As people head back to work, they are interested in attractive, safe and healthy environments. So many of us did projects around the house to update and upgrade our surroundings, that most of us want a fresh feel in the office too. I have long felt that many businesses aren’t kept as clean as they could be so I am very happy to see an emphasis on cleanliness and sanitation. I think that’s a good practice for all. Most everywhere I go now has hand sanitizer available. Many are keeping reminders of social distancing and a lot of offices have dividers between employees and the public. Again, these are probably here to stay. For the most part, they don’t detract too much from the décor and do help us feel safer. What do offices after COVID need to look and feel like?
Some offices are so nicely decorated, it is a pleasure to visit them. Many others are poorly designed, badly decorated and often not well thought out. If I choose a company to do business with, I like it to look organized, put together and successful, not like it started yesterday and had to borrow chairs and a desk.
The offices that spark joy often have colorful art, a few nice plants and some personality in their design. This is actually not that difficult to achieve if you have a plan. We have done many offices that were well designed but just needed some touches to give them presence. One of the best things about decorating your office is that you can send a silent message about your business, your culture and your brand.
I wrote a guest column for the Houston Business Journal many years ago. You can read the article online. While my references to the then-burgeoning interior design craze might seem a bit dated, I believe the concepts still hold true. I thought I would share some of them again:
Value-Added Design: Establish a Brand and Relay Powerful Messages to Your Clients
1. Design adds value to your brand. Good design is available at nearly any budget and I like to say a good paint color and a bad paint color cost the same amount. Why not choose the better option? A good design professional will ensure great results as well as often provide savings and help avoid costly mistakes. Many residential clients have figured this out and realize that design assistance can be a quick, easy and rewarding way to improve their homes. A large number of more modest homes now benefit from professional interior design.
2. Some business owners have yet to grasp this concept. With all the expenses a small business owner faces, office furnishings and décor may seem unimportant. However, those business owners might want to consider design help. A good design plan will save money, enhance the workspace and improve employee morale and productivity.
3. Send a powerful, silent message. Your office can say a lot — either positive or negative — about you and your business. Since this is one variable that is fairly easy to control, unlike many other aspects of the marketplace, it is in your best interest to make the most of your office space.
4. Start by incorporating the nature of the business into the office. Using the company logo and colors can help establish the “brand” of the business as well as give design direction. This helps fixate your brand in the client’s mind and it is also comforting and appealing to see familiar images that present your company’s talents and culture.
5. Quietly advertise your experience and expertise. Displaying items like mission statements, credentials and awards can fill bare space as well as inform the client of the scope and professionalism of the company.
6. Use your own work (or examples of it ) as décor. This could include photographs of your projects, sketches or studies of your products or other important documents like maps or charts that you use in your business. These can be nicely framed and hung in hallways and conference rooms. They are great conversation starters and also can be useful for discussing projects or locations.
In our more than 20 years in business, we’ve designed and decorated many offices. Some of our favorites include breathing new life into a turn-of-the-century soda bottling factory by transforming it into offices for a wealth management practice and revenue-producing tenant space. Before and after shots are shown directly below, followed by another after shot of this project, which is now named The Warrant Building. We were beyond thrilled when it won a Papercity Design Award for Historic Preservation and was also featured in the Houston Chronicle.
Just before the pandemic, we were pleased to be contacted by a long-time residential client. This time it was to refresh a portfolio of circa 1980s office buildings for his firm. With a clean and updated interior palette, based on white, black and gray, we added modern furnishings, colorful accents, bold wallpaper and groovy accessories to turn these offices into bright and happy workspaces.
Also read our post “4 Tips for Designing a Functional and Stylish Office” for more highlights on ways to decorate your office with positive vibes.
So, if and when you return to the office, what are you hoping for? What makes you enjoy going to the office? How does a nice workspace enhance your workday and productivity? We’d love to hear your feedback as we all navigate these new ways of working.
Until next time, find your inspiration or call us and we’ll help you discover it.