When it comes to office space planning and use, we must admit that Volunteer Victoria has sat very comfortably in the ‘Do Nothing’ category for more than a decade. Like most non-profits time and resources are very limited and we simply use what we have and rarely think about our office layout or our furnishings’ quality, style, or comfort.
Several volunteers have validly argued that our decorating style might even have ‘Devolved’ as we ever so slowly filled our bright, wonderful heritage office space with mismatched furniture, broken chairs, and bits of things that no one even recognizes never mind wants or needs. Now you may be thinking, who cares? What difference does it make if there is a little chipped paint, faded chairs, plastic bags/12 banker boxes/three dead plants, and a symphony of faux-wood tones?
We learned that volunteers were left with a first impression that impacted how they perceived us and the quality of our services – our space didn’t match our preferred place in their memory.
This June, thanks to the amazing folks at Agenda Office Furnishings Volunteer Victoria began a space usage and furnishings revolution. Agenda will be recycling furniture, revamping our layout, and revitalizing our offices so that our space works for our staff, volunteers, and clients. We have also built a great new space to host meetings and workshops starting this September.
If your need an office evolution and have just a couple of hours and a dolly here are some TOP TIPS we learned from Agenda:
1. Layout really matters. Keep access points free of visual and actual clutter, create open space and flow between furnishings, and make first impression areas count
2. Put matching furnishings together. Regardless of age or condition, space looks and feels better when the tone of furnishings is the same
3. A broken item needs to fixed or removed from your space. If you can’t use an item it has no useful purpose and therefore no value.
4. Repurpose items -trade, recycle, and refit. And, if you know something does not have a purpose remove it from your office so others can use it
5. Ask people to try a new office layout for several weeks before passing judgment
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from office furnishings experts. They truly can make a difference!