Commercial interior design has been traditionally left to properties and facilities teams, but in today’s global workplace is increasingly attracting interest right across businesses, as managers begin to appreciate that office interior design is about creating a whole workplace experience - dedicated job roles for CWOs (Chief Workplace Officers) are already emerging. But there’s still a lot to be understood about a successful approach to workplace interior design.
Your office refurbishment is certainly an opportunity to create a fresh memorable visual impression, but it needs to be more than that. A successful workplace design must be informed by your organisational culture and brand – its ‘personality’ - and needs careful planning and creativity to achieve the right mix of workplace settings. With the right planning you’ll enable both team collaboration and individual quiet spaces, facilitate agile working, and provide the best possible workplace experience for every member of staff, including those working from home.
Firstly, you need define your organisational personality, and base your creative brief on this. You also need a deep practical understanding of how your organisation functions day-to-day, to inform what settings and spaces you actually need. Don’t plump for trendy options if none of your staff would dream of sitting on a beanbag or have time for table tennis.
The other critical thing is how detailed your plans are. If the creative design is not been correctly detailed then the workplace experience for users will be poor. Outline specifically what each area will be used for, and consider size, mechanical and electrical requirements, sound proofing, air conditioning, technology, office furniture and equipment. Defining these early on is key, forming the practical framework for the more creative design and build.
Finally, and possibly the most important part of the office fit-out process that often gets overlooked is change management - the process by which you take people from how they are currently working to how they interact in the new workplace. Think of it as an instruction booklet for how the new workplace can be used, full of important details and protocols which keep everyone on track and transform the workplace experience.
Identify the key stakeholders in your organisation - leadership, procurement, properties, facilities, HR, marketing, product development, wider staff, and board or partners.
Engage them in the design and build project early on. Assign key personnel from these areas to act as “project champions”, helping you gather information, communicate ideas and drum up enthusiasm. The success of your office design rests on understanding how your teams work, and what they want out of the project.
Before you bring in creative consultancy, look at your business workflows yourself. If you had a blank page to change anything, what would you improve? Are there settings you currently lack that would improve agile working or the employee experience - and are there other areas that are surplus to requirements?
Good office interior design in the global workplace can be a puzzle and relies on many aspects coming together. Success rests in the ability of the project leader to foresee the challenges, by truly engaging senior leadership and their teams. A creative consultancy with a difference, RAW Brothers can step in and help you manage this. We work as consultants engaging stakeholders, creatives giving workplace design input, and project guardians helping ensure the project stays true to its original vision throughout the challenges and changes design and build projects are subject to.
We understand the vital interrelation in workplace design between organisational brand, employee engagement and workplace strategy. We call it ‘Personality People and Place’, and it’s a proven methodology RAW Brothers use to understand how organisations tick. By deep-diving into each of these areas we get a holistic overview of why an organisation exists and its ambitions for the future – insight that forms the foundation for productive, inspiring offices.
We also understand the nuts and bolts of working in the built environment world. We know how these projects operate along a 7-stage RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects)-defined process from briefing and concept design to construction and use, and offer the ‘complete package’ in navigating each of these stages.
We work with some of the best consultants, architects and contractors in the industry to make sure that each and every project is the very best it can be, achieving real creativity alongside workable detail and practicality.
We are fascinated by the idea of the future workplace: what could be achieved if we all took a deep breath and invested in a new approach, bringing workplaces alive through research, strategy and creativity.
The workplace is anywhere and everywhere. No longer can you totally control and dictate how a workplace looks and feels. But you can choose how to provide staff, employees and teams with the tools to do their best work everyday.
RAW Brothers led the project to create the new British Airways recruitment centre and main reception area at their HQ Waterside
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We are proud to join the independent panel of key players in the commercial interiors and property sector including fellow architects, designers and consultants.