Creating the perfect office

It is with a significant amount of excitement that myself and some colleagues at Kotikan are creating our very first office space. We’ve spent the last 4 years in shared offices kindly provided by Edinburgh University and some Regus serviced offices but for the first time in nearly 6 months we will be back together under one roof. And we want to make the space awesome.

Open plan spaces, breakout working areas and lots of glass panels to let the light in – that’s a great start but what next? How do you make an office a great place to be and somewhere people want to spend their time? We’re lucky to have a great team of people – it’s one of the most important aspects of the company, so we thought about what activities are enjoyed by members of the team. Gaming (consoles and cards), socialising over a drink, sitting out in the sun and playing with the latest technologies all came high up on the list. As great design and solid engineering are important to the company we wanted to create an inspirational atmosphere that would also support close working together within teams. A long shopping list of requirements! Put on top of that space for 50 people to work and attend company meetings or presentations and it was a tough challenge.

Fitting 50 staff in 1 room is more than we have tried by a long way – we’ve been pretty successful at maximising usage of our space but this time we wanted it to feel less crowded. Purchasing larger desks and adding more space between them was an obvious start but we didn’t want to have teams further apart than before. Careful planning was the key here – considering what project each person was involved with at the same time as which department they were in. By taking all the variables into account we can keep teams together and shorten desire lines to reduce the feeling of walking past lines of desks that is familiar to many open plan offices.

Following a brand update last year we concentrated on 6 bold, bright colours to bring the office to life. Moderation is the key here – grey / black soft furnishings with white clean edges were used for most furniture. Colour is carefully added across the office space by picking colourful chairs, painted wall sections and the occasional dividers which also helped reduce noise from the kitchen etc.

As well as a place to work this had to be a social office so we took a completely different approach for the kitchen. Hidden away as you enter is a kitchen that’s themed as a city park or beer garden, it’s inspired by “The Meadows” that anyone who’s been to Edinburgh in the summer will have enjoyed. Picnic benches with thick grass coloured carpet underfoot adds an element of fun and our mural of the cityscape (to be added) completes the feel nicely. Our meeting rooms which will be stylishly themed (voting on which theme soon) all double up as gaming destinations with many consoles from various times in gaming history available – from the Atari 2600 up to the latest xbox one!

Common areas and breakout spaces are also important in how we work – giving small groups the chance to catch up on the day, their latest Pokemon or important work topics away from the desk. We already provide everyone with laptops so the flexibility is there but we added sofas and coffee tables for breakout conversations and a tucked away quiet spot for those hard to concentrate on tasks.

We haven’t forgotten the need to fuel people too – a selection of soft drinks, teas and coffee are always available and we have a beer fridge at the ready for our monthly company meetings. If you just need a break from the work, some random inspiration or you want to fill an idle hour then we’ve got it covered. Besides the games consoles there is also a great selection of card, dice and board games along with various LEGO sets and other geek toys!

What more could you want? Let me know in the comments…

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