You’ve leased a space for your company and are ready to set up the office. You’re great at your job but not at office design, so you need to find a firm to create the layout, decor, and atmosphere that best matches your business.
What makes a good designer? Here is a roundup of the five top qualities you should look for.
1. They Understand How Design Contributes to a Productive Workspace
The best office design companies are experts in commercial design, distinct from residential or other types of design. They know that an office is more than just a workplace but a space where people interact, collaborate and create.
Partner with a commercial designer fluent in the design elements that encourage productivity, comfort, well-being, and communication, a firm that prioritizes both your company’s success and the health of your employees. They consider optimal layout and lighting for productivity and collaboration, how office acoustics affect the workplace environment, and exposure to daylight and color to increase the mood and energy of your employees.
2. They are Experienced and Qualified
Don’t put your money into someone who’s just getting their feet wet in the world of commercial design. You want a designer backed by experience, education, certifications, and outstanding references.
One of the best ways to find a designer for your office space is through word of mouth. Almost nothing speaks better to a company’s quality and delivery than a good reputation. Whether you’ve found a company through a recommendation or an online search, do your research.
- Head to LinkedIn to see the designer’s B2B contacts and testimonials of previous clients.
- Ask the potential company for references and reach out to their former clients.
- Find out about their communication, the quality of their work, whether they stuck to the budget, and the final product.
Spend some time exploring the company’s website. Any designer or design company should display evidence of their qualifications. Does the designer have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in design? What about special certifications? Affiliations with regional and national organizations, such as the American Society of Interior Design, signify a designer’s professionalism and pursuit of education and collaboration.
3. They Can Commit to a Timeline
If commercial designers need to be great communicators and planners, it follows that they should be able to review the anticipated timeline.
Any good interior designer understands that no matter the size of the project – from switching out furniture, to repainting, to complete renovation – carrying it out will displace people or upset the equilibrium for some time. Employees may need to relocate or work from home if this is already a working office. In a new space, moving in and starting work depends on project completion.
The designer you hire should be sensitive to how this process will affect your company and office and should give you estimates of project start and end date. Call their references and ask about the design firm’s timeline estimates and adherence.
4. Office Design Companies Should Have Excellent Communicators
While communication isn’t technically a designer’s area of expertise, it should be a close second. Successful execution of an office design project requires clarity, listening, and collaboration.
An office designer should be clear about what you can expect from them – things such as when and how often they’ll visit your office space; what material selection looks like; and turnaround for project planning, proposal, and completion.
You are hiring a design professional, but they are considering your vision and priorities when creating a plan. It is crucial that the designer is an outstanding listener. They hear what you’re expressing and make sure your company values are integral in the design.
Along with good listening, designers need to be open to feedback. You should feel comfortable passing ideas back and forth and providing input to their design proposals. Healthy and open collaboration is key when working with a designer to transform your space.
5. They are Great Planners
It should go without saying that great designers are great planners. However, planning involves more than envisioning an attractive office space. The design firm working for you needs to be highly organized and consider every aspect of the project.
This starts with your budget: they know what you have to work with, and they scale accordingly, suggesting reasonable renovations and selecting appropriate materials.
The designer should have a concrete plan, not just a verbal one. They provide a written design plan complete with a blueprint and material and color selections.
Office design companies should have construction contacts and be familiar with the timing of renovation work. They figure renovations into your budget and know when to schedule a consultation with a contractor.
Don’t Rush the Process
Sure, you want to get your new office up and running as soon as possible. But rushing into a contract with a design firm that is inexperienced, unreliable, and unprofessional will come back to bite you.
Take the time to do your research: read testimonials on LinkedIn or their website, contact references, look through the designer’s portfolio, and have a conversation with them about their expectations and process. A thorough search will yield a reciprocal, respectful, and successful partnership.
Consider PureAlchemy Design for your office design. We are an award-winning company specializing in transforming ordinary spaces into extraordinary ones. We couple the science of the human experience with our customers’ goals to produce energizing workspaces that embody brands. Reach out to us today by calling (612) 386-5154 or submitting a request for a consultation.