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Grand Designs: Creating the perfect scale-up space

Just call us McCloud, the office version

What’s an exciting but sometimes difficult part to navigate when it comes to your office? 

Choosing the right workspace in the first place?

Deciding on a location? 

Sorting out the tech? (Ok ok, not necessarily exciting) 

Or… planning the design? 

Usually, we’d vote for all of them, but on this occasion, we’re delving deep into the realms of all things design. 

So, load up those saved posts from your favourite interior accounts and come with us on the ultimate office design journey, with a helping hand from industry experts, Maris Interiors.

To echo the words of one of their MDs, Paul Sherwin; “The office should be designed as a platform for productivity, process, and profitability. It should understand that any successful business needs a clear vision and culture that supports employees to operate at their very best.”

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Before we get started, the level of design you’re able to tailor is all down to the type of office you’re in. 

With leased spaces, you’ll be looking at a fit-out before you move in, which could be anywhere from a Cat A, where you’ll get a blank canvas to fully decorate, to a Cat B, also known as a plug & play or an advanced fit-out, which includes everything. 

With flexible offices, also known as fully managed serviced spaces, you’ll be able to put your own stamp on things via decorating and design.

Either way, we’re armed with the top 10 tips to create that perfect scale-up space. Let’s get going… 

👉 By invitation only 

It may sound obvious, but your workspace needs to be inviting for everyone to want to come in. 

It’s now more about retaining people’s time in the office as opposed to having to start right from the beginning and encourage them in, as discussed by our own James Townsend.

When speaking to one of our clients Courier, MD Cain spoke about how the Hackney Road space we found for them helped encourage their team to return - building communal areas and getting energy from the buzz of people in the office, people chatting and the music playing all helped add to the atmosphere. 

Maris Interiors has experienced much of the same, as Paul confirms; “Employers want staff in the office to allow them to create a culture and energy, and employees want to feel part of a shared vision. This working community flourishes when both sides have spaces to share ideas, socialise, enhance wellness and encourage cross pollination of staff.” 

👉 Sensitivity around staff needs 

Understanding individual team members' needs is vital to creating an inclusive culture and subsequently, the design of an office has a key role to play here. 

The assumption that one size fits all can be detrimental to an individual and a business - for example, too much noise and overwhelming lighting can be a real trigger, so ensure your office is set up to accommodate softer lighting or quiet areas.

Even if this is unavoidable in larger areas of the office, having smaller pockets where people can take 10 minutes away from their desks, or the flexibility to personalise their own workstations can make the world of difference. 

You can also encourage everyone to reflect this in their work from home set-up, too. 

👉 Top trends 

Colours and textures and layouts, oh my! 

Injecting the latest interior trends into your workspace is great for some, but others like to take the more subtle, future-proof route (for example, Pantone’s colour of the year is Viva Magenta - bold!). Many of our clients also like to implement brand colours to help build out that brand identity even further - more of that in a moment. 

With leased offices, you’ll be able to do this in great detail from the outset, and with flexible offices, many providers already have trends at the forefront of their design, so you’ll then be able to put your stamp on things from a brand perspective through decorating. 

Artwork, rugs, floor lamps and sofas are a great way of implementing the homely look and feel and is something we’re seeing a lot of, which is perfect if you’re not keen on having an overly branded space. Hotelification (it’s a real word, we promise) is another office interior trend the Kontor team are seeing, where an increasing number of providers are focussing on bringing that luxurious experience you’d get with a hotel into the workplace. Think lounging areas, proper towels and those great-smelling toiletries in fancy bottles in the bathrooms, tea, coffee, and biccies on tap, the lot.

👉 Reflecting your brand’s culture & values 

On the other hand, it’s not just about the interior design trends, but more so how you can implement personalised branding within the design, colour palettes, and layout. After all, an office should be a reflection of your brand, right? 

This is apparent with many clients we work with, and as you’re growing a business you’ll want somewhere to attract new talent and host others. It also works wonders as a backdrop for brand content opportunities - think social video etc. 

Take a look at some of the most renowned scale-ups around, they aren’t going to skimp on their surroundings so take this as a reason not to skimp on yours.

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👉 Let there be light 

Natural light is the way forward with many workspaces these days. Who’s going to feel inspired in a dark cramped office? Not us, that’s for sure. 

Of course, we know it’s not always that simple, but many providers and asset owners we work with are hot on the light, airy spaces and for those with more compact offerings, softer lighting is a must-have for many clients. 

If you’ve secured a lease you can go into detail about lighting during the fit-out stage, and if it’s a flexi, get bookmarking those floor lamps which fit with the interior aesthetic!  

👉 Au naturel 

Incorporating natural elements into your scale-up space helps create a calming, refreshed and motivating environment for the team. 

We won’t repeat ourselves in regards to lighting but plenty of greenery helps achieve an indoor outdoor feel, as does ensuring the area is well ventilated. Crack those windows or if you’re lucky enough to have views for days in a high rise, pump up the air con (within reason!) to help everyone stay alert and encourage productivity.

There are tons of studies which show the benefits of greenery in helping reduce stress and anxiety - it doesn’t have to be restricted to just plants either, try a little herb garden with plenty of lavender to bring that aromatherapy feel (plus it’ll also smell great!). 

👉 Take a seat 

Sitting anywhere for an extended period can negatively impact posture, especially at a desk. 

Prioritising comfortable seating is a must to avoid discomfort, pain, and feeling lethargic, and your office design is no exception. Invest in ergonomic chairs to provide proper spine support, standing desks, and comfy sofas and chairs in break-out spaces. 

It’s also about variation within the office, as Paul from Maris Interiors confirms; “Employees are demanding the office provides more choices in the types of spaces available when they come in - these agile work settings must also be tech-enabled to make them multipurpose and functional.” 

Ultimately, the team should be able to find a cosy place to work, whether they’re sitting or standing, and this is also one that can be addressed whether you’re moving somewhere new, or you’ve been in your current place for years. 

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👉 Collaboration is key 

Growing businesses are about collaboration, which means your office should be designed to encourage it. 

Paul also agrees in-person collaboration gets the best results, stating a successful business will encourage interaction and spaces for people to utilise when they come in. 

This can take various forms; open spaces for everyone to gather and brainstorm, private alcoves for focussed work between smaller groups where distractions can be blocked out for a few hours, and ensuring the office is equipped with the latest tech for maximum hybrid communication efficiency. 

👉 Workplace wellness 

We’re seeing a huge focus on wellness amenities at the moment. Gym facilities, yoga studios, showers and changing facilities, green spaces, saunas - you name it we’ve seen it.

Everyone will likely have their own means of keeping fit; a gym close to home, cycling to work, regular pilates classes, but wellness is a primary factor in feeling recharged and ready to go, so incorporating this into an office design is a no-brainer.

How about a dedicated relaxation or retreat room (as seen at the brand new Chancery House), or use of the kitchen for an all-team healthy eating initiative like cooking classes, which doubles as a team event.

No facilities on site? Or not looking to move soon? Get creative with your existing space! Set aside a meeting room for a weekly YouTube yoga session, encourage sharing of the best wellness apps - Headspace and Calm are two great ones, get a team squatting session going at every tea break, or invite people to try out something totally different after work - anyone fancy a bashment dance class? You could even crowdsource recipes, classes, workouts and apps into your own online ‘Feel Good Hub!’. 

Granted, we could sit here all day swooning over different office designs, but it’s one thing talking about it and another getting started with it, so whether you’re staying put for a while but need some quick refresher ideas, or on a quest to find your brand’s forever home and need to get it just right, we can help. 

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By Jess Ward, Content Marketing Manager

Want to know more?

Let's chat! You can call us on +44 020 3770 4279 or email hello@kontor.com

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