23 May 2024

5 Tips for a Low-cost Office Design Update that Your Employees Will Love

A well-designed office isn't just about aesthetics; it significantly impacts productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall workplace culture. However, revamping your office space doesn't necessarily mean a crazy expenditure.

With a strategic approach and a little creativity, it's possible to make updates that your employees will love. Here are 5 tips that you can start doing today with almost no budget.


1. Plan your space wisely

When creating an optimal workspace, the first step is to plan the utilization of the office layout using Humane Design principles, ensuring the environment supports both individual and team needs.

Assessing your current layout

Begin by evaluating your current office setup to determine what works well and what needs improvement. This will help you make efficient decisions, prioritizing cost-effective updates. 

Here are a few steps to guide you through this process:

  1. Space utilization: Walk through your space and see how different areas are used. Are there spaces that consistently go unused or areas that are always busy or overbooked? This might indicate a need for reassignment of functions or a shift in layout.
  2. Employee feedback: Since your team uses the space daily, their feedback is invaluable. Gather thoughts on what works in the current setup and what doesn’t. This might include points on meeting areas, or personal space.
Recommendation: balanced workspace utilization

To enhance both functionality and well-being, implement these quick updates:

  1. Invest in workspace management tech. With room management solutions such as Joan 6 Pro, it’ll be easier for your employees to avoid over-crowding one meeting space by gaining visibility on all the available meeting rooms. Additionally, with a desk booking solution, you can more strategically plan hybrid workspaces and ensure there aren’t too many/too few desks. 
  2. Build space visual harmony: Maintain a visually appealing workspace by having designated areas for personal items, decor, and community spaces. This not only keeps the workplace organized but also ensures that personal touches don't overwhelm the professional environment.


2. Add a splash of color: paint strategies

The right paint can transform a workspace from boring to inspiring, making it an effective way to significantly impact the mood and productivity of your team.

Paint the walls

The colors you choose for your office walls do more than just decorate the space; they influence emotions and behaviors. Here are some tips to follow before you dive into painting:

  1. Understand color psychology: Different colors evoke different feelings. For example, blues and greens are calming and improve focus, while yellows can inspire creativity.
  2. Consider lighting: The lighting in your office will affect how paint colors look. Natural light brings out paint's true color, while artificial light can alter perceptions of color. Test paint samples in various lighting conditions in your space to see how colors might change throughout the day.
  3. Choose low-VOC paints: Prioritize the health of your workspace environment by choosing paints with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These paints contribute less to indoor air pollution and are better for both people and the planet.
Recommendations: Practical applications in the workspace

Incorporating these colors into your workspace should be done thoughtfully to avoid overwhelming spaces and to maximize the psychological benefits:

  1. Blue for productivity: Blue shades positively impact our focus and mental clarity, making them ideal for work and collaboration spaces.
  2. Green for stability: Green can reduce anxiety and promote longevity in work sessions, suitable for individual desks and relaxation areas.
  3. Red for energy: Utilize red cautiously, and energize high-activity areas like cafeterias and creative brainstorming spaces.
  4. Yellow for creativity: Use yellow to inspire and uplift in creative spaces and co-working areas.
  5. White for spaciousness: Employ white to create a sense of openness, excellent for making smaller spaces appear larger and more welcoming.


3. Shine bright

Effective lighting is essential for a productive and comfortable office environment.

Always go for natural lighting

Maximizing natural light not only boosts mood and energy but also reduces reliance on artificial lighting. Here’s how to maximize natural lighting:

  1. Rearrange the layout: Position desks close to windows and orient them to avoid screen glare while maximizing exposure to natural light.
  2. Use reflective surfaces: Incorporate light-colored walls, glossy surfaces, and mirrors to reflect and spread light throughout the office.
  3. Regular window cleaning: Clean windows regularly to significantly brighten the office.
Backup plan: Artificial lighting

Artificial lighting is necessary where natural light falls short. Select energy-efficient LED bulbs with the appropriate color temperature—cool whites for concentration areas and warmer tones for relaxation spaces. Ensure even light distribution to prevent shadows and glare. Place desk lamps to the side of workstations to minimize shadows.


4. Bring nature indoors

Incorporating plants into office design not only improves the look of a workspace but also brings psychological and health benefits.

Plant benefits

Plants are more than just decorative; they are a powerhouse of benefits:

  • Reduced stress: The presence of plants in a work environment lowers stress and boosts feelings of well-being.
  • Increased productivity: The calming effect of greenery helps reduce mental fatigue, boosting concentration and productivity.
  • Noise reduction: Strategically placed plants can absorb, deflect, and refract background noise, making the office quieter and more focused.
Recommendations: Choosing and placing plants

To maximize the benefits of office plants without adding too much maintenance, consider these tips:

  1. Select low-maintenance varieties: Go for plants like snake plants, ZZ plants, and pothos, which thrive with minimal care and are tolerant of low-light conditions, making them perfect for office environments.
  2. Strategic placement: Place larger plants in corners to soften edges and use smaller plants on desks and shelves to enhance personal spaces. Ensure plants receive enough light and are not obstructed by office equipment.
  3. Creative displays: Utilize vertical gardens or hanging planters to save space and add a dynamic visual element. This is particularly effective in smaller offices or areas with limited floor space.

5. Make business personal

Adding personal touches through art and DIY decor can make the office more welcoming and reflective of the company's culture.

Art and decorations that won’t break your bank

Art and decorative items don’t need to be expensive to enhance your office environment:

  • Affordable art options: Consider prints of famous artworks, local art from emerging artists, or digital art pieces that can bring color and life to your walls at a fraction of the cost.
  • Incorporate functional art: Use decorative clocks, colorful bulletin boards, or creatively styled storage units that serve both aesthetic and practical purposes. You can find all of them at your local IKEA ;)
Recommendations: DIY art projects

Engaging employees in DIY decor projects not only personalizes the space but also fosters a sense of ownership and teamwork:

  1. Upcycle materials: Use recycled materials to create unique office items. Old jars can be turned into plant pots or pencil holders, and reclaimed wood can be used for shelving.
  2. Craft workshops: Host periodic craft workshops where employees can make small decorations for their workspaces, such as photo frames, desk organizers, or wire art. What a perfect way to organize teambuilding with long-lasting benefits.


Step six? Get workspace tips & tricks to your inbox

By planning your space wisely, adding a splash of color, optimizing lighting, bringing nature indoors, and incorporating personal touches, you can create an environment that employees love and where they can be most productive.

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