What are office design standards and how can they support your business?

This article explores office design standards, what they are and the benefits they can bring. Learn more about how we’ve implemented them for a range of different clients.

What are office design standards?

Office design standards are aesthetic and functional requirements used to guide the design and experience of a workplace. They can play a role in creating a consistent look-and-feel, deploying a learning mindset in your team, or maintaining quality across multiple projects.

Ranging from colour and materiality to occupancy ratios and accessibility requirements, these standards can begin to benchmark important aspects of design. Determined by your brand, real estate goals and the needs of your occupants, office design standards provide a framework to build on.

Why are they important?

We value office design standards for their ability to transfer experience between teams or across projects. Ultimately, it’s about improving return on investment and never learning something twice.

Consider a tech company with explosive headcount growth. The real estate team are working on numerous projects to keep step with the number of people. New staff need a space to work, but they also expect to discover a culture and experience that matches what’s found at HQ. The company needs to capture the essence of what makes a successful space, and equip people to deploy it at scale.

As a landlord, you might need to operate more flexibly to accommodate tenants on short leases. Your office design standards might focus on maximising reconfigurability, to minimise vacancy time between occupants. The solution could be in the location of fixed construction elements, or finishes palette with pre-agreed rates. With our knowledge of design, construction and procurement, we can help you take advantage of the economies of scale.

Office design standards can allow you to:

  • Ensure consistency and quality across multiple fitouts.
  • Create a connected identity.
  • Deliver scalable designs with typologies that adapt to different sized floorplates.
  • Iterate and consistently improve your portfolio.
  • Quickly roll out spaces to tenants.
  • Increase occupancy rates.
  • Reuse your buildings in a sustainable way.
  • Operate more flexibly and be adaptive to changing tenant needs.
  • Create a base level design to support leasing and minimise upfront costs.
The Crown Estate, London The Crown Estate, London

How can we help?

First impressions are important. Indeed, good office design standards aren’t just a set of requirements, but a comprehensive and consistent experience of your brand. Our integrated expertise and flexible approach enables us to tailor spaces to your unique needs or provide greater value to your tenants.

We can:

  • Create a full set of office design standards – from brief to implementation.
  • Manage or develop your existing design standards, supporting wherever necessary.
  • Design standard furniture packages.
  • Produce environmental branding and graphic work for your standards.
  • Turn-around the delivery of large-scale projects in a short period of time.
  • Help you offer tenants more relevant options by providing packages that are flexible to their needs.

Evolving a pharmaceutical multinational’s office design standards

Our work on these global office design standards began after we were selected to work on the design of a large campus project. The global real-estate team wanted to communicate what they learned and share it with internal teams and external consultants around the world. They wanted the guide to be purely functional. It should be focused on performance, which is universal, rather than aesthetics, which are heavily influenced by local tastes.

Based on a total headcount and occupancy ratio, the client’s space calculator outlines the required typologies for that office – meeting rooms, collaboration zones and more. Each office will have a unique design, but equal access to amenities and facilities anywhere in the world.

After helping to develop the office design standards, our communication team simplified the existing 300-page document into a fully accessible website. Content needed to be clear and concise, while laying out the requirements for designers when creating new spaces. It features digestible information, typologies, formulas and a range of 3D Revit families. The website now serves as a global guideline and we make updates on a regular basis as the standards continue to develop.

Space typologies visualised to inform workplace planning Space typologies visualised to inform workplace planning
Space typologies visualised to inform workplace planning Space typologies visualised to inform workplace planning

Using office design standards to establish consistency for The Crown Estate

We worked with The Crown Estate to create an office that showcases the full potential of its spaces to future tenants. Our office design standards for a series of buildings in London bring consistency and quality to the portfolio. The overarching design concept is based on the Barn Swallow. Features such as its blue back, wing, colours and shapes translate throughout the building using high-level concepts and a similar base palette.

In addition, the team developed bronze, silver and gold design schemes to meet different client density and design needs. We created a set of floorplans and furniture options to guide lead times, sustainability and cost. Each space is adaptable so tenants can personalise their experience.

office-workplace-design Office design standards for the Crown Estate

Using office design standards to create a uniquely flexible approach

During the pandemic, we worked with a property investment and development company to explore how its workplace should look, feel and adapt for the future.

We developed flexible office design standards for a modern, distributed workforce. Markedly, the space options focus on building connection, community and culture, as well as hosting external visitors and events. Our strategy & design team created three floorplan options:

  • CAT A+: A traditional option with maximum density to support high-volume headcount.
  • Future flexible: A mid-tier, highly hackable option that combines traditional and flexible components.
  • Meeting hub: An option that focuses on using the building for additional revenue. Driven by space usage and different typologies, it includes a meeting hub space for tenants and external visitors.

Marketing the space to tenants was also a key part of the project. We used 3D axonometric drawings, CGI, two standard design look and feel options and multiple floorplans to illustrate the space’s potential. This information was hosted on a website to encourage interest in leasing. Offering existing tenants choice and prospective clients flexibility, this office design standard can quickly adapt to meet multiple needs.

office design standards Office design standards for a property investment and development company

Setting precedent for the consistency and quality of future spaces, office design standards enable your business to ride the wave of change. Promoting flexibility and adapting to new ways of working, they help tenants engage, envision and invest in a workspace.

Michelle Smith, Associate Designer

M Moser combines its deep rooted experience and integrated expertise with unique ways of working to meet the needs of each client. If you want to learn more about how office design standards can support your business, please contact the team.

Michelle Smith

Associate Designer

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