Top 10 tips for great office design

Follow our comprehensive range of suggestions to ensure designing your workplace makes your employees happier and more productive.


  1. Give your employees a say on how their office environment looks and functions. Managing change well in an office move or refresh of an existing office interior will mean staff know how the space is designed to be used and may increase productivity, job satisfaction and even staff wellbeing. Create steering groups with people from different layers of the organisation and connect with employees well and frequently through a variety of means, from email to company-wide meetings.


  1. Make your reception space suitable for your staff’s needs, as well as for visitors and customers. A large desk set in a vast empty space is not only unwelcoming but an inefficient use of space in a modern office. Create a cosier set up with domestic-inspired soft seating for informal meetings. And include visibility to the rest of the office interior so potential recruits and clients can see your staff enjoying their buzzy, modern workplace.



The front reception area at Mindspace 

  1. Keep clutter at bay with plenty of workplace storage. Files, office supplies and employees’ personal belongings all need a home. That needn’t mean antiquated filing systems and cupboards. Manufacturers have really upped the ante in terms of lockers, cabinets and pedestals with contemporary styles, colours and materials available, many of which incorporate seating and power points or provide places for staff to gather together.


  1. 80% of office workers said good lighting is important to them in their workspace according to a report from office supplies firm Staples**. Position workstations around the perimeter of a floorplate so staff have access to an abundance of natural light, an important part of staff wellbeing. Meanwhile, self-adjusting ‘smart’ lighting, the ability to personalise light and circadian lighting systems were the three most popular options in a report cited by the WORKTECH Academy so consider introducing these smart technologies.

The breakout area at The Office Group

  1. Encourage meaningful interactions that can contribute to staff wellbeing. Office design can help to encourage this sense of community, something which is especially important to maintain after the potential disruption of an office move. Everything from a noticeboard (even in our digital age it’s still an effective messaging tool) to providing a central tea point on each floor to better wayfinding for staff to use the stairs encourages social encounters.


  1. Provide a variety of work settings within your office interior. People rarely want to spend the whole day at their desks these days (and if they do, they might want a sit-stand desk). Bar stools gathered around a high table, picnic-bench style seating and modular sofas create agile office design options. But ensure these different areas are clearly ‘legible’ as WORKTECH Academy puts it “The design of workspaces should clearly convey their intended use. For instance, is this a social space or a workspace?”


The main kitchen, breakout space at Joseph Joseph

  1. Forget quiet spaces at your peril. While open-plan might be de rigueur in office design, a report* from property agents Cushman & Wakefield states that performance drops by 66% when employees are exposed to background noise. From ceiling panels to wallcoverings, even certain light fittings can all muffle sound, while including elements like high-back sofas or phone booths will give your employees the privacy and peace they need.


  1. Biophilia is a buzzword in office design. Workplace Insight defines it as “a response to the inherent need of human beings to be in contact with nature, in the workplace improves productivity and user well-being.” Introducing biophilia doesn’t have to mean blowing the budget either. If green walls or rooftop redesigns are not an option, simply introducing plants in the office or opening up a forgotten courtyard could be just what’s needed.


A social zone for relaxing at Charles River Associates

  1. Underpin your branding principles through the look and feel of your workspace. This doesn’t have to mean large-scale logos everywhere. Instead, you could use company colours in a subtler way from details within the flooring, upholstery or other available surfaces. Key messages can also be displayed creatively, along walls or stairs and furniture and meetings spaces can encourage the on-brand way of working e.g. collaboratively.


The salon at Alpha FX

  1. Design in some office perks. Some office designs in London, particularly for creative agencies, are reviving the idea of an office bar, popularised in decades gone by - perfect for getting employees together after winning that pitch, increasing sales or clinching that award nomination. Gyms or spaces for yoga or meditation are also increasingly appreciated extras that may make an employer stand out from its rival in the race to attract top talent.


Take a look at our case studies for further inspiration on transforming your workspace here.