Experience and education have long been the two most important prerequisites for executive-level candidates, but in today’s world, what sets leaders apart from the rest of the world is not just their diploma up on the wall or a relevant background in the field. It’s a combination of how they act, how they communicate, and how they look that makes it easy for some to command a room, compelling people to stop and listen to what they have to say. More than having relevant experience and education, executives must be able to solve problems, motivate others, act with speed and agility in a fast-paced environment, be creative, and be emotionally intelligent. And their office must enable them to be all that.
No longer does decorating an executive office have anything to do with impressive furniture and expensive artwork. Here are four principles that should govern the perfect executive office design plan:
A smart office layout with separate work zones to do concentration and reflection and shared spaces that encourage collaboration with teammates open up the office, making it light, airy, and friendly. Glass walls seem to be the coming trend that conveys at best the concept of order, control, clearness, and elegance any leader should identify himself/herself with. An office is supposed to be inspiring, but not only to the executive working inside, but also to employees looking through the walls, a powerful symbol of leadership that takes down some of the office boundaries and encourages collaboration between management and subordinates.
High-grade materials and the combination of smooth surfaces, soft and delicate to the touch, sit at the heart of effective executive office design. There’s nothing to convey the perception of high quality and absolute equilibrium like the union of cold metal and warm wood. Executive seating, office desks, and meeting tables should propose a complex simplicity, the one that creates measured furnishing geometries, but also establishes a sense of air, light, and versatility. Choose contemporary designs that exude elegance and express the corporate culture, but which also highlight the office as a place of interaction and communication. On top of everything else, your professional space needs to come across as warm, light, and friendly, in order to make both clients and subordinates feel comfortable and at ease.
Image is a very important factor in the executive suite, but comfort and support are also crucial aspects to consider when selecting executive seating, desks, storage solutions, and other furniture pieces. Whether on casters or glides, with a leader of fabric seat, or wood or non-wood base, an executive chair must exude sophistication and subtle elegance without you having to say a word. A reclining back will allow you to sit comfortably for prolonged periods, while the height adjustment for shoulder and lumbar areas, in addition to seat-height adjustment and tilt control, will provide individualized comfort and a sophisticated look. Aside from seamlessly coexisting with any furniture environment and bringing a touch of class to any space, executive seating must be engineered in such a way to stimulate both your body and mind.
In addition to being representative without being bold or opulent, executive office furniture must meet the strict functionality requirements of the modern office environment. A chair that supports a correct posture, a desk whose surface moves along with you, monitor arms that provide effortless adjustment, or task lighting that provides excellent ergonomic light output should be integral parts of the ergonomic workstation. ‘Ergonomics’ is much more than a buzzword, in a world where we sit more than we sleep, having the necessary support that prevents back pain, fatigue, and decreases the possibility of chronic illness is absolutely imperative for the wellbeing of both executives and the company as a whole.
Lynne Lemieux, Founder and President of Alliance Interiors Inc., has devoted more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing growth opportunities for some of Canada's leading office furniture dealers. Her ability to provide clients with inspiring and versatile interior solutions for both business and home office environments has garnered her title of Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year in the city of Toronto for 2012. In her spare time, Lynne takes an active interest in politics, public speaking, and philanthropy, but also enjoys gardening, interior decorating, cooking, yoga, and traveling.