Don’t Make it too Personal. Wanna Know Why?

Why creating your ‘perfect’ office could be bad for business

Setting up a new business can be a liberating experience. It’s a chance to create something exactly the way you want it – and that includes the office. You no longer have to endure the harsh lights, uncomfortable chairs or cluttered layouts designed by someone else. Now, you’re the boss – you decide.

And that’s where the problems can start.

Because the temptation is to try and create your perfect space; to treat the empty office as a blank canvas on which to capture your personal vision. So you begin to click through office furniture items online like an excitable child compiling a Christmas list, picking your favourite colours and styles; creating a layout which ticks all of your boxes.

And at the end of the process, after some considerable expense, you will have collected everything you need to create an office which is just right – for you.

But your personal style may not work quite so well for your employees; people who’ll spend a large chunk of their waking lives in the same environment. Your ambient and moody lighting may be viewed by them as a dank and depressing vibe. Your idealist vision of an open office could be their idea of an oppressive atmosphere, lacking in any privacy.

It’s impossible to create an environment which caters for all the different tastes of your employees but you can provide the ability to customise individual workspaces with individual choice of lighting, seating and an allowance for personal items.

office

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wengs/132185905/

Projecting an image

You need to also consider what impact your choices will have on the image your office environment projects to customers or clients when they visit. The office interior can be viewed as just as much a part of your company’s branding as the company logo or the design of the website.

If you have a business which deals with a luxury, high-end product or service, the clients will reasonably expect this same kind of feel to be found in the office style. Conversely, a charity based company may want a more sober and restrained choice of furnishings to create the image of a cost-conscious and down-to-earth organisation.

There are more subtle signals which can be sent out as well. An office where the company owner has his own room full of top-of-the range furnishings while his employees are in cramped and unpleasant conditions is liable to create a negative perception of the way the business is being run.

So, despite having the best intentions, allowing personal style to have too great an influence on your choice of office interiors can be bad for business. It can lead to unhappy employees who don’t share your personal preferences and a general working environment which fails to project the right kind of image for your company.

You need to take a step back and make sure that you balance your personal tastes against more practical concerns. Ultimately, the priority is to create a workplace which allows your staff to be comfortable and productive. And making this your priority will usually inform the rest of your decision making.

There’s no harm in allowing your personal taste to come through in your furniture, it can add colour and personality, but it’s best to keep these urges in check. Are those Ferrari themed chairs really appropriate?

Instead of creating your perfect office, you should think of it more as a collaborative effort; providing a framework in which people can mould their own environment.

This post was contributed by tomfaulkner.co.uk

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