The way you decorate and design your workplace matters. It can have an impact on employee morale, customer trust, health & safety and general productivity.

Many of us understand the basics of workplace design such as making sure that there’s comfortable furniture and a lack of visible clutter. However, there are a few design mistakes that can be easily overlooked. Below are 5 big workplace decor design mistakes to avoid when improving your workplace.

Neglected exterior

A lot of companies focus on the interior of their premises, but don’t pay much attention to the exterior. Of course, the exterior is still important – it can help to create first impressions for customers and job candidates. If the exterior is dilapidated, it could suggest that your company is tired and messy. Exterior design could be particularly important for companies that rely on converting passers-by into customers (such as retail stores and restaurants).

What are some ways to make your exterior look professional and inviting? First, you should make sure that it is clean. The dirty facade covered in cobwebs is not a good look. Secondly, you should add clear signage to let people know who you are. Lighting can also help to make your premises more inviting and it could keep away burglars after dark. Any parking should be well maintained and well signposted. If you have a lawn or space for plants, make sure that these are well maintained too – a commercial landscaping company could even be worth hiring to redesign your grounds. Such companies could also be hired to regularly maintain it. 

Not enough color

Neutral colors such as white, black, grey and brown were once the hues of choice in offices. Nowadays, they’re seen as a bit drab and clinical. In fact, even hospitals are moving away from these color schemes.

Incorporating a few bold colors can make your workplace more inspiring. Certain colors are known to have effects on our mood and productivity. Blues and greens for example are calming colors that can boost concentration – they are ideal for offices, waiting rooms and spas. Reds and orange meanwhile are more energising colors that may even help people to be more social – such colors may be better suited to restaurants, warehouses and gyms. 

Poor lighting

Good lighting in a workplace is very important. If the lighting is too dim or too bright, it can cause eye strain and headaches. Dim lighting can be particularly bad for productivity – it could make your workplace less cheery, creating poor first impressions for customers and negatively affecting employee morale.

There are two types of lighting to think about when designing a workplace: natural and artificial lighting. Natural lighting is good for our bodies and our mind – you should try to encourage light through windows by not blocking them, only using blinds and curtains if sunlight is getting too intense and causing glare. Artificial light can meanwhile help to brighten up areas of your workplace where natural light may not be able to reach. Consider a mix of overhead lighting and task lighting (for work that needs more close concentration such as looking at a screen or preparing food on a counter). 

All open-plan

A decade ago, we saw a huge shift away from cubicles to open-plan offices, with some offices going fully open-plan. Open-plan offices can help improve communication and make a workplace feel more spacious. However, they are not great for tasks that require concentration and may even make employees feel more edge knowing that they can be approached and monitored at any time.

A better office design is to have a mix of open-plan areas and rooms/cubicles. This gives employees spaces for work that requires communication and work that may require concentration. Employees may be able to switch between the two so that they can get the best out of different duties. Alternatively, you could place certain employees in different locations relevant to their roles.

Messy wires

Modern workplaces are full of electronic machinery. Much of this machinery is plugged in via cables, which can look messy if not controlled. Wires can also become a trip hazard if they running over walkways. On top of this, too many wires coming out of one outlet could be a fire hazard. These are risks that many workplaces overlook. 

Where possible, cables should be kept under desks or tidied by using clips, trunks and sleeves. You should avoid plugging too many cables into a single outlet so as not to overload it – it’s better to install extra sockets if you need more access to power. Where possible, also consider wireless technology over wired technology to reduce cable mess.