Whether you’re just starting out, moving to a new space, redesigning your office, or optimizing your space, it’s important to think about corporate branding before you get started. If you think that branding is just a buzzword that is used by the big guys, you’re missing out on important benefits. Building a brand helps potential customers recognize who you are when they see your logo, but it’s more than just the logo. Your brand communicates what type of company you are. For example, you could be environmentally conscious, hip-and-happening, the little guy that takes on the world, the company that produces only the latest and greatest, or the firm that truly cares.
Now that we have convinced you that you need to worry about corporate branding, you may wonder what that has to do with branding your office space. We’re so glad you asked.
Office Branding – What For?
We all know companies with a mission statement that seems almost opposite of the true customer experiences. That has to do with the fact that visions and missions are created at the corporate level and merely communicated to the rest of the company. To ensure that your company presents itself to the world in alignment with its mission, you must take steps to instill that mission in your employees. It starts with your workspace. If your company claims to be creative and innovative, then your office should reflect that. Unfortunately, it’s easy to design a bland, utilitarian environment when you focus on saving space and keeping it simple. That’s why we have come up with some ideas for you here.
1. Envision Your Space
Before you start buying furniture, wall art, and equipment, you must come up with a plan for your office design. It’s great if you can create a 3-D drawing of the workspace to envision the effects of your changes. You’ll be looking for cohesiveness, or a theme that connects your office from one corner to the other. Ideally, your entire office should communicate at a glance what’s most important to your business.
2. Get Quirky
While you want your office space to be functional and clean, you need to infuse some of your company’s spirit into the area. While you may want to incorporate your logo and maybe your motto on the walls, you should also think about using unique items. It could be a kitschy accessory, but you must think about what your company stands for to find the right items. Instead of buying something from a designer, you could repurpose a product you sell. For example, a glass bottle manufacturer could use empty glass bottles to create a stained window effect. If you don’t know what else to do, you could use your product to spell out your company’s name or motto as a last resort. If your products are too big to display in your offices, you can also use a picture of a creative use of them on your walls.
3. Bring Nature Inside
Even though humans are predominantly indoor creatures, we need the great outdoors to feel whole and creative. Traditional office designs recognize this and try to create an outdoor feeling by adding natural lighting and large windows. We think you could take it a step further and bring the outdoors inside. For example, an office that includes wood panels looks homier than the traditional grey cubicle setup. And while it’s easy and inexpensive to get several big plants for your office, few companies actually do that. Dare to be different and add some cozy details to your office to explain to your employees and customers what you’re all about.
4. Keep It Round
Modern office buildings typically have boring white walls and efficient 90-degree angles. In fact, even desks and chairs are shaped like rectangles and squares, which may look interesting but usually feels sterile. In fact, few people would feel comfortable to have an intimate conversation in such surroundings. Our feelings are to blame here. We just don’t feel comfortable in an environment that’s not aesthetically pleasing. If we encountered a similar space in nature, we would be concerned, because it’s clearly not designed for us to flourish.
Adding rounded objects and straying away from straight lines can make a big difference for how your space feels. Don’t worry - you can keep your walls straight. But when you paint them, you could go for curved or wavy lines, or you could use textured wallpaper. Alternatively, you can decorate with rounded art and put in desks with rounded corners.
5. Add Casual Spaces
Most employers don’t want their employee to stand around and chitchat, but that’s precisely what could get their creative juices flowing and help them solve problems. For employees to meet, you need casual spaces in your office that are not just used for lunch. When employees have the opportunity to brainstorm away from their desks, they’re more creative. It’s even better when they can do that in a relaxed environment, whether that’s a lounge chair, hammock, or a couch.
Similarly, when two or more employees have to get together to work things out, they need a place to do this, because standing at your co-workers desk is uncomfortable. It also gives you the feeling that you don’t belong there, and your supervisor would probably agree. If your processes rely on collaboration and teamwork, you should consider adding a community table. Community tables bring people together and make them feel like they’re on the same team, which is great for your company.
6. Rearrange Periodically
Even if you create the most ingenious office space ever, there will come a time when it’s less beneficial for your employees. After they get comfortable with the workspace design, they will utilize it to the fullest. But if everything remains the same year after year, your employees become sort of immune to it. They don’t see how great it is, unless you occasionally stick them in a cubicle to help them appreciate their normal work surroundings.
The solution: rearrange periodically. It’s like hiding someone’s stapler, but on a grand scale. Just imagine the look on your employees’ faces when they come to work on Monday, and everything looks different. We think rearranging might be worth it just for that. Seriously, our brains are on high alert when they meet with unexpected surroundings. The initial shock would wear off, and your employees will start discovering new things everywhere, including their current work processes.
7. Look Down
Everyone is always worried about maximizing space, but a cluttered office actually hampers creativity. One space that is often underutilized is the flooring. Since most offices have tile or laminate floors, this is a great opportunity for you to do something different. If you frequently have visitors, you could help them find their way around with coordinated symbols on your floors – but do something other than a simple arrow.
You can also put uplifting quotes on your floors. Those would be perfectly positioned to reach the people who need it: they’re already looking down because they feel down in the dumps. Don’t make the writing too predictable, either, and have fun with it!
8. Throw Out Your Whiteboards
How creative do you feel when you’re staring at a blank whiteboard? Probably not very. We feel the same way. That’s why we recommend throwing out boring whiteboards and replacing them with our glass boards. These can be customized to have any picture you want, but you can use them to write down ideas. When you’re done with your brainstorming session, you just wipe them, and they’re back to being a work of art. It’s multi-purposing at its best, and you can use it for corporate branding by choosing the image that best fits your business.
9. Make Everyone Feel Welcome
It doesn’t matter what type of company you are – if you want people to do business with you, you have to make them feel welcome in your office. You should also make your employees feel welcome. How would you feel if you noticed a sign upon entering that greeted you personally? You can easily use our glass boards to write a welcoming message to a client or customer who is visiting. They’ll appreciate the thought that went into it.
You may not be able to write a personal message for each of your employees, but you can personalize the message on the board each day. For example, it could read “Howdy! We’re glad you’re here today!”, “Good morning! Come by the conference room for coffee and donuts today!”, “It’s Friday! We’re as excited as you are!”. Come to think of it, we want that job of whoever is coming up with the message.