Design work isn’t always as efficient as designers would like. There are interruptions from clients, creative blocks and stopping to get items you need for various projects. However, there are some things every designer should have in their office to make workflow smoothly and help with efficiency.
There are tools that allow you to do your work to the best of your ability, but there are also design elements for the space itself that will let you collaborate with co-workers, get feedback from clients and be more productive.
1. Quiet Space
If you work in an outside office, then you’ve probably been part of the recent push for collaboration. The time that the average office worker now spends on collaborative activities is about 50 percent. There are positives to working together, but too much collaboration can also create a work environment that doesn’t allow those who prefer to work quietly the space they need.
One essential element of an open office model is allowing for quiet space. This might be a small room where workers can work without interruption or small meeting cubicles where designers can meet with a client. Designers who crave silence as part of their creative process will also find a quiet space helpful.
2. Design Tools
Because office space is sometimes limited, it is tempting to put away tools such as a large vinyl cutter or specialty printer out of the way. However, when you put these items in a storage closet, you are much less likely to pull them out and use them. Various tools can add to your creativity as a designer, allowing you to use a variety of items to come up with a fresh new logo or try out a prototype.
Put your design tools where you will see them every day. This will encourage their use and allow you to be even more creative. If you walk past the item on the way to your desk, you are much more likely to consider using it in your future designs. It keeps the various options for design at the forefront of your mind.
3. Movable Furniture
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Office furniture should be easy to move. If your desk is so heavy it won’t easily roll to another location in the office, your design creativity may become just as stuck. Put whatever you can on wheels and allow for desks that rotate so co-workers can push their desks together to easily collaborate on a project.
Even the walls in your office should be movable so you can reconfigure what you need to in order to meet the needs of a growing company or design department. Moveable furniture simply allows you to change on the fly and create a new space layout almost seamlessly. The ideal office has the ability to shift and create a completely new layout design in mere minutes.
Don’t be afraid to display your company motto and some encouraging sayings around the office. These sayings can be on digital signs where the quote is easily changed each day or can be simple posters with positive sayings.
If there is one thing most designers need more of, it’s inspiration. A visual reminder of the positive outlook you want your business to have is a great way to gain that inspiration and remember its core values. During particularly challenging tasks, a reminder about having a positive outlook can make all the difference in a designer’s ability to focus.
Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. One key to staying ahead of the competition is to implement the latest technology you can afford. This includes blazing fast internet and smart features, such as bathroom lights that only turn on when someone is inside. This technology doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It simply requires a shift in which products you’re using.
However, technology goes much further than these simple features. Employees should be able to easily message each other with questions or updates on a project. If your company also has remote workers, you have to figure out which software allows those workers to be in the loop as well. Focusing on using the latest technology should be a top priority for any type of business, but may be particularly important for designers who also need to connect with clients efficiently.
6. An Amazing Chair
The average designer spends much of his or her day in front of a computer screen, creating various designs. A great chair provides comfort, support for the back and the ability to adjust for height. It rolls easily but doesn’t create a sensation of falling backward when the person leans against the back support.
The chair that works for one designer might not work for another. So, if you have a home office and do freelance designs, the key is to find the best chair for you. However, if you work in a business setting, then the company should try to provide chairs that work best for each employee. This isn’t always easy or cheap, but when you factor in how much time is spent sitting and designing, it becomes clear why an amazing chair is a necessity.
7. Interactive Whiteboard
If you meet with clients often in your office, an interactive whiteboard is an invaluable tool. You can easily show the client a sample layout, images of other sites you’ve designed and color palette ideas. Some online software options, such as meeting-type sites, allow for a digital whiteboard where you can utilize the same elements with remote clients.
The great thing about an interactive whiteboard is that you can change things on the fly as the client gives you direction. You can make notes to return to later. The entire process shows the client you are a professional and you take the client’s input seriously. Whether you’re using an online meeting tool or choose to invest in an interactive whiteboard, the key is to become comfortable with the product and use it to highlight your expertise as a designer.
Must-Haves for Your Office
These seven items are an important part of a functioning office, but they certainly aren’t all the elements a designer should have. You’ll need to add personal touches, items you use frequently in your own design work and some items just for fun. The more efficient you can make your space, the more work you’ll get done.