Having a creative office is something we all dream about, but Google seems to have set the standards a bit too high. Slides, massage rooms, crazy bold colors, and scooters; I mean really, is that the bar we all need to aim for?
Most of us work in industries that require professionalism and a professional workplace that matches that mentality. The reason for this is that while Google can get away with ball pits and volleyball, many clients just don't want you to slide down to get the signatures on the life insurance policy they just applied for.
One of the things we've discussed here on numerous occasions is branding:
- Designing an office that Screams Your Brand: A Closer Look at Red Bull
- 4 Questions To Ponder When Branding Your Workplace
For professional companies, having professional office that connects where you work with how and why you work is an important aspect to consider. That doesn't mean you need a stuffy office filled with old books, mahogany, and cigar smoke to be professional either. What you should do is consider the way you want clients to perceive your firm, and design accordingly.
If it is helpful, consider the way you dress to work and design according to that style. T-shirts and jeans? Suits? Jeans and a blazer? I get the feeling that most professional companies are the latter, but have offices that scream the former.
And while you might not be able to immediately act, now is the time to begin thinking of the type of office and culture you eventually want. Think about small ways you can move your office's style meter in the direction you'd like it to go. I imagine Google's offices weren't always so wild and crazy, but they started somewhere.
While there are not many offices out there like Google's, I've had the opportunity to see some great examples of offices that not only are well designed, but professional. Let's take a look:
As a law firm, Zapata & Herrera's offices move beyond the tired look of most law firms, but also use a fresh style sure to boost creativity:
"Development of a space that represents the essential values through the use of different colors that symbolize seriousness, professionalism and confidence. The colors are applied repeatedly through the different used materials. Not wanting to fall into usual clichés of the lawyers offices a bunch of elements are used to convert them into metaphors.
Zapata & Herrera can be considered as an example of a corporate space that transmits the employees’ work, highlighting their seriousness, professionalism and confidence, with a vanguardian look unusual for a lawyer’s office.”
Another law firm, Dirkzwager, uses a flexible workstation layout, clever spacing, and professional colors to achieve an office that is not only functional for staff to meet together and with clients, but one that allows for flexible and creative thinking through its design.
"The openness is created by making use of glass such as glass walls and sliding doors for the office spaces. The separation walls are also cabinets. In the building there are flexible working spaces, meeting rooms and places where digital information can be queried. On the ground floor is the library reception desk and a coffee bar, the visitor can choose to sit in a special readings chair or take a seat at the bar or the big reading table. The whole design of the building is focused on the concept of ‘ knowledge sharing ‘ experience in a pleasant way for both the employees and the visitors.”
Venture firms can be dull, stodgy places filled with paper pushers and drudgery. Index Ventures' office is anything but that. This professional office was designed to allow partners in the firm to arrive and begin working immediately.
"The venture firm’s space is also outfitted with a café, bathrooms and a shower, which allow the fast-paced team the ability to “arrive from travel abroad and hit the ground running.” The design also took advantage of “the latest technology in “smart” lighting by Redwood Systems, an Index Venture partner, runs on low voltage and adapts real-time by tracking room-by-room use and natural day-lighting during the course of the year."
A housing company, Portaal has a great style that should make all who enter feel both comfortable and professional. Smooth wood tones, carefully chosen colors, and furniture that looks more like it came from a home work in concert to achieve the desired levels of professionalism.