How to Create an Office Design Brief

A clear, detailed brief is essential for a well-designed office. When initially embarking on an office refurbishment or relocation, it is crucial to create a roadmap for your project. An office design brief is a document that outlines the objectives, requirements, and direction of a design project. The purpose of this is to provide a vision for what your new workplace will look like and ensure your process is as smooth as possible from start to finish.

A thoughtfully crafted brief serves as a framework for stakeholders and designers, keeping them aligned on the direction of the project. This enables your project to stay on schedule and within the desired budget, avoiding any mishaps or mistakes along the way.

Defining Objectives 

A good brief should include your business goals; whether it’s enhancing productivity or improving company culture, the ‘why’ of your project should be clearly stated. Listing your needs in terms of space, facilities, and resources is crucial to creating a well-constructed brief. Including an insight into your company’s identity, brand, and ethos can also help create a project suited to your specific workforce needs. 

Determine Space Requirements and Layout 

Start by determining the required square footage, the types of workspaces needed, and how to tailor the layout to your employees’ unique needs. Identifying your current pain points will guide you in the right direction. Focus on the challenges in your original office design that hinder a happy, motivated team. Then, consider the solutions needed to implement successful changes.

Consider the variety of workspace requirements, from collaboration spaces and breakout zones to private areas like phone booths. Gather input from stakeholders, employees, and clients through surveys, interviews, or group discussions to understand their needs and objectives.

Addressing Challenges and Emerging Trends

Identify and address common office challenges such as lack of biophilia, insufficient space, outdated technology, inadequate storage, limited connectivity, inaccessible areas, and inadequate meeting rooms.

Be aware of emerging trends like hybrid work models, evolving technology, and remote working practices to prepare your new office for future developments. Assess how your current layout affects productivity and collaboration. Consider if your teams are expanding, how well your office reflects your brand, the specific requirements of your employees, and any future changes that might impact your office’s needs. By answering these questions, you can create a clear vision for your new office space. Consider engaging a workplace consultant to guide you through this process for optimal results.

Understand who you are as a company 

To bring your office design to life, defining who you are as a business is essential. By encapsulating your missions, values, and identity in your plan, your design is likely to reflect your unique personality. Begin by deciding how your new office can provide the best outcomes for your business in the long term. What makes your company stand out? What atmosphere would you like to create? How do you work as a company? Where have you succeeded in the past?

What is your brand identity? Consider key features such as the colour palette, graphics and imagery, and a company logo. Is it time for a brand refresh? What impression are you trying to make? To ensure a smooth move or refurbishment, it is crucial to think about your people. What are your staff considerations? Think about comfortable furniture, natural light, and amenities such as retreat rooms, tea points, and breakout areas.

Consider a sustainable office design; this is becoming a top priority for many businesses. This could include incorporating recyclable materials, energy-efficient lighting, or biophilia into your design plan.

Budget, Timeline and Change Management

A comprehensive office design brief must include a clear budget and timeline. Begin by creating a detailed checklist to determine the project’s duration and cost. This checklist should encompass all requirements and specifications identified in the initial stages, such as new desks, meeting rooms, technology equipment, furniture, and any additional amenities. Carefully consider your space requirements and plan the layout to appropriately accommodate your staff, ensuring the office design meets their needs.

Once you have outlined your specific needs, finalise a budget and develop a detailed timeline, highlighting each phase from initial planning to final setup. It’s essential to anticipate the unexpected and have contingency plans for potential challenges. The scope of your project may evolve, so maintaining flexibility and readiness to address issues is crucial.

While creating an effective office design brief can be a daunting task, by clearly defining your goals, space requirements, and employee needs, you can create a workspace that enhances productivity and improves company culture.

Answering critical questions about your current space, keeping all stakeholders involved, and staying on top of workplace trends will help your business prosper in its future office. Consider engaging with a professional team to understand your needs and where support is required. By taking initiative early in the process to understand your spatial requirements, budget, and timeline, you can ensure a successful project outcome.

A workplace consultancy is a great way to get started; alternatively, use an office space calculator to determine how much space your new workplace needs.

To speak to a workplace consultant, contact one of our specialists here.