crazy to think that the positioning, colour, and shape of furniture can have such an impact on workers, but it does, and businesses need to start making the extra effort to create this ideal working environment for workers to thrive.
At the top of the blog we posed the question, “could you lose clients due to poor office layout?” and after looking at the all the evidence centred around the topic, it appears that this is a genuine possibility. Whether it be dull walls, old furniture and dead plants or the effect office design has on worker productivity, there’s certainly enough logic and evidence to suggest that clients could be put off your business due to the way your office looks. In short, office layout can have a big impact on your career, whether you’re a business owner or employee.