In a post from last year with my friend and business coach, Brian Formato of Groove Management, we talked about how to create a great new office. But what about the flip side? What are the top mistakes people make when building out a new office?
1. Using office space to convey status. I recently walked through an office with great views of uptown Charlotte. It should have been an incredible space. But it wasn’t. The company had placed enclosed offices along the entire perimeter, obstructing views and natural light for everyone without an office, which was most workers. This company had invested a ton of money in an office layout that’s fairly demoralizing for younger and more junior workers. My advice: use promotions, financial incentives and other perks to show how you value workers. Keep office space egalitarian to promote productivity and engagement.
2. Oversized work spaces. Sometimes when companies move more senior team members away from enclosed offices, they try to ease the transition by giving them larger work stations. In truth, very few people need four or more filing cabinets anymore, especially in tech companies. Even HR staff can keep important files in designated filing rooms, keeping sensitive documents secure and freeing up room in the office layout for more collaborative and flexible spaces.
3. Skimping on materials. Budgets matter, period. And staying within budget is a requirement. But as you create your budget, consider the brand message you want to convey when clients and potential team members visit your space. Then let that message determine the level of finishes you use, such as woodwork, wall coverings and lighting. A small additional investment can make a major difference in the overall feel of your finished office. In some rare cases, finishes should convey a simpler feel. Examples might be if you don’t intend to be in the space for long because your company is growing at light speed, or if your client base is primarily focused on price. In most offices, though, an additional investment in finishes pays off.
Remember your office space is an extension of your brand. If your brand is important to you, your office design should be, too.