The main purpose of an office building is to support it's occupants in performing their jobs (preferably at minimum cost). Along with this functional purpose office buildings have an important social and corporate responsibility. The design and layout of spaces can encourage staff interaction and stimulate creativity. Furthermore the office can convey a strong message to employees and visitors about the organisations identity or brand value.
1. Reduction of costs
Cost reduction is a major objective in many projects. Accommodation is expensive and not always utilised as effectively as it could be (on average workstations in office buildings are physically occupied approximately 60% of the time). Reduction of work space reduces heating, power and maintenance costs etc.
Closely related to cost reduction is the desire to create a flexible office environment. As today's organisations experience frequent changes in both structure and work processes, buildings need to facilitate these changes when they occur (at minimum cost and with minimum disruption to the business).
Improving productivity is the most important objective but is also the most difficult one to achieve. It is about improving staff output whilst reducing or fixing costs. Although reducing costs is the main objectives, there is a growing case for providing a more effective working environment to improve employee performance.
Interaction between employees is critical for organisational performance. The exchange of information and knowledge helps to improve teamwork, social cohesion and the cross-fertilisation of ideas. The layout of the work environment plays a crucial role in this.
Creativity is rapidly gaining importance for organisations. Many businesses excel through their capacity for continuous innovation for which creativity is essential. Again layout and design of the work environment plays a crucial role and creates spaces that stimulate ideas.
Branding is about creating a particular image or perception of the organisation and it's products or services among customers and suppliers. Traditionally branding has been strongly focused on logos, websites and advertisements. However, the physical work environment can also be used to convey a particular message or identity working as a showcase to the outside world.
For almost every organisation attracting good quality staff and retaining them is critical. This can be done by providing good conditions of employment but the physical work environment can also play an important role. Providing employees with comfortable, attractive surroundings shows them that they are valued and helps to boost their moral.
Many organisations spend a great deal of money and energy on re-thinking and changing their corporate culture. Culture is deeply rooted and therefore difficult to transform. Office design however can be a powerful too for "change".
Office buildings have a large impact on the environment both in their construction and operation. Next to transport and travel, buildings are the largest consumer of energy and therefore a significant contributor to the emission of greenhouse gases and waste. Good office design can minimise the impact of a building on the environment.