Office Interior Design Mistakes to Avoid


Let’s face it, not everyone has a knack for office design. As an office manager, you may have no difficulty choosing an appropriate color scheme for the walls, but you may not understand space restrictions or be up to date with the latest advancements in productivity-enhancing ergonomic office furniture – and you are bound to make costly mistakes. If you’re thinking to redesign your current office space or move into a new building, here are some of the most common office interior design errors you ought to steer clear from.

  1. Choosing Quality or Price over Comfort

Toronto Office Interior Design

When it comes to office furniture, your focus should be not on price or quality as much as it should be on comfort.  Whether you’re planning to spend less than $300 for a task chair or throw a couple of thousands on an award-winning design, chances are you may be looking at the same result: tired employees lacking motivation and productivity.

What you should know is that not all office furniture is created equally, and your mission is to acquire furniture that makes sense for your employees. According to ergonomists, choosing the right office chair is, in many ways, similar to finding a good pair of shoes: while you pay attention to materials, quality, and aesthetics, it is ultimately how comfortable you feel in them that really matters. Not to mention the money it can save your company in the long run!

  1. Not Listening to Your Employees’ Needs

Higher salaries won’t automatically lead people to perform at a higher level – commitment, motivation, and work ethic are not based on pay. Setting up a work environment that operates at its full potential should, according to Harvard Business Review:

  • Nurture individual differences
  • Allow and promote the sharing of information
  • Invest in employees rather than merely expecting them to be an investment for your company
  • Establish important corporate values employees can get behind
  • Ensure the work is intrinsically rewarding
  • Make the environment work for the people rather than against them
  1. Not Reflecting Your Brand

The best brands are those that inform both employees and visitors of the company’s mission and expression. Initially brought forward by innovative corporations such as Google, the concept of space as a powerful vehicle for communicating a brand is now widely recognized in the workplace. After all, a strong brand helps differentiate your business among the competition and impacts your customers’ perceptions about your company. In order to align design with brand, you can make use of Locksmith Vancouver, furniture, storage solutions, lighting, and flooring to:

  • Address all the aspects of how your company functions
  • Provide support for different styles of work
  • Create an emotional connection to the people who will experience your office environment
  • Ensure that your office design will be able to grow with your company over time
  1. Doing It All Yourself

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Contrary to what most people think, office interior design isn’t as easy as purchasing fancy furniture and placing it into a room. Office space planning and designing involve many more factors and knowledge that us regular people usually overlook. Getting the help of a professional space planner who knows all the ins and outs of office interior design comes with numerous short- and long-term benefits, including:

  • Improving worker efficiency
  • Refreshing office atmosphere
  • Enhancing worker safety
  • Improving means of attracting and retaining key talent
  • Improving means of impressing potential clients
  • Ensuring compliance with all the regulations in place
  • Improving employee health and wellbeing
  • Saving money
  1. Not Ensuring a Balance between Open and Private Spaces

No matter how many critics the open-plan office has, it continues to be the dominant form of office design because it fosters collaboration and nurtures a powerful culture. In order to make it work for everyone, however, the focus should be not only on opening the space as much as possible, but also on offering employees the private time they need to individually concentrate on their work. Your goal here is to strike a balance between public and private work areas and prevent the excessive collaboration from assaulting workers’ privacy.

  1. Not Designing for Collaboration

Rather than calculating how many cubicles you can fit in your new space, you should focus on planning every setting as a collaborative setting. This means creating plentiful common meeting areas outside the desk area where employees can meet and brainstorm, as well as enclaves and project areas for brainstorm sessions. You also want to encourage workers to switch from ‘assigned seating‘ to build stronger and more meaningful relationships with key members of the team.

  1. Forgetting about Reception Space

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The reception area is most probably the space both employees and clients will see most whenever they enter your premises. For many of them, it will be the only room they see, so allotting sufficient space to accommodate the right seating, tables, and reception desk can play an important role in sending your corporate message forward. The reception area must be, first of all, welcoming, secure, aesthetically-pleasing, and professionally-looking. It should express and support your brand and corporate image, but it also must be practical to allow the receptionist to fulfill all his/her work tasks and other functions. If space is limited, talk to your office space planner to create a multi-functional space that can double as a meeting area and support short-duration interactions between employees and clients.

Designing a new office space should be an exciting and fun experience. In many cases, however, it ends up being a costly disaster, especially when owners take complicated matters such as space layout and employee safety into their hands. Whether you’re refurbishing a small space or designing a new office from scratch, the skills and knowledge of an experienced office space planner will diminish the margin for error and help you envision your future workspace.

About the Author Lynne Lemieux

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.

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