Striking the Balance between Form and Function in Offices

A bright, colorful and cozy breakout area in ideo's london office, filled with sofas, art, decor and a long bookshelf

One of our friends works in a beautifully decorated, trendy co-working office. However, six months working there day-in and day-out, the cracks have begun to show. Employee coffee cups are all chipped; paper-thin walls mean whispers are necessary to avoid being overheard; and the facilities barely work, at best.

As designers, we can’t help but ask when hearing this: is this ‘beautiful design’ substance, or is it just veneer?

Retail Often Gets it Right

In our twenty years in the interior design industry, we have found that retailers tend to get the balance between form and function right.

For their businesses to sell, their shop fronts and retail spaces must not only look beautiful, but also they need to work for customers, too. Stepping one foot into an Apple Store, or into Ikea’s organised, user-friendly layout, shows this.

Is your Office Really Fitting Its Purpose?

Yet within the office industry, the relationship between customer-and-business isn’t as clear-cut. Employees also play a huge factor and are at the heart of business performance. And while there have been many studies inextricably linking employee output and office design, many employers still don’t consider office design a good business investment.

In other words: your meeting room may have beautifully decorated wallpaper on it – but if you can hear a confidential client meeting happening in the room next door, is your office really fitting its purpose?

Make your Office Space Work for You

The key to ensuring you’ve struck the balance between form and function is understanding how your space is used. Putting in the right storage, furniture, layout and flow can be the difference between increased profit and slow process.

Our advice to office managers, particularly in the creative industries: become more aware of your surroundings. Your office may be stylish, but is the layout, furniture and design helping your employees work the most efficiently? Ensure that your space works for both clients and for your staff, and you will see increased performance.

When it comes to office design, ‘one size fits all’ simply cannot apply. Each company has its own unique culture, needs and tastes. This is why having an interior designer come in to help is so important. Investing in the most efficient design for your office is investing in your company’s staff, productivity – and its future.

Is your office in need of a fresh pair of eyes and some TLC? Get in touch to discuss your needs. We’d love to help.