Refresh, Relocate or Remove? An interview with Mahsa Amirizadeh
As the world takes steps to reopen for business and our employees start to return to the workplace in many locations, employers across the globe are facing a critical decision – how do they evolve their physical workspace to ensure their people remain inspired and engaged?
In a recent webinar, we asked our audience what they felt was the biggest challenge their companies faced in the new normal. Nearly half (44%) of respondents chose employee morale & wellbeing, while a further 31% said that maintaining the productivity of their employees was the biggest challenge.
Many organizations are choosing to take a consultative approach to their return to offices, listening to employees’ wants and needs and working to ensure they make the office environment as appealing as possible to retain existing talent and attract new ones.
A further poll revealed that most organizations will focus on refreshing existing office spaces, with many pre-pandemic set-ups no longer suitable to meet new Health and Safety requirements.
Following a refresh of our existing workspace in Dubai, we spoke with Interior Designer Mahsa Amirizadeh, founder, and owner of designmaster.ae, to learn more about how she approaches an office refresh and what trends she is seeing:
What trends are you seeing post-pandemic from clients wishing to refresh an existing office space?
When restrictions started easing, it was interesting to see that the majority of offices in the UAE were keen to get back to the office full-time. Most employees seemed to miss the social aspect of the office as many are here without family and felt too isolated at home.
In line with this, there has definitely been an increase in the desire for lots of open spaces to be incorporated into designs and refurbishments to give employees plenty of opportunity to collaborate. There has also been a move towards a less corporate feel to the office, with designs incorporating much more greenery and plant life.
Which area of an office, in your opinion, is the most crucial to get right?
The most crucial would be the employee’s workspace – this is where they spend the most time, so it’s essential to ensure it is a space that offers both functionality and comfort. I always advise clients to invest in good quality desks and furniture like chairs. In the UAE, aside from the working area, the general comfort levels in the office are equally as important to ensure employee wellbeing, so it’s also important to invest in adequate AC and lighting.
The next area I would advise focusing on would be the main reception area – this is where clients gain their first impressions of your business, so it’s important to get it right.
Here are some before and after images of Crown’s new office reception area:
Has office design altered since COVID? Is there more desire for big open-plan spaces or an increase in requests for smaller individual areas?
It’s important to have a balance of both – indeed, there has been an increased desire for open plan/collaborative spaces and areas where employees can socialise, however, it’s important to remember that an office space needs to be functional, so you need to include a balance of more private rooms for quiet work or phone calls.
What top 3 things is it crucial to include in an office re-design?
As I mentioned, the top priority should be employee wellbeing, so you should consider all the elements that contribute to that: furniture, lighting, AC, etc.
Aside from that, I always recommend having community areas, such as a large pantry or break-out space and including plant life and greenery in the design.
What was your approach to our office refresh?
For the Dubai office refresh, we took everything back to the bare bones and wanted to design a space that was both functional and a home away from home for the employees. We included all the elements I have mentioned above; lots of greenery, plenty of open spaces for socialising and collaboration, closed spaces for managers or quiet work and multi-use meeting rooms with multiple configuration possibilities.
One of the main challenges with the space was the acoustics, so we included sound-reducing elements in the design, such as wall panelling and sound-absorbing materials in the flooring.
Here are some before and after pictures of our office refresh:
How important is sustainability in design? Do you see an increase in clients asking for more sustainable offerings/solutions?
It is something we are starting to see an increase in, particularly among large multinationals that are leading the way and helping to promote awareness to more local organizations.
As a company, we can offer a range of sustainable design elements and products that help reduce water consumption, monitor the use of electricity, such as lighting, and manage air conditioning consumption. We are always happy to work with the client on sustainable solutions.
Are you considering an office move, re-design or refresh?
Crown Workspace provides an extensive range of interior refurbishment solutions to create workplaces that inspire and excite, with sustainability at the core of everything we do.
Contact us today to find out more: +971 (0) 4 230 5300 | email@example.com
Did you know that a whopping 91% of office relocations end up going over budget?
It’s a staggering statistic that underscores the importance of accurate budgeting for your next office move. Here’s some essential tips to help you avoid costly surprises and accurately budget for your next office move.
When it comes to designing your office space, the layout you choose can significantly impact productivity, collaboration, and overall employee satisfaction. Different office layouts offer unique benefits and drawbacks, making it crucial to select the one that aligns with your company’s values, culture, and work style. In this article, we’ll explore five popular office layouts, […]
Embarking on an office refurbishment or move can be an exciting but daunting task. It involves careful planning, coordination, and execution to ensure a seamless transition without causing disruption to your business operations. Whether you’re considering a complete office makeover or relocating to a new space in the UAE, we’ve compiled a list of five […]