I’m sure there’s a science to office design, but I can’t for the life of me figure it out. As someone who’s worked across seven different offices in as many years (yeah, I realise that doesn’t look good on my resume), I’m better positioned than most to have gained some insights into this. And yet, here I am, none the wiser.
There just seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. You’d think there was a unified agenda, the way the internet goes on about office design trends, Sydney offices taking the world by storm with some hot new concept, open plan layouts being dead and so on and so forth. Rest assured, there’s no agenda – it’s every office for itself. Or so it seems to me.
I mean, there’s enough of a semblance of order to fool the average Joe into thinking there are cohesive advancements going on in office interiors. We’re moving into a more technologically integrated age that offers more work-life flexibility than ever, we’re doing things more collaboratively, performance is driven by design… you know the drill. Maybe there is something to all that, but from what I can tell, things are just as chaotic as they’ve ever been in the realm of commercial work environments.
Just ask any of the big commercial fitout companies. Sydney businesses like to think of themselves as leaders of a cutting-edge charge, whatever that may be in a given moment, but at the end of the day you’ve got to come back to the essentials. I’m talking furniture, windows, lighting, power. Whatever you add to that, in my view, is just bling. That can be nice, but it’s never going to have a game-changing impact on… things.
Not to say that office design doesn’t play any role in how performance and efficiency play out in a space. I’m certain that it does. My point is more that businesses seem to get hung up on how it can position them at the front of some hot new cultural movement, which doesn’t even exist.