Office design and office culture are so inextricably bound up that it’s almost remarkable that an office would be designed before a business moves into it. It’s no coincidence that memorable companies also have memorable premises (think of Google and you think of Google HQ, think of Innocent and you think of Fruit Towers). An organisation’s culture does and should impact office design and its culture should manifest itself through design.
But this culture doesn’t have to mean a super-trendy tech start-up manifesto or a beards-for-all philosophy. The notion of culture encompasses everything from processes to work practices and flows and interactions between teams. The crucial thing is that how a company works is reflected in where it works. If your teams constantly communicate, work with each other and there is a constant interaction, it makes no sense to have tiny cupboards separating everyone. Similarly, if your organisation is carefully and deliberately siloed, then you don’t want a large, open-plan space where nobody can get a moment’s peace or there is no privacy. If you have a workspace that just about fits your staff and their desks but you have to leave the premises to do the work you’re renowned for, then that culture gets eroded.