Even with the popularity of the open office design, there are still times a private office is the right workspace. Certain professional services such as lawyers, realtors, investment brokers, business consultants, and accountants are more conducive to having a workspace with walls and a door.
Sometimes a Private Office just makes sense. Design it with Style.
The majority of the work done by these professionals is independent, thus needing fewer opportunities for collaboration, which the open office is designed for. They also require an office that offers a quiet area to discuss private business with clients. Mid to large size firms with multiple professional workers or partners often have a mix of private offices with a single boardroom that can serve as a flexible workspace; including general office meetings, large client meetings, and training.
For professionals that are not part of a firm, investing in a private office space large enough for an office suite, as well as an expandable meeting table and an area for a projector, offers a flexible workspace solution.
When setting up your private office, here are a few things to consider when designing your workspace
Security & Privacy
If your office door accesses a common area, make sure you can lock the door. When sharing your office with another service professional, an assistant, or a receptionist, make sure to secure private documents in a locked filing cabinet, or a safe if necessary.
When leasing an office space, make sure to talk to the Property Manager or Commercial Real Estate Broker about what security measures are in place for the building. At the very minimum, you should have a monitored alarm system to detect break and entry, which is often connected to the fire monitoring system. Video cameras, security window film and motion sensor lights are also security measures that many office buildings have in place to secure your assets as a tenant.
With the advancement of technology, a paperless office is possible. However, many offices still use paper for printing and records management. Consider storage of blank paper for the printer, legal and letter sized filing cabinets if both are required, and a small file storage area close to your office chair for active working files. If you do not have another area of the office dedicated for storage, storage considerations for your private office may include a locker for personal items, an area to store sales materials such as trade show banners, and a place to store technical equipment such as projectors, cameras, etc. Design your office for the right amount, and type, of storage required for your business and your work style.
There are many benefits to having a window in your office, as we discussed in a previous blog, so design your office space to bring out the best of your windows for productivity and comfort. Having the window facing forward or off to side, but preferably not at your back. The light coming in from the window can cause glare on a computer screen and you will be more likely to stop working and turn around to look outside. This isn’t very productive and can cause strain on your eyes. If there are no other options but to place the window at your back, ensure that you install a retractable shade. Solar window film applied to the glass is an option the help reduce glare and still let in the natural light. Windows also create a lot of heat with the sun coming through, so the window film and a shade will help your office maintain a more comfortable temperature.
No windows in your office? Make sure to have enough task and overhead lights incorporated into your design. Simulated natural light lamps are also available on the market to offer improved health benefits when working in a place without windows. It is important to look away from your screen at something that us further away to prevent eyestrain. Add landscape artwork to the walls, plants, or even a fish tank that is across the room, to offer something interesting to look at.
When setting up your desk, make sure you don’t have your office chair near the heating / cooling vent. In the winter, the heat may be too much, and it is not comfortable or healthy to have cold air blowing directly on your body from the air conditioning in the summer. Also, make sure to consider all the vents in the room. Even if there isn’t air coming through the vent, it is important not to block these with furniture or artwork. These are the return-air vents and help with air circulation.
Quality Office Suite
The greatest investment you will make to your private office is your office suite. Office suites are typically designed in an L-shape, offering ample workspace and some storage space. It is where you spend most of your time when in the office so buy an office suite that looks great in the office but also suits your style of working. You want to have everything you need, where it needs to be, so that you can be comfortable and productive.
Try out your desk before you buy! At Envirotech, we have desk suites set up in our showroom. Spend some time talking with our workspace consultants while trying out a few of our office suites to see what works best for you.
Choose the colour and quality that compliments the style of the office and represents your professional brand. When a client comes to your office what do you want them to feel and think? Consider that they see you framed by your desk first and foremost.
Ergonomic Office Chairs
Ensure you purchase a quality ergonomic chair. Most professionals spend a great deal of time in their chairs so having a seat that supports your arms when typing at the computer, and using a mouse, is beneficial. An ergonomic chair is also designed to support the lower back, as well as adjusts for variable heights. An ergonomic chair and set up to help prevent chronic problems caused by working at a desk.
Don’t forget your guests and clients when purchasing the office furniture for your private office. Make sure the occasional or guest chairs you purchase are comfortable, but still professional. Avoid chairs that are too low, soft and reclining. If a chair is too relaxing, it may make your client feel uncomfortable since they are there to do work with you, not lounge by the pool.
You are the reason people come to the office, but the sights, smells and sounds of your office surround you, and will make a lasting impression. When designing your private office and buying office furniture, make sure to always consider your work style and business needs to ensure the greatest comfort, productivity and brand representation.