A first impression is formed in the initial seconds of meeting someone, and this can also be applied to visiting an organisation’s workplace.
The importance of a good impression
Your office makes an impression on the people that work there, clients that visit and prospective employees attending for interviews to name a few, so it’s important that it communicates your brand story effectively to ensure nobody gets the wrong idea. Getting it right can help retain the right people, win new and keep existing business with clients that feel an affinity with your brand, and could be the critical factor for a candidate deciding to accept your employment offer. So, if your brand story isn’t getting across in the right way, these decisions are being made with the wrong information. These first impressions have become so important that even companies looking for serviced offices are looking for providers with brands that align with their own, which is driving landlords and co-working spaces to provide these, over the traditional neutral and generic offerings. Offices that aren’t client facing can often be overlooked for investment in the user experience, although it is also important to appreciate the benefits of empowering employees to be as passionate about the company brand as its most devoted clients are, as this will inspire them to innovate more, foster loyalty within the team and keep morale at an optimum level.
How to tell your brand story through your workspace
Successful organisations have a clear vision of their purpose and have a strategy to get there, so vision and mission statements can be a great starting point to inform what should be reflected in the workplace environment and office furniture. If you don’t have these or they are outdated, pull together ideas from the leadership team about how to describe the values you want your organisation to hold and how you want your clients and employees to feel about your company. Some great examples of how to tell your story within your workspace design are:
- Sustainable values | Using recycled and recyclable materials to create the workspace
- Human-centric | Investing in employee wellness to provide work settings that support this e.g. gym, places to socialise, quiet areas, wellness spaces, places to get in touch with nature
- Transparency | Open environments with a light and airy feel
- Professional | Attention to cleanliness and tidiness will make a huge impact to ensuring the organisation is perceived as professional
- Cutting edge | Adoption of the latest technology is an indicator that an organisation is at the forefront of innovation, no matter the industry they are in. In contrast, outdated technology can give the opposite impression, so it is important that flexibility for technology solutions is built into a workplace to make it easy to update these things
The benefits of designing your workspace to tell your brand story is that it provides your employees with visual cues they can follow that encourage behaviours to support the organisations vision. It is also something that they will feel rather than have to be told which can reduce the need for excessive signage to get the message across, or you employees having to refer to a handbook to know what the expectations are! This clarity will in turn contribute to attracting and retaining employees that have a strong affinity with your organisation’s values, helping to sustain high levels of morale, having a positive effect on clients and customers and therefore also positively affecting the overall productivity of the organisation.
This approach to workspace design can be of great value when going through any type of organisational change, rebranding or seeing increasing employee numbers through the growth of an organisation in order to clearly inform both internal and external customers of the organisation of what the expectation is. It is important to ensure any changes to brand or culture are not solely expressed through the workspace, as it is just one tool to facilitate change.
Next time you enter your workspace, try to imagine it from the perspective of someone experiencing it for the first time or even ask for feedback from the rest of your team to see if it is telling the right story that aligns with your vision and strategy moving forward.