Design Guides |

Want Your Office to Thrive? Think Like a Retail Designer!

Most working professionals spend about a THIRD of their life in an office. As our firm has evolved to help business owners of all stripes maximize the impact of their spaces, a lot can be learned from our beginnings in the Retail Industry.

The success of every business often hinges on the productivity and morale of its employees, which couldn’t be more important than in an office environment. Based on our years of creating all types of spaces, we know a thoughtfully designed environment is a sign of respect for both employees and customers. In keeping with the trend of “Hybrid Environmental Design,” offices can learn a lot from the Retail Industry – we know we certainly have!

When we design a retail environment, directing a customer’s journey around the space so it’s logical and comfortable can be the difference between a store that excites and a store that frustrates. The same principles hold true when an environment is created for an employee that needs to call the space home for 8 or more hours a day. Aisle spacing, access to common office equipment, proximity to bathrooms, etc. should all be taken into consideration as early in the design process as possible.

Just as in retail, for business owners with a limited budget it’s not absolutely necessary to focus on every square inch of your office’s visual presentation. Design features that receive that “special attention” will vary depending on the size of your space, but some essential elements for larger offices include creative common spaces, breakout areas, the kitchen, break room or game room, and outdoor space (if possible). These are the places that will inspire a sense of community or autonomy, while also giving employees a break from their screens.


Common area design for a medical office
Common areas can encourage collaboration as well as contemplation.


Visual focal points in a retail store can help put a potential customer in the mood to buy and can guide their attention to various key elements within a space. These same psychological cues can be applied to the office environment as well – an office design directly impacts employees’ quality of life, so it’s no surprise that a sparse space containing a haphazard collection of desks and chairs isn’t conducive to creativity and collaboration. If you want to encourage your staff to bring fresh ideas to their roles and vivacious energy to advocating for your services and products, their work space should provide that same level of stimulation. Larger organizations are even known to design trendy office spaces specifically to recruit new talent in an increasingly competitive hiring climate.

An office is an extension of a brand’s identity, and is therefore a big part of the first impression made upon Clients and employees. Your office design should be a source of pride for the employees who work there, while also securing bragging rights among Clients. Want more information? Check out this office design case study for an example of how we’ve helped past Clients take their work spaces to the next level!

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San Diego, CA | Indianapolis, IN