Archipro Interview with Crestline
Not everyone is Google: a guide to uncovering office design needs
Google has become a modern workplace fairy tale. With their dog-friendly policy, indoor slide and yes, full size T-Rex replica, everyone knows Google has some of the quirkiest, most well designed office spaces in the world.
But not every company is Google and amazing offices go beyond perks. According to Gary Wade of Crestline, the best solution for an office really boils down to analysing the business’ needs and wants and looking well beyond what’s trendy and new.
We asked Gary to share some key insights with us and talk through Crestline’s extensive experience working with design teams since 1987 to create uplifting and inspiring workspaces.
How to design a workplace that works for everyone
Work is just that – a place to be productive, creative and engaged; and having a space that encourages this kind of behaviour is essential. As Gary puts it, “Office design is all about creating a place that’s fit for function and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The workplace should not only echo the type of business it is, but the kinds of employees as well.”
But how do architects and designers ensure they hit the mark? Gary explains that never drifting far from the end-user experience is key. In any design project, user buy-in and engagement is key, but especially at work. A wide body of research supports the fact that the physical environment has a significant impact on our ability to perform a given task. In terms of office design, this means it’s essential staff like and feel proud of their place of work.
We asked Gary to share some advice for office fit outs and redesigns.
Engage with staff
Decision makers may not always be representative of everyone on staff, which is why engaging with employees is so important.
“It’s all about providing staff with the tools they need to do the job, In some cases, this is a new laptop, but in other’s it’s a sit-to-stand desk or a chair they find comfortable. Take the time to work with employees and learn how they believe their current workspace could be improved. Staff retention and attraction is huge for any business and having the right tools is a major part of this.”
Analyse what’s working and what isn’t
“Equally important is looking around the space and seeing what works well and what needs to be changed.”
But don’t just list observations. Dig deeper and try to uncover the why. If a certain collaborative area is rarely used, try to figure out the issue and ask your client why. Is it in a noisy area? Is the table too low? By being thoughtful and pragmatic, you’ll be able to create a productive, well-used space for the business.
If you’re really stuck for a solution, it often helps to look at how another workspace design achieved a similar solution. Gary says that’s why it’s crucial for furniture designers to stay across global design trends and innovations, so that they can provide the latest bespoke design solutions, making it easy for the design team to implement.
Gather your ideas
“Talk to your clients and ask them to gather images of what they like – whether that’s something in their current office that’s working well or something they’ve seen somewhere in a magazine. Even little things, like an image that’s particularly reflective of the brand can help ensure everyone is on the same page.”
Put practical first
While office trends come and go, practical solutions will never go out of style. For this reason, Gary explains, choose what works for the business and not what looks cool or modern.
“You read a lot about getting the workplace ready for Generation Z and this definitely matters to a certain extent. The office should be flexible, collaborative and highly connected. At the end of the day, however, trends only go so far. While the workforce has different preferences, people are still the same; they still need spaces to work quietly, areas for meetings, and so on.”
Here, it’s key that your furniture supplier can anticipate the needs of the design team. This allows the designer more scope to create a space that puts the employees’ needs first; and also makes for a smooth design process. Gary says Crestline is no stranger to the collaborative process and it’s crucial furniture designers and suppliers work closely with designers to find solutions.
If this relationship works well it has the added bonus of saving the client time. That’s because “providing the right information at the right time means the design team can focus on designing uplifting workplaces and delighting their clients!”
“At Crestline, we partner with Architects and Designers to provide an effortless experience and leave them with a smile on their face, which can only come from a satisfied, happy customer,” says Gary.
Crestline achieves this at every stage in their work process, largely by providing design teams with the right information at the right time. “From the start, we’re highly focused on helping our clients get what they need when they need it. In commercial projects, everyone is running against time, which is why it’s essential to provide fast samples, quotes, renders and other details as quickly as possible. This helps minimise time and impact on the designer and their client.”
The perfect product also contributes to that final smile, which is why Crestline makes such an effort to ensure design professionals specify quality products that aren’t going to fail and harm the designers reputation.
“Furniture is such a tactile product, which is why we offer samples of just about everything, providing drop off and pick up services as well. We want to help the design team understand what’s available, so we option out a variety of products from the start. We’re also happy to offer advice and suggestions around the functionality, purpose and benefits of a given item. We deal with these products everyday, so we understand what will be best used in a given space.”
Keen to breathe new life into your next workspace project? Get in touch with the team at Crestline today and be sure to have a look at some of their latest projects on ArchiPro.