Making office space engaging for visitors
The evolution of office space
Office spaces have evolved over the last few decades. Your average office environment contained lots of small, enclosed units with people working in confined spaces. Today, open plan offices through glass walls dominate and communal seating areas in bright and airy environments are more commonplace. Whilst there are merits to both architectural layouts, the trend towards more open spaces has led to happier workforces and that in turn increases productivity.
The advances in architectural design now allow for the consideration of numerous senses. Designers are aware of how the acoustics of a space affects the ability of people to have conversations. The consideration of light and colour plays an important part in the mood of the area, and a range of materials are used to give consideration to the sense of touch. These considerations must be balanced with the need to provide a safe working environment that meets statutory requirements. And improvements in signage and printing techniques is leading to better wayfinding signage for those with accessibility needs.
Office workers soon become accustomed to their surroundings, but visitors may be entering an office environment for the first time and quickly need to orientate themselves. However, they don’t want to be deluged with signage, so it is increasingly important to consider the wayfinding scheme for an office space and how the visitor intends to use the space that they visit. The impression that visitors form upon arrival at an office tends to set the mood for how the office will be perceived. In some industries - particularly law and finance, which are perceived as both conservative and professional - trust and reliability are of paramount importance, and this split-second assessment can make all the difference when potential clients are deciding whether or not you might be truly dependable. Poorly designed and placed signs can give a bad first impression, to such an extent that individuals could lose trust before meeting any individuals in the office.
Signage is a great way to reinforce positive branding messages on a daily basis as an intrinsic part of the physical environment - and for a workforce, this can be a great way to subtly influence the attitude of employees. Arriving to the workplace every day and being greeted with dark colours and dull typeface will set up a different mood to arriving at a building with bright colours and vibrant typeface. Whilst the initial consideration might be how employees will perceive the welcome, consideration should be given to visitors and potential customers that will get an impression about the company based on what they see and sense.
While office spaces vary in size and layout, you may find that the appropriate – and usually subtle - use of colour adds a welcoming dimension, and well-thought-out lighting highlights certain features. You could incorporate unconventional furniture and fittings to bring a dash of flair to the environment if appropriate, or make use of engaging signage features such as halo illumination LED lighting, neon signage or digital signage displays.
Appropriate use of features and signage is a great way to help form the right attitudes in the minds of visitors and workers alike, and create an overall sense of fun, or professionalism, or creativity, or trust, depending on the business. There is no set rule about design, form, colours features and signage. Every office and workspace will be different, and a detailed review and consultation on what is likely to work is the only way to really make the most of this often-ignored opportunity.
Consider our capabilities in office signs in your next project.