The new workplace: watch this space

Here, Phil Sugden, sales and marketing director at Portal Group, tells us how to transform your office workspace.

The modern workplace has certainly moved on from the days of sterile white cubicles and grey carpet tiles. In the face of unending innovation, evolving trends and a wealth of passing fads, small businesses considering a move or an office makeover have more choices than ever before.

There are a number of key trends and considerations to bear in mind and these shouldn’t be overlooked or dismissed as only for bigger companies.

Whether a business is expanding, refurbishing an existing office or relocating, the modern workspace is much more than just desks, chairs and a water cooler.

Whether there are two of you or two hundred – your staff’s ability to do their jobs effectively and comfortably is what makes a successful business and to ensure the best environment, an effective workspace must take into account, and help shape, staff wellbeing and company culture.

Beyond functional

While the offices of the past focused primarily on functionality and meeting the practical needs of running a business, the balance between the old and the new can be achieved through a number of clever design techniques: small changes that put people at the centre.

Space – room to breathe!

Whatever the size of your business, create a comfortable space. Contemporary spaces such as breakout areas and layouts that are less regimented and boxed-in than a traditional flat office are a great way of creating a working environment that promotes creativity and face to face time with colleagues.

It’s about creating space wherever you can and this approach is the perfect way of promoting a more open and communicative culture within your business.

Colour – express yourself!

It sounds obvious but bright colour can bring life to a workspace, whether by enforcing your brand identity or by creating a personality, a unique feel and atmosphere for every area and space.

Furniture – do away with bulk!

The rising popularity and embracement of flexible working patters means large, bulky desks designed for desk-top computers are increasingly a thing of the past. Lightweight laptops mean that smaller desks can work better and that’s fantastic news for your space.

Contemporary furniture such as pods and stools create a series of touch down points throughout an office space to facilitate impromptu meetings and team gatherings and create more light and airy spaced for your permanently based staff.

Flooring – map it out!

Want to point your staff in the right direction? Shape your walkways and accentuate particular spaces with colourful flooring tiles or carpets. This can help drive traffic around desks and towards open, meeting spaces once again facilitating an interactional and communicative workplace.

Coffee – an office essential!

The importance of a good cup of coffee in a workplace should never be underestimated.

‘Dark as dishwater’ instant coffee and machine break downs are becoming a thing of the past as modern vending machines offer an array of innovative, efficient and tasty caffeine solutions.

The modern customer will go out of their way to purchase ‘barista’ style full-bean coffee ahead of cheap instant produce and they expect the same in the workplace.

The growing number of companies choosing to invest in good quality vending machines is testament to a decade of unparalleled progress and the end of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to coffee.

By making these changes to workplace design, staff will be better engaged, more motivated to work, comfortable and excited to come to work, making you a productive and successful business.

Written by Phil Sugden, sales and marketing director at Portal Group.

Further reading on workplace

Hot-desking: The benefits for a small business

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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Office workspace

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