How to Design The Perfect Office Space For Total Productivity And Employee Morale

Published on 07/07/2020


  • Introduction 
  • Top 10 Features of a Quality Office Space
  • What Elements Are Most Important to Employees?
  • 5 Reasons Why Office Design Affects Morale And Productivity 
  • Can Office Design Affect Company Culture?
  • Let’s Talk Office Furniture
  • What About Lighting And Heating?
  • Tap Into Mother Nature’s Power With a Spot of Biophilic Office Design
  • 5 Things to Consider When Redesigning Your Existing Office
  • Conclusion

Creating a new office space or redesigning an existing one is something you shouldn’t take lightly. This is a project which requires attention, time, and plenty of forward-thinking. Planning is vital. Make one wrong move, and the entire office will have the wrong feel, affecting morale, productivity, and ultimately, profits. 

You might think that sounds pretty drastic, but the truth is that office design has more bearing on the success of your business than you might think. 

The way an office is designed, laid out, and decorated affects mood, creativity, idea generation, concentration, focus, and ultimately, how much work gets done. It can also contribute towards overall morale, which, if it remains high, keeps everyone happy and helps with staff retention.

All of this from ensuring that you creating the right office design for your space.

To take this a step further, the Fellowes Work Colleague of The Future Study outlines just how the way an office is designed and how we’re made to work within it can affect health and wellbeing. A huge 87% of workers state that they’d like their employer to provide them with a healthier working space. A few things employees would like to see include ergonomic office furniture, healthy snacks and meal options in the canteen, stand height tables to give a sit and stand routine, and wellness rooms. 

So, when you’re looking towards office design ideas, you also need to think about how the design and layout can impact on health too. 

There’s certainly a lot to take in, but this guide is going to give you the lowdown on what you can do to create the perfect office design for your space. ‘Perfect’ is probably a lofty ideal to reach for, but if you want the best quality outcome from your employees, you have to reach for the stars when it comes to giving them the best possible working environment!

Top 10 Features of a Quality Office Space

You could think forever about the different elements of a perfect contemporary office environment, but perhaps the best route is to identify the most important elements. 

Check out this infographic which outlines very useful statistics to bear in mind when planning your office design and layout. 

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Thinking about those statistics, how much work do you think you need to do on your current design? Is it almost there, or do you have quite the overhaul to think about? Either way, it’s useful to know the main features that you should be trying to incorporate into your space. Here are 10 features that make up the almost perfect office design.

  • Comfortable office furniture - Ergonomic office chairs, comfortable office desks, the list goes on. Employees need to be comfortable during their working day and that means they need supportive office furniture choices which are adjustable to their needs. 
  • Plenty of roaming space - Having your desks, chairs, and office storage solutions too close together not only creates a health and safety risk, but it’s annoying too! Give your employees enough space to move around freely and to be able to do their work without feeling too cramped together.
  • Enough natural light - Of course, it’s very unlikely that you can rely solely upon natural light, but you should do your best to have a good amount streaming in through the windows. Where you do need to think about artificial lighting, make sure there is no glare and it’s as sustainable as possible, so you’re doing your bit for the environment at the same time. 
  • Quality ventilation - The office needs to be not too hot, but not too cold. Of course, this can be an issue when you have some employees who are always cold and some who are always hot, but you should try and find a happy medium. It’s also a good idea to consider air conditioning, as this has many benefits which go beyond keeping the room cool. Check out this infographic which talks about the benefits of air conditioning at work. 

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  • A pleasing decor - Of course, the room needs to look good in order for people to feel good!  Whilst how the room functions and how it feels is important, the look is just as vital. Make sure you choose an office decor which sums up your brand but which also looks super-pleasing to the eye. 
  • Different zones to encourage more collaboration - If you’ve heard of the agile workplace before, you’ll know that this encompasses different zones. You’ll have collaborative zones, quiet zones, break zones, etc. However, having any type of zone within your office can help to encourage collaboration, which increases idea sharing and creative thinking. It’s easy to do this too, you simply make use of office space dividers to create a totally separate space. 
  • Add a little nature into your space - A little later on we’re going to talk about something called biophilic office design. This is the art of using elements of nature in your office, to help increase concentration, improve air quality, and basically look the part too. You can do this quite easily, by adding a few office plants, or you can go the whole hog and have a living wall!
  • Private spaces - Alongside collaborative zones, it’s also a good idea to have a space dedicated to quiet work. You can add in office booths to allow this to happen, so employees can head there for a quick time out if they need it, or they can sit somewhere without any noise if they really need to concentrate. 
  • Limited noise level - Acoustic panels are a great way to soak up background noise and help employees to work ina more calm and productive way. If this isn’t possible, simply spacing desks and chairs apart is a good option. Again, zones work well here as you can have a quiet zone when employees really need to concentrate. 
  • Everything works as it should - It goes without saying that all equipment and furniture should work as it is supposed to. Make sure you have everything electrical checked regularly and anything which isn’t working, e.g broken furniture, is repaired quickly. 

What Elements Are Most Important to Employees?

Before making any changes to your office design, it’s important to consult with your employees. They’re the ones who work in the office so they’re sure to have some important insights into what works and what doesn’t, and what they might like to see. 

By doing this, you’re also helping your employees to feel valued. When you ask for their opinion on something as important as this, it’s certainly going to boost morale. Of course, there is a very clear link between morale and productivity, and that quickly leads towards profits. 

Whilst every employee will probably have something slightly different to say, there are some common requests. The top 10 issues we talked about in our last section are always high up on the list, but employees want to work in an office which is comfortable, easy on the eye, and one which makes work easier. 

You should certainly think about an active working model here, as many employees find this useful. With that in mind, look towards stand height desks, which allow employees to alternate between periods of sitting and standing. This is ideal for health but it’s also great for giving a boost of concentration too. 

Whilst you might not have the budget to try and emulate the Microsoft and Google-style offices, you can take inspiration from them. These offices are bright, interactive, comfortable, and they have wide-open spaces which allow employees to choose where they want to work. 

Again, ask for opinions and try and work in whatever you can, but always think outside of the box and look towards modern and innovative ideas. 

5 Reasons Why Office Design Affects Morale And Productivity 

Before we get into some practical advice, let’s think about why office design affects morale and productivity so much. We know that these are both important aspects for a successful business, but it’s equally as vital to understand why. Only when you know why something is happening can you tap into its power and maximise it. 

Here are 5 main reasons why office design actually affects morale and therefore productivity as a whole. 

Colour in Office Decor Can Affect How You Feel 

Have you heard of colour psychology? It’s a very real thing. Certain colours make us feel a certain way. So, by choosing creative and inspiring colours you can actually help to create a space which is easier to work in, a space which inspires new ideas, and which basically uplifts people, rather than dragging them down. 

Check out this infographic for a quick overview of colour psychology. 

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When Everything Works, It’s Far Less Stressful 

It goes without saying that if you design your office so that desks and other furniture are spaced far apart, and you ensure that everything is working, with breakages fixed quickly, the space is less stressful in general. A stressful space doesn’t create high morale, it drags it down and makes everything harder and slower. So, by creating your office design with space in mind, and focusing on ensuring everything is working as it should, you’re helping to boost morale from the get-go. 

Plenty of Personal Space Puts You at East

It’s very stressful to work in an office with more desks cramped inside than the room actually has space for. You feel like everyone is too close to you and you can’t concentrate. It’s very easy for tempers to flare in this type of situation. So, by designing your office and giving everyone enough space to feel comfortable, you’re improving employee morale and therefore giving productivity a boost. 

A Healthier Space is an Upbeat Space

When you design your office with health and wellbeing in mind, employees feel good and therefore mood is boosted. We mentioned height adjustable desks earlier, and this is a good option to think about, but also active seating and ensuring adequate ventilation and natural light. These are all ways to boost health, whilst also helping to keep mood high too. 

Thinking About Optimum Layout Makes Life Easier

The final point is that when you create a layout with optimal productivity in mind, life is easier. For instance, if your office storage units are arranged in a haphazard way, it’s going to take time to find what you want. If your centralised printers are right over the other side of the office, it’s going to be time-consuming to keep getting up when you want to print. However, equally, if you place printers too close to desks, they’re going to kick out heat and noise, which is distracting and unhealthy. 

Spend some time drawing up your layout plan and making sure that you’ve found the optimal position for all your office furniture, storage, and equipment. Again, ask your employees what they think before going ahead with anything too. This boosts morale in its own right.

Sometimes, however, morale issues arise regardless of how you design an office. In that case, knowing how to fix the problem is key. Check out this video which talks about what to do when a morale problem arises. 

Can Office Design Affect Company Culture?

Company culture is ingrained in everything your business is and does. When you first started your business, you identified the mission statement you wanted your business to have, and now your business is up and running, your employees work in a way which mirrors that mission statement. The values your company has and continues to work within all create your company culture. So, can office decor ideas and how you lay your office out actually affect the company culture?


Get your office design wrong and you’ll find that the company culture you’ve worked so hard to cultivate is affected in a detrimental way. Get it right and you’ll find that it’s not only reflected in the office and how your employees work, but that it’s amplified too. 

When you’ve chosen a design which works, your employees will be able to communicate far more effectively, the workplace becomes more sociable and that means that collaboration rises. Ideas are shared, creative thinking is improved, and productivity rises as a result. All of this keeps your company culture positive and in place. 

For that reason, you also need to make sure that your office design mirrors your brand identity. This helps to keep positive company culture in place and tells visitors to the space who you are and what you’re about. 

Let’s Talk Office Furniture

When putting together your new office design, one of the most important elements is what you furnish it with. Office furniture needs to be stylish but most importantly, it needs to be comfortable. Ergonomic options are ideal if you have several people moving around the office and sitting in different chairs, but even if not, the ability to adjust an office chair is vital.

In addition, think about active seating in your collaborative areas. This includes the aforementioned height adjustable desks but also chairs which require a certain amount of balance to sit in them - these are ideal for working out your core whilst you’re coming up with great ideas!

Most offices will require office chairs, office desks, storage units, office tables to place equipment on, and perhaps bookcases or shelving. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t add in a few extras too. How about booths for quick meetings or time out spaces? Office space dividers are ideal for creating zones, and modern boardroom tables for your meeting spaces, which can be changed around according to the number of people using the space - this is called modular office furniture and it’s extremely flexible and therefore cost-effective.

When creating a modern look to your decor, have you ever thought about glass office desks? These tend to have a bad reputation because people assume they’re extremely hard to clean, but with a little guidance, they’re actually very easy to keep looking their best, whilst also giving a very sleek appearance to an office. When trying to achieve the highs of office interior design, opt for sleek and modern and you won’t go wrong!

What About Lighting And Heating?

Of course, you need to light and heat your room. We’ve already talked about the advantages of having plentiful natural light entering your office, but when you can’t rely upon natural lighting alone, what are your options?

Many offices are choosing LED lighting over fluorescent lighting, but you should weigh up the pros and cons of each according to the size of your office and how much lighting you actually need. If your office has very large windows and is quite bright naturally, you won’t need too much artificial lighting, compared to an office which has small windows or is on the back of a building, where the sun doesn’t reach for much of the day.

It’s vital that any flickering or glare is sorted out quickly, as soon as it is reported. This can easily cause headaches and affect the health of your employees. Of course, it also affects productivity too, whilst making morale nosedive. 

The reason why so many businesses are opting for LED lighting these days is that they’re far more energy-efficient. This saves money over the long-term but it also helps businesses to do their bit for the planet too. However, LEDs are more costly to install in the first place, which is something to consider. You could also think about solar lighting if you want to truly go down the sustainable energy route. 

If you do want to go for fluorescent lighting in the end, the good news is that this type of lighting has come along way since the old strip lights of old. They cause less glare than they used, but they’re still more expensive to use over the long-term, as they burn out faster. 

So, what about heating?

In the summer months, open those windows and let that fresh air in! If that’s not enough, you could think about air conditioning, which we’ve already mentioned. It goes without saying that you should have your air conditioning units served regularly, to ensure they’re circulating clean and fresh air. If that’s not possible for you, due to cost or because you simply don’t want to go down that route, you could think about large office fans or individual desk fans for those who want them. 

The winter months tend to be more of a challenge. This is when you have employees who are quite warm without heating and those who are freezing and need it! It’s important to find a piece of middle ground to ensure that everyone is happy, however, having a too-hot or too-cold office is not a good thing either.

If you have central heating, set it to a timer so it’s not on all the time, therefore keeping the office temperate, saving money and also doing your bit for the environment to a degree. Some air conditioning units also blow hot air, which is something you could consider.

Whichever option you go for, make sure that your office isn’t so hot that it’s hard to stay awake, or so cold that you think Frosty The Snowman might make an appearance at any moment!

Tap Into Mother Nature’s Power With a Spot of Biophilic Office Design

A little earlier in the guide, we touched upon something called biophilic design. Check out this video which talks in more detail about what this is and why it’s important. 

Within an office, you can encompass elements of nature quite easily. For instance, you can have large office plants around, perhaps a water feature where its safe to do so, or you can have individual plants on desks. You can also think about the decor of your office by decorating in natural colours, such as green, blue, beige, etc. 

Biophilic office designs have been shown to increase employee productivity, reduce stress, purify the air to make the office healthier, and increase happiness for your employees spending their working days at their designer office desks. 

Some offices have gone a step further and really designed their office around Mother Nature’s power. Living walls and even real trees in the office are great additions! However, it’s worth mentioning that these do take some upkeep and cost money to begin with, so if you’re tempted to go down this route, be sure you have the time and money to maintain the look and keep your living elements healthy.  

5 Things to Consider When Redesigning Your Existing Office

We’ve covered a lot of ground so far, but before we finish, let’s sum up a few things you need to bear in mind before you change the look of your office, or perhaps start designing a new office from scratch. There are some things that you really need to think about first, and by ensuring that you’re covering all bases ahead of time, you’ll run into far fewer problems along the way, and ensure you have a quality result at the end. 

Here are five things you need to think about before you start redesigning your office.

  1. Your budget - How much of a budget do you really have to redesign your office? It’s important to stay within your budget as much as you possibly can, so planning things out ahead of time and being realistic with your costs is a vital part of the deal. 
  2. How much time do you have? - Can your employees continue to work in the office whilst work is being carried out or do they need to work in an alternative location in the meantime? Can the work be done over a weekend to minimise disruption? Think carefully about how long the project is going to take and how much disruption may be caused in the meantime. If this amounts to a lot of upheavals, you might need to think about whether it’s worthwhile in the long run, or whether there is a better way of going about the whole thing. 
  3. What do your employees want? - We’ve mentioned this a couple of times, but what do your employees want to see in the new design? Be sure to ask them as they’re the ones actually spending their working days in that room! They may also have some great ideas to share with you, considering that they spend more time in the office than you do. 
  4. What is your vision for the office? - What do you want the office to look like, and what do you want to improve? Make sure that the plan you have actually ticks those boxes and doesn’t simply change a few things here and there. Also, make sure that the office reflects your company brand and doesn’t confuse visitors when they walk in. 
  5. How much space do you actually have? - Finally, you need to be realistic about how much space you have to change things around and whether any structural amendments need to be made. If so, are these realistic and how much is it going to cost to complete them? A quality office has plentiful space, but doesn’t have employees sitting too far apart! It’s about finding the perfect piece of middle ground, but a lot of this is dictated to by how much space you have in the first place. There are some things that cannot actually be changed!

Make sure you think carefully about these five points before you start to make any changes. It’s very easy to go over budget by not planning things properly. There will always be hitches and snags along the way, so make sure you have enough spare budget and time to overcome these problems, and your new office vision should come to fruition before you know it!


The word ‘perfect’ is thrown around a lot, however, everyone’s idea of perfect is unique. When creating your ‘perfect’ office design, make sure that it is in keeping with what your employees want, and that it sets a great first impression on anyone who walks into the space. 

Remember, first impressions are vital in business. It’s never easy to change a negative first impression into something positive and it can be the smallest thing which ensures the impression goes south. By thinking carefully beforehand and imagining what it would be like to walk into the space, you should be able to side-step any potential issues before they have the chance to arise. 

However, more importantly, creating a quality office space gives your employees somewhere supportive and comfortable to work. This ensures higher productivity, and at the end of the day, that also means more profits for the business. 

You don’t have to make huge structural changes to an office to create something impressive. Much of the time it comes down to small finishing touches which take your design from mediocre to ‘wow’. You simply need to think outside of the box!

So, start brainstorming, ask your employees what they think and take on board all their suggestions. Shop around and plan things carefully. By doing that, you’re sure to create the perfect office space for your needs.

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