Wow Factor vs. Employees’ Needs – Which One Drives Your Design?

Don’t get us wrong, having a portfolio that showcases beautiful and unique designs is an accomplishment in itself, but we have to realize not all designs are driven towards function…aesthetics usually take over. But at the end of the day, you have to understand and make sure that not only is your design serving an aesthetic purpose but also a functional purpose for the employees…they are the ones who have to work in this space everyday.

It’s Not Always About the “WOW” Factor

Most office photos reflect the latest and greatest trends, and that’s perfectly fine. That should be one of the designer’s goals to accomplish that “look” for their client. But we have to imagine how a person feels coming into their new space everyday. For example, sitting in an uncomfortable chair for 8 hours reflects a bad design choice…just because it looks great or goes with the theme doesn’t mean it will be comfortable. Throughout the design process, the designer should always keep in the back of their mind: is this functional, comfortable, and will it increase productivity? Without those key items, the office space is just going to “look good”.

It’s Time to Put the Employees First

Programming is essential for a great design, because this allows the designer to really connect with the employees and to help he or she figure out what their needs are. Designing for the employees’ needs is truly a better design than following the latest “cool” trends. Here’s a question to keep in mind when designing a new office space:

-What do the employees need to be the most productive, comfortable, and collaborative?

Programming is also very important to understand what the employees do everyday, because not everyone has the same tasks or requirements. Considering an open plan could be beneficial for some but at the same time be a disadvantage.

The design of open plan offices encourages teamwork and creativity and it allows the employees to share information easier. On the other hand, it may cause more stress and distractions to the employees considering the noise level will be higher and there will be a lack of privacy.

For reasons like this, it is crucial to analyze the employees’ existing space and surroundings to fully understand how they work on a daily basis. Plan to do a lot of research to develop documents, drawings, and diagrams that will outline the information that was collected from the employees. This will serve as a great guide to customize the design according to each employee. At the end of the day, you want your success to be their satisfaction.

Given these points, hopefully this information will help with your future office designs! Just keep this phrase in mind when designing: "First find out what makes the employees work best, and then you can make the space look good!"

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