Chicago area office furniture

Office Space 101

Best Practices For A Great Space Everyone Will Love

Ask 20 people what makes an office space great and you’ll get 20 different answers. There is really no limit as to how you can configure an office, and styles, trends and products change over the years.

Even as we deal with the post-COVID universe the fact is that some office designs are better than others. We’re not just talking about colors and the look, but furniture, fixtures, and other workspaces. All these items can have a big influence on your team’s productivity, collaboration, and creative output.

At RJ Furniture, we’ve been reimaging office space for more than 40 years. We’ve seen trends come and go and have the expertise to know what stands the test of time and has the biggest impact on a particular space. Continue reading for some insight into office space in 2022 and beyond.

EFFECTIVE OFFICE DESIGN & CONFIGURATION

We’ve found that creating the right atmosphere is an important part of office design. An office can impact your team’s efficiency, productivity, morale, and overall attitude. That goes for a well-designed space in addition to one that’s lacking the right layout and furniture.

An organized, modern office interior can provide employees, ownership, customers, and vendors with positive feelings about the company. It speaks to a professional organization, whether you are a highly professional and sophisticated brand or a fun whimsical young-feeling company.

RESEARCH IS KEY

Before going all in on new furniture, fixtures, flooring, and other designs you like, or the trendy look at  your competitor’s business chose, invest some time in preparing and planning.

Map out what works for your business — which may be different from what other businesses are doing — it will save you money in the long run and have indirect benefits like helping moral, and productivity.

Here’s how to discover the office design that is perfect for a group of three or 300.

1) Observe How People Interact

A good way to find the office furniture, space design and layout that works for your business is watch how your team interacts with each other.

How do people use their current space?

Where are the traffic jams in the office flow?

What is hindering collaboration?

What isn’t working with the current furniture, layout, configuration?

What is working?

What are employee beefs with the current space?

Don’t hesitate to ask your people directly what they want in an office space. They’re the ones using it every day and will likely have some good suggestions on how to improve things from desks, storage, break room furniture, cubicle design, etc.

2) Design With Your Company Top of Mind

Your business is unique in how it operates and the vibe inside the office. It differs from the culture of every other business. An effective use of furniture and office design will recognize and celebrate these distinctive differences in a manner that is all your own.

These elements help differentiate your business. It can also help attract — and retain — clients, vendors, partners, and top talent.

3) Variety Is The Spice Of Life

As we mentioned before, every business is different. In fact, every team within a business is different. They each function in their own unique way. That means that a one-size-fits-all approach to office design doesn’t work in most cases.

For example, some teams work better when they have several hours of quiet time each day. Cubicles or semi-private workspaces might serve you well in this instance.

Other teams, however, need to be in constant contact to answer questions, come up with solutions, and access a collective knowledge base. Isolating these individuals — even with something as basic as a cubicle — would interrupt that dynamic.

So, what works for one business, or one team won’t work for another. You must identify the variables that affect your team the most.

4) Reimagine Space Allocation

Years ago, offices allocated space based on seniority or by job title. The C-Level honchos of the company had the biggest offices. Senior sales staff had smaller offices, managers yet smaller offices.

And things trickled down to the newest members of the team, who may only have six to eight square feet of cubicle workspace.

The trend over the past several years is changing, however. And COVID has influenced this even more, with some employees possibly having the option for part time or full time remote officing. Leadership teams are realizing that it’s more effective to allocate space based on the time a person spends in the office, not by just a title.

Even in “normal times” it’s common that higher level execs spend more time out of the office than in, so their workspace is underutilized most of the day.

On the other hand, a graphic designer often spends 80, 90, or even 100 percent of the day in the office working on various projects. They need a larger workspace than the salespeople who are out on the road or in meetings most of the week

5) Evaluate Critical Technologies

The office layout that is right for your business will depend in large part on the essential technologies that your team uses on a regular basis.

For example, wired technology restricts employee movement and keeps them in one place for most of the day. Wireless technology, on the other hand, allows employees to move from one place to another without restrictions.

No doubt the decision between wired and wireless is one of the bigger issues you may face, other technologies will also impact your business as well. It’s important to identify the essential technologies that influence your team.

6) Collaboration Is A Must in 2022

There’s so much variation available today when it comes to office furniture and space design. It makes collaboration between employees efficient and simple. Collaboration is the new model in business — and we believe it’s here to stay, not just a trend.

Many startups begin working, out of necessity (see mom’s garage or basement), in a large, open room where everyone can talk to everyone else. As those businesses mature, they often move into more traditional offices with walls and doors and dividers.

It’s likely they may lose the hustle and vibe that made their success possible. But you can keep the buzz alive in your business by encouraging collaboration through your office design.

7) Base Your Office Design On Daily Functions

Take note of how your employees are performing their job tasks daily.

Do they go right to the breakroom to check for donuts and coffee? Or they may check email and voicemail first thing when they arrive. From there, they move to a full team meeting. After that, they may break off into smaller groups to work on a project and, eventually, work solo for a while before taking a lunch break.

Whatever the pattern, you can use this to help create a space that fits the culture, style and routine of your business and team members.

Go Green

At RJ Furniture we’ve been remanufacturing, refurbishing, and reusing office furniture, cubicle panels, work surfaces, and other key office furniture elements for decades. It’s not only cost effective, but it keeps tons of waste out of landfills.

Going green doesn’t mean skimping on style or that your space will look like a cubicle farm from the 1980s. Far from it. With modern elements like stand-up desks, community work surfaces, lounge-like areas and multifunction breakrooms, conference rooms, and quiet space there are many options beside purchasing all new furniture. We often recommend a combination of new and refurbished items to have a sustainable office that’s a winner in the eyes of management, employees, vendors, and clients.

THE IDEAL OFFICE SPACE

RJ will help manage every step of your project. Our service-based approach means we don’t just sell furniture, we work with you to review your entire workplace and craft recommendations that will transform your space.

Your partnership with RJ doesn’t just end after the last desk or chair is in place. From reconfiguration to relocation to reconstruction, our goal is to remain a valuable resource for your business year after year. Our goal is to deliver value-based solutions to create productive and thriving workspaces by providing office furniture for every size and type of business.

RJ Furniture, a new and used furniture resource in Waukegan, IL, has been serving all of Lake County, Southern Wisconsin, and the Chicago area for 40 years. To learn more about RJ Furniture’s inventory of new office furniture and refurbished office furniture or inquire about office furniture liquidations email us at info@rjfurniure.com or call (847) 473-2563.