Office Design Faux Pas to Avoid

Bad office design - Design Faux Pas to avoid

Whether you are re-organising, refurbishing or undergoing a full office relocation and fit-out project it is important to understand even the finest of details from the very beginning to ensure the finished outcome not only looks and feels good but is the right fit for your business now and into the future.

Here are a few design faux pas you may want to avoid!

No individuality:

I have 50 x employees, that’s 50 x workstations, 50 x pedestals, 50 x chairs, 50 x screens, 50 x monitor arms, 50, 50, 50.  Take the time to listen and understand the individuals in your business – they may save you money! Does every employee need a desk and a pedestal? Perhaps you could create drop-in desk space for shared use. Maybe you could create a semi-private space using lockers or storage as a divide eliminating the need for pedestals?

As individuals, we learn and work in different ways, understanding and taking these ways of learning into account will ultimately make your workforce a happy and productive one. For example, those that learn better with visual aids and work better with others will probably benefit from a collaborative team space to work. Whereas those who prefer to read/listen, may want a place where they can sit down away from any distraction.

No Collaboration:

Occasionally floorplan drawings show maximum occupancy within an open plan space in order to get an idea on maximum numbers for future growth. A faux pas on this would be to move directly into a near capacity sea of workstation space with no consideration to employee engagement, or any kind of team meeting space, or room for growth.

Avoid a sea of workstations.  It’s never fun re-arranging the furniture in order to gather round the end of someone’s desk for a quick informal meeting whilst tripping over handbags and fallen coats of the back of chairs. The great thing about today’s furniture and the way offices are designed is that they are flexible and can adapt to your needs, as and when they change.

No Meeting or Quiet Space:

Similar to above, for some employees, the word ‘open plan’ sends a wave of uncertainty over them, as sometimes offices can be noisy environments. Some people just work better with a little quiet from time to time.

Shhhhh! Once upon a time you may have said ‘You can’t please everyone’, but with the development of handheld devices and cloud technology, it’s possible to work from pretty much anywhere! Giving you a very good opportunity to please more than most. Listen to your team, understand the way they work to provide different ways of working within a space to meet those needs. A meeting room that doubles up as a quite space for the ‘I need to concentrate’ worker or why not add a few acoustic high back tub chairs suitable for personnel to take a phone call away from their computer.

No Realism:

When it comes to office design, the options are endless and the list of finishes are vast meaning the cost can easily skyrocket, should you start choosing gold over steel (for a simple example) or you start adding slides between floors to your ever growing ‘WANT’ list. So it’s important to understand your budget constraints and the realistic benefits some more elaborate items will bring to your company and employees. A great design firm can work with you to create an office environment that works for you and to your budget, so it’s important to know your limits to avoid disappointment.

No Function:

The above leads nicely into this faux pas, where the excitement for gadgets and elaborate out-of-the-box ideas can spiral off it to having zero impact on your employee’s productivity. Don’t get us wrong, creating collaborative spaces for employees to break away from the desk are really important and an office chair made from a Vintage Vespa, yes please! put that on my Christmas list! BUT is it going to give you that wanted ROI?

Faking it badly:

A late addition to this post, but after visiting a coffee shop in Guildford, we thought it appropriate to add. Especially with the Modern Rustic look of exposed bricks and industrial lighting etc now creeping into our workplace environments. As previously mentioned in our post: Getting Exposed in the Workplace

“…if the office space doesn’t have bare brick walls, Landlords and tenants are even faking them to make their spaces more desirable, and in trend with the Modern Rustic look.”

So one of the best ways to fake a brickwall, is to use a product known as Brick Slips, these are essential small slices of a brick and then used in a tiling manner. And this is how not to do it.

If you would like to talk to someone about how you can future proof your office environment without doing it twice, get in touch. We would be more than happy to help find the right fit for your business.

Case Studies

  • warehouse fit-out
  • office interior design of a reception counter with with fabric snowflake screen

Avoid Common Fit-Out Problems with this Handy Office Refurbishment Guide

stress free guide to workplace design

Download now for a stress-free office refurbishment plus tips on how to design your office for success!


We are accredited Interior Specialists and SafeContractor Approved. Click for more Info.

      FIS Logo

Blog Posts