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How do we spruce up a drab office on the cheap?

Monday, 18 March | by Jacqueline Lehmann


The battle between functionality and aesthetics has been at the heart of design since our ancestors first fashioned crude tools from rocks. So when it comes to sprucing up your workspace to make people enjoy coming to work, what is the right approach to take?


The first thing to do is look at the fundamentals. Although the study of workplace design is still in its infancy, we already know that simple things such as good lighting and adequate daylight can reduce absenteeism by 15% and increase productivity by up to 20%.


If your space is dark, try adding mirrors that reflect the natural light that does come through, and think about adding desktop lights.


When it comes to grey and dull there are a number of different options to consider. Consider bringing some colour in, whether it's a brightly painted wall, pictures, photographs or exciting objects. We've found that some of our most forward thinking customers like to add special touches to their spaces, and have fielded some interesting requests over the years.


Google, for example, insisted on having a foosball table and massage chair when they opened their Lisbon office.


Closer to home, one SME client in the finance industry once asked us to help find and install a large screen TV and computer games console in their space. You may not want to shell out on an Xbox or PlayStation, but adding some fun board games to your common areas can be just as good.


One thing we’ve consistently seen in our research is that people want control over where and how they work, so why not ask your team to creatively decorate their space.


Consider making it a company challenge, giving them a small budget and rewarding the most interesting space with a small prize.


At the end of the day, the main goal should be to engage your staff with where they work. What better way to help people take ownership of where they work than by letting them make it their own?


Alternatively, if your existing space really is that bad, why not think out of the box and implement a more flexible way of working across your team.


After all, these days work is something you do, not necessarily somewhere you go. Allow your employees to work from home some mornings or evenings, or give them the tools they need to work on-the-road.


There are a number of cloud IT services tailored specifically for SMEs that shouldn't break the bank – and you may even find that this approach saves money in the long term when it comes to staff retention and productivity.

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