Posted by: Mitchell H. Kirsch
Category: Interior Design
Office interior design that maximizes productivity doesn’t come together at random – it takes a professional to implement productivity-boosting changes in a workplace.
And yet not all facility managers are eager to bring in a professional interior designer. Maybe outdated thinking has something to do with their reluctance – after all, most people still believe that office interior design is primarily about aesthetics, not productivity.
But DIY design can lead to disaster, especially if you’re not trained to make the decisions that a professional interior designer makes as part of their job. A professional interior designer shouldn’t be optional, they should be required.
Here are a number of very good reasons why no productivity-boosting initiative at work should go without hiring an interior designer to assist, or even head, the process.
First, a professional can explain the costs and benefits of office interior design to top management. “Top management will still require a cost/benefit analysis to justify any investment in office design,” explains MIT’s Limor Gutnick. So if you’re looking to implement productivity-boosting changes to your workplace, a professional interior designer can be your best salesperson to the top brass.
“The designers’ role would be twofold,” says Gutnick. “To base the office interior design on sound principles and established research and to present quantitative returns on the investment.”
Secondly, professionals use training and resources that clients generally do not have access to. Remaking office interior design involves a number of decisions that laypeople are generally not equipped to handle. Hiring a professional forestalls such problems.
A good interior designer combines an intimate knowledge of your business objectives and an awareness of the designs and products that can help you meet them. To solve your problems, he or she will call upon an encyclopedic knowledge of materials, finishes, and products, as well as a long list of vendors, contractors, and other service providers. It’s his job to coordinate the team and make the final call on the products to be used in the job.
In short, as the American Society of Interior Designers puts it, only a professional interior designer has “the training and expertise to plan, schedule, execute and manage your project from start to finish.”
Third, professional interior designers can help both managers and rank-and-file participate in the design process. “Interior designers […] are in a unique position to propose a strategic, design-based approach towards increasing productivity,” concurs Cubicles.com’s CEO Aron Groner.
By soliciting feedback from affected employees, planning workshops, and creating focus groups to study proposed office interior design plans, interior designers can facilitate a participatory design process that empowers rank-and-file employees to participate in design decision making, while making managers more aware of the interaction between space and human behavior.
“In some cases, interior designers or facility managers may serve only as a resource or consultant,” an ASID paper comments, “empowering employees to decide for themselves what type of environment will make them more productive.”
Finally, hiring a professional actually saves money. An interior designer can help manage costs by selecting the right suppliers at the best possible value. They can leverage their relationships with suppliers and contractors to get better discounts that you could never have scored on your own.
In some instances, a product supplier with knowledge of office interior design can present even greater opportunity for savings. Look for a vendor who can provide design services to reduce your expenses even more. One example of such a vendor is Cubicles.com, which offers free space planning and office interior design services to their clients.
Find out more about hiring an effective office interior designer (with an eye to greater productivity) in our white paper: “Designing for Productivity: Key Factors in Building the Ideal Office Environment” (PDF, 210KB).