“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
If you’ve ever heard that saying then you might be familiar with the idea and importance of visualisation, especially in regards to office furniture. Everyday in the furniture industry customers will voice the concern and question, “does it really make a difference?” Does it make a difference between whether you want the screens between those tables to be blue or black? Does it matter if those office desks should be wooden or polyurethane? Does it matter if the layouts of my workstations are open or closed?
Yes, yes and yes again. If we go and take a look at all the successful businesses in the world, I can guarantee that their offices will have been built up piece by piece according to the image they want to portray. The way things are put together creates an impression that can last in a client’s subconscious and impact them even more then what you try to sell or say. Humans communicate and interact with each other through only 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal. On top of that 65% of people are heavily visual learners. This can be directly translated onto how a customer can perceive a company through what they see in their office.
Whether I’m talking with representatives of large companies or small offices or clients who just need one office desk, I emphasise the importance of knowing the image you want to embody and reflecting that onto the furniture you choose to buy.
There are 5 major components that every organisation should consider while furnishing their office space.
Colours in the Office
Dark & Neutral Colours
A scale of dark wooden colours to neutral colours such as beige and grey on the walls and office furniture illustrates an atmosphere of sophistication and gravity. This is more suitable towards corporate businesses that put more focus on providing a service that reflects the refined nature and seriousness of the office tones. If this isn’t suited to your business, the choice of these colours can create a ‘dead fish’ and old-fashioned type of feeling where the office seems overly dull and dreary.
The addition of bright colours into an office space within the walls, fabrics, office desks or office chairs can exude a sense of energy and enthusiasm. This attitude can be received well and allow clients to feel more comfortable or cheerful within your company and with employees. However, on the other hand, if done incorrectly, it can allow customers to see your company as childish or unprofessional. It is important for the colours chosen to interconnect with the culture of your company. You don’t want to be a company that organises funeral insurances and have bright reds and yellows around in the office.
Material & Workmanship
Office furniture with wooden finishes or workmanship provides a solid and firm workspace reflecting the secure and stable nature of your business. If the office desks are solid wood, it can symbolise a large presence both in the office and in the industry you are apart of. Or by including little dashes of wooden finishes can give off a natural touch and add a contemporary comfortable feeling to an otherwise plain office.
Poly desks and storage units can create a highly modern, sleek and clean look for your office. This is especially correct if the office space is designed with majority of white, which is highly popular in modern society. The use of poly furniture creates the notion that your business is trendy or even a trendsetter. This is popular and important in industries where you must stay up to date with constant changes to what’s “popular” e.g. design, fashion, technology.
Professionalism will always coexist with the inclusion of leather in any office whether it is office chairs, lounges or even just a pad on your desk. Whether it is PU or fine leather, it can be used to add flavour and texture to an office or further emphasise the modern sleek nature. Leather is very adaptable depending on the style that you choose but you can never go wrong with a touch of leather seating.
Layout of Office Furniture
The positioning and layout of a singular office can affect your client and your psychological dynamic. Let’s paint a picture, your office has a desk in the middle and you sit behind it on a mobile chair with wheels that looks more comfortable and expensive and sits a bit higher. On the other side of the desk is one or two client chairs that are immobile, sits a bit lower on the height scale and may be a bit less comfortable. This element of hierarchy and power separation can work to your benefit if your business does reinforce the status and role you are in. However, if your business should not project that image then there should be a separate meeting table or lounge area with the exact same chairs that you can sit together with your client and work in collaboration or approach your clients in a more personal and comfortable manner.
A significant choice for the main work area is the choice of open plan or traditional closed off rooms or cubicles. The increasingly popular open plan setup represents a modern, adaptive and collaborative environment. However, it is a myth and a mistake to think that this layout works for everyone. The interactive nature of this plan creates an image for clients to see an open atmosphere where the entire company works as a team or system. This must truly imitate how the company actually works and reiterate the company core values.
The cubicle choice provides a sense of organisation and individuality producing a clean and quiet space in which employees are able to work at peace. Each cubicle is adjustable to every specific employee, creating a homely or comfortable atmosphere. Although if ineffective can produce an linkable nature to a machine in which there is no communication and workers drone on like robots. It is vital for the company to utilise this space 100% and have the correct company attitude for this plan to work effectively.
Doors & Walls
Glass walls and doors are literally transparent, symbolising also the figurative transparent nature of your business. There are no secrets or unseen strings attached between customers or employees. This clean, simple method can allow clients to be more comfortable in the workspace and also subconsciously trust the organisation more.
Moveable walls and partitions can produce a sense that the company is open for compromise and is highly adaptable to suit the customer needs or situation. There is no need to choose one method or a “my way or the high way” attitude and instead reflects the can do attitude and value of the business.
Solid walls and doors may introduce a fear of the company not being as transparent as they could; however this could be beneficial to specific industries. The solid nature of the building and office reinforces the security of the business whether it was needed for legitimate security or security of information. The solid attitude can make people looking for that feel safer that they are in the right hands.
Artificial lighting on it’s own is not enough anymore; at the very least there should be a mix of artificial and natural lighting in every office. An increase in natural lighting has been studied to show better mood and productivity for all workers. Not only that, lighting also impacts the aesthetics of an office space and more lighting allows an office to feel more open, transparent, natural and warm. Clients will not carry a positive impression if they feel that an office cannot provide the best working conditions for their staff members. If they feel like the employees are motivated and comfortable they will have a stronger belief that the best people in the industry are handling their business.
The office furniture and layout chosen to craft a company workspace is made up of significant decisions. Every choice is a reflection of your company and how your business is perceived in society.
Do you think your office reflects the image you’re trying to project?