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Bringing your brand values to the office

 

The aesthetic and functionality of the office has evolved significantly over the last decade. From corporate grey cubicles to environments that promote collaboration and wellbeing, brands are increasingly, using their workspaces to stand out from the crowd. Here, Jeni Wilkie – director of office fit-out specialist Eatock Design & Build, explores how office spaces are increasingly used to demonstrate brand values. 

The next generation of work

As we settle into the new normal of hybrid working, the lines between home and work continue to blur. It is no coincidence that this workplace revolution is aligned with the rise of the millennial CEO, leading creative agencies and tech start-ups at the very top of the business landscape. At the same time, we’re also seeing entry-level Gen-Z’s setting out on their fresh career paths. The first generation of true digital natives – Gen-Z’s are champions of individualism and seekers of authenticity. With millennials now harnessing the majority of decision making powers, at the same time as trying to create spaces that appeal to a generation where aesthetic is everything – office design is a branding opportunity like never before.  

Authenticating sustainability 

A heightened awareness of greenwashing means authenticity is vital when it comes to brands demonstrating their commitment to sustainability. Walking the walk must always come before talking the talk, and this starts in the office. Encouraging fuel-free routes, such as cycling and scootering, by installing showers to allow employees to refresh before starting work is a great example of businesses demonstrating their sustainability values. Alongside this, incorporating greenery into the office is a strong, eco-championing visual. But the devil is in the detail and it’s vital that sustainable companies ensure furnishings and equipment are sourced from local suppliers that have strong environmental credentials. It is helpful to look for sustainability certifications such as ISO 14001, FSC®, PEFC and FISP and consider each of your supplier’s carbon footprints. 

Facilitating a forward-thinking culture

Opportunities are plenty for brands that are looking to promote the values of a future-focused workplace culture. Flexibility and collaboration should be built into an office from the ground up – creating conference spaces with acoustic properties, installing booths for distraction-free impromptu meetings and incorporating technology such as screens, speakers and cameras for video calls. We’re even seeing more offices invest in interactive, portable whiteboards for brainstorming on demand. Giving employees the space and ability to work collaboratively, at the same time as providing facilities for quiet, independent working will truly underpin a forward-thinking workplace culture. 

Backing up health and wellbeing

Almost every brand will claim to prioritise employee wellbeing, but how can this be evidenced in the office environment? Natural light has a huge impact on our mental health, so maximising this throughout your office space will go a long way. For workplaces with limited natural light, consider using glass walls and partitions to allow the light to bleed through. 

Incorporating varied working spaces will mean your employees don’t feel tied to one desk all day. Sofas and booth chairs give staff a space to take a break, while standing desks and exercise ball chairs are healthy alternatives to sitting down. Going down the active route, businesses may even consider installing furnishings and tech that promote healthy ways for employees to wind down, such as ping-pong tables and gym equipment. 

Incorporating greenery has positive mental and physical wellbeing attributes. We’re seeing an increasing number of companies opting for biophilic walls. Alongside their impressive aesthetic, these are proven to reduce stress and boost melatonin levels, they also support temperature control – absorbing sunlight in warmer months. Additionally, they improve the air quality of the office – reducing CO2, producing oxygen and removing airborne pollutants.

More than a lick of paint

Promoting your brand is no longer about a logo and some graphics, it takes care, thought and consideration. A lick of paint just isn’t going to cut it, especially when it comes to the next generation of workers who can effortlessly sniff out inauthentic messaging. In order to maintain a competitive edge, businesses must create a culture that communicates identity and purpose. Whether your values are sustainability, fun, laid-back, health and wellbeing focused or technologically advanced, this needs to be visible through every level of your brand, starting with it’s origin – your office. 

The future of the office

While home working has certainly taken off in recent years, the office continues to be a cornerstone for any business. People are social beings and thrive off face-to-face contact. Offices facilitate conversations that generate exciting new ideas and solutions to seemingly impossible problems. The next generation of workers has so much to gain from being in an office environment as they learn and develop their skills. The same goes for clients, who will feel energised from face-to-face meetings in an environment that speaks to their own business values. 

Living and breathing your brand through the office is fundamental for the future of business. With such saturated markets, partners want to invest in brands that they trust. Service users want to enjoy brands that empower them and customers want to buy from brands that inspire them. Communicating your brand values is by far the best way of igniting these emotions.