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Seven Questions To Ask When Designing Your Office It may be a cliché, but it's true: you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

By Irshad Jaleel

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It may be a cliché, but it's true: you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. In just a glance, your potential client will enter your office and they will make up their minds about you and your company. The way your office space is designed thus matters a lot- there are limitless ways that you can convey the success and professionalism of your business within milliseconds. Here are a few pointers for new or existing businesses looking to avoid the cubicle trap and spice up their workplace:

1. What kind of office features will you need?

Think about meeting rooms, storage needs, break rooms and printing areas. Make a list in order of priority, and then work from there. Your Vault of Spaces design team will help to calculate the square footage required for each of these amenities.

2. Think about how do different departments interact?

When thinking about the general layout of a floor plan, consider how the departments of your business will work together. Accountants normally operate on their own, but marketing and design frequently collaborate- place those teams accordingly so as to maximize productivity.

3. Do I want areas for employees to socialize and relax?

Everyone loves hanging out and working in a coffee shop. Consider turning your boring break area into a coffee shop. Cool tables and chairs or a bar area where employees can access Wi-Fi, work, drink coffee, and work along other co-workers. You can also make sure to incorporate other areas that allow people to relax and socialize such as work out rooms and outside eating areas.

4. What are your workflow needs?

Think about if your business is more collaborative, or if people need more private offices. If the business model supports people working together in groups, then a more open layout makes sense. Otherwise, make sure to factor in enough spaces for private offices and breakout areas. That way, you start the design process with the right ratio of open areas to private offices.

5. How much office space do you need?

In the past office space designers would estimate about 250 sq.ft. per person, which accounted for a number of hard wall offices and other private rooms. These days, depending on the industry and culture, that number has been reduced to about 125 to 200 sq.ft. per person. In addition with more people being allowed to work remotely, your office may only be partially occupied at any given time.

6. How do I make my reception area warm and welcoming?

The reception area is the first impression someone is going to have of the company. So, it's important to create a comfortable and hospitable atmosphere. You can impart a feeling of warmth by allowing daylight to stream in and by making artificial lighting indirect and soft. Specific paint colors to convey a certain vibe: creams and beiges for sophistication, blues for honesty and loyalty, and greens for prestige. Finally, the overall space should not be imposing. If it is a large lobby, for example, we create pockets of space within that volume for people to have a comfortable place to go.

7. Focus on location, location, location.

You will want a office space that is convenient, safe and easy to find. Look for space that has been vacant for a while, or is not being used to capacity. You may be able to work a good deal with the landlord or property manager to secure an inexpensive lease.

Office space planning does not need to be -and frankly should never be- a daunting or time consuming process. Rather, it can be efficient, enjoyable and highly effective. It simply takes asking the right questions at the right time, and working with the proven professionals -like us at Vault of Spaces- to bring your vision to life: on time, on budget, and without stress!

Related: Six Tips To Update Your Workspace For The Office Renaissance

Irshad Jaleel

CEO, Vault of Spaces

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