How you can create a stylish and functional modern office

How you can create a stylish and functional modern office

There’s a lot that goes into designing or redesigning an office space, and you want to know that what you get is what you’ll want to keep for the foreseeable future. To help you consider some of the intricacies and considerations that will be made throughout the process, Penketh Group take you through some of the things to keep in mind when planning your office fit out.

Open-plan, modern office

Create some room

Open plan offices are a popular option when it comes to creating contemporary office spaces. They can make an office feel more spacious and friendly, while also encouraging collaboration, which can help your staff work more efficiently.

In an open plan office, some of the most common complaints made by employees are over sound privacy, and noise level. Thankfully, there are some modern-looking and stylish ways that you can help keep noise at a manageable level, while maintaining a contemporary feel around the office.

You could place some colourful wall partitions around the office, which can be used to keep different teams grouped together within the office, facilitating collaboration, while reducing noise level. Acoustic wall panels are another great option. They can be an integral part of your office’s design, while keeping noise at a manageable level throughout the office.

Colourful office partitions

However, a fully open plan office could likely benefit from some smaller individual offices, to help staff working on a tight deadline to focus in comfort and privacy. Instead of conforming to a stereotypical office.

Set out some individual work areas that provide a balance between comfort and functionality. Keep it enclosed so employees can work undisturbed, but keep it colourful and bright so they don’t feel demoralised. Many employees often feel like they need to take a break from their usual workspace once in a while, so the change of scenery can help keep them motivated.

Modern office in vintage industrial interior

Make it unique

You could design your office around certain themes and commitments that you’ve built your business around, which help reinforce those commitments in the minds of your customers, staff and competitors.

For example, if sustainability is something that’s important to you and your business, look for furniture made from recycled materials, allow a lot of natural light into the building, and place plants liberally around the office.

Plants dotted around an open-plan office

Or you might decide instead that cutting-edge technology and innovation is what defines your business. So you’d include video-conferencing facilities, touch-screen PCs, and a variety of entertainment gadgets for staff on their break, while designing the office with a minimalist and sleek look. The addition of such technology will help encourage collaboration and efficiency in the workspace, while helping to define your brand image further.

Whatever you decide that your business and office space needs the most, you’re sure to be left with an office that meets your needs perfectly, especially when it’s designed in collaboration with industry experts who know exactly how to help you the most.


Price Points: Office wall storage

Office wall storage | H is for Home

We’re currently… slowly… getting our home office spruced up, cleared out and fit for work. We’ll tell you a little bit more about that tomorrow. Anyway, like the rest of of the rooms in our house – we never seem to have enough storage in there.

In the kitchen and bedroom, storage needs are primarily big cupboards and drawers; office requirements are a bit different. Shelving is the main demand with rows of (matching) box files – the tax office demands that self-employed people keep records – bank statements, receipts, invoices and the like – for at least 5 years. Even with a lot being kept online, it’s still a lot of paper to store!

I’ve always liked a tidy desk, free from piles of detritus – it keeps me sane. The best way to achieve this is to keep everything in office wall storage; off the work surface yet still within easy reach. I’d happily give wall space to all three of the modular options above which range from £36 to over £200 for the combinations shown. I love having a visible place for everything, no opening and closing drawer after drawer searching for the paper clips or the stapler, the scissors or the tape measure.

  1. Mystic modular wall storage: £8.99 per module, AliExpress
  2. Urbio Perch Biggy magnetic modules: from £3.82 for a Bitsy Organiser (this combination £94.79), The Container Store
  3. Vitra Uten.Silo by Dorothee Becker from Vitra: £225.25, Clippings

Four cinematic offices you’ll never forget

Still from The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)credit

Of course, the main thing we see when we’re watching a film is the actors and their interactions; we listen to their dialogue and watch their body language to get the full import as to the movie’s message.

Sometimes, however, the environment they’re in is just as important – it sets the backdrop, makes us feel free, fearful or inspired. In films which feature offices, you’d be forgiven for overlooking many of the sets – they’re just there to provide a place to sit, to show that people are at work. Then there are the films that use the office setting as a protagonist in itself – after all, many of us spend five days a week in one of these places, so why wouldn’t these environments loom large?

Here are four films that use offices as effective – and memorable – characters.

Still from 'The Incredibles' (2004)credit

The Incredibles

Life as a decommissioned hero is a miserable experience for Mr Incredible and there’s no greater sign of this than his cookie-cutter, grey and oppressive little office cubicle. This box is where he sits day after day, trying not to deny insurance pay-outs to elderly clients, until his bullying jobs-worth of a boss pushes him too far and ends up pile-driven through each and every wall in the place. This 2004 hit gives us a worthy metaphor for busting out of corporate chains if ever there was one.

Still from 'The Matrix' (1999)credit

The Matrix

Another maze of grey cubicles in this 1999 film, and another hero breaking out of them (almost). Keanu Reeves gets a weird call from a weird mobile phone that (weirdly) arrives in the post. The (weird) call tells him to get out of his office and so he tries. However, he (probably quite sensibly) bottles it and the men in black grab him and stifle further comment by making his mouth seal over. That doesn’t happen at your average commercial property in St James, eh?

Still showing Floor 7½ from Being John Malkovich (1999)credit

Being John Malkovich

1999 was a year for surreal offices and the Mertin-Flemmer Building in Being John Malkovich was particularly strange, what with having a half-sized floor and all. Floor 7½ gives us some very memorable moments – a pastiche corporate training video which explains the story behind the half-floor being just one. Apparently, a sea captain fell in love with a dwarf and promised to build a half-sized floor in his new office building just for her. If that wasn’t weird enough, a filing cabinet on this floor hides a portal into John Malkovich’s consciousness. Would you go through it? Really?

Still from American Psycho (2000)credit

American Psycho

This 2000 film looks back at 1980s bear-pit corporate culture through the eyes of Patrick Bateman, who may or may not be a status-driven murdering sociopath. Bateman is a mergers and acquisitions specialist who hangs his entire identity and mental stability on his cool clothes, his fancy juicer and the exotic fruit he pushes through it and his moisturiser. When his colleagues and rivals show how cool and influential they are too, he doesn’t like it. When there’s a good old dinkle-swinging contest over business cards in a conference room, Bateman finally tips over the edge and then it’s nail-guns and dead tramps all the way.

What films can you think of that contain iconic or memorable offices?

The dos and don’ts of shared office space

Co-working spacecredit

Shared office space can be a hoot – it can be great for networking, creativity and for saving money on the monthly office rent. It’s also good socially; anyone who works from home on a regular basis will tell you how isolating it can become after a while. However, if you go into a shared office space with the wrong attitude, that office space in Surbiton can easily become a war zone and going to work will become a nightmare for everyone. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you to guarantee a harmonious – and productive – workspace.

Woman on the phonecredit

Do be considerate

Get to know your co-workers so you know how they operate. If they need peace and quiet in the afternoons and you’re loud on the phone, go outside when your BFF calls. If you’re a compulsive communicator and your phone and laptop ping every two minutes, set them to silent.

Messy office deskcredit

Don’t be untidy

This is an extension of being considerate and is equally important at your own desk and in shared areas. There are people who simply can’t work in a mess and so your litter, messy shelves and rows of unwashed mugs will actually affect their productivity. They may also feel compelled to clean up after you and that’s just not on. Clean up after yourself!

Working together at a computercredit

Do talk to people

A huge benefit of shared office space is the chance for interaction with people. You can chat, share a coffee and ideas, head out for drinks and maybe even collaborate.

Man shouting into a tin can phonecredit

Don’t talk too much

Keep chit-chat to reasonable levels – no blow-by-blow accounts of drunken antics, TV spoilers or inane jokes, especially if it looks like others are busy. If you’re dying to catch up on some gossip, head out for lunch instead. Also, if someone looks busy, leave them alone.

Office deskcredit

Do make it personal

You can make your desk and space your own. Of course you need to check with the leasing agent what you are and aren’t allowed to do, but a few photos won’t hurt. Don’t, however, think your favourite oil burner fragrance or your pet scorpion will be hits with everyone.

Small meeting roomcredit

Don’t just huddle at your desk

Use all the amenities – that conference room is there to be used, as is the break-out room and even that patch of garden. If you need to have an awkward conversation with someone, either over the phone or in person, take it away from your desk. If you’re having a meeting, use a meeting room – your desk isn’t the best place for a frank exchange of views.

'Put your money in the kitty' money boxcredit

Do chip in for the kitty

Give some money to the tea and coffee fund, and stick the kettle on now and then. Bring some biscuits or home-made cakes in once in a while and encourage others to do the same.

Hopefully these tips will help you to create a harmonious atmosphere in your office space. You could also use them to help others to get along, especially if they’re breaking one of these golden rules. We all want harmony at work, right?


Get their look: Minimalist home office

Minimalist home officecredit

We’ve chosen a minimalist home office for this week’s Get their look post. It’s the best environment to think, plan and concentrate. A bright window with an interesting, ever-changing outlook to give the brain a rest when required – or perhaps provide inspiration if you’re lucky enough to have a great view. It’s got a cool, vintage industrial feel. It’s not over cluttered – a mixture of functional electrics and storage – along with decorative touches such as the big letter A and a jug of fresh flowers.

  1. Trestle table
  2. Ruark Audio DAB radio
  3. Case Robin Day 675 Chair
  4. Vintage metal ‘A’
  5. Yellow retro dial telephone
  6. Grey metal box file

How to get the minimalist home office look | H is for Home

5 space-saving tips & techniques for the small office

'5 space-saving tips & techniques for the small office' blog post banner

Hammock hung in a small home office

image credit: Gals n’ Guys

Whether you’ve converted the laundry room at home into a professional environment or rent a small office elsewhere, it’s essential to make the most of every foot and inch. There are many things you can do to make even the tiniest room organised and fully functional, so take a look at these clever space-saving tips and techniques.

Purpose-built storage units with red doorsimage credit: Mike Mozart

  1. Hire a storage unit

If you’ve got a lot to do and very little space to do it in, hiring a storage unit for business purposes could be ideal. These safe, secure facilities are not only a great place to keep furniture, electrical goods and stock but they’re also suitable for keeping large filing cabinets and other bulky items which can take up a lot of room. Believe it or not, many small UK firms even operate partially or completely out of a storage unit, so there’s plenty that can be done with this bit of extra space.

Nick Keppol's minimalist home officeimage credit: Nick Keppol

  1. Embrace the minimalist look

Squeezing too many things into a small room can look cluttered, disorganised and untidy, so when arranging your office think carefully about what you need and what you don’t need. Embrace the minimalist look by getting rid of anything that looks ugly or out of place and invest in an array of space-saving furniture such as corner computer desks, mobile cabinets (which can be stored underneath desks) and chairs with hidden storage.

Contemporary home office with clear desk and chairimage credit: Found Associates

  1. Choose your technology carefully

If possible, you should also opt for technology that doesn’t take up much room such as lightweight laptops and tablets rather than heavy desktop PCs as the latter require a large surface area to work properly. PCs also tend to make a lot of noise and give out plenty of heat which might make a small room warm and stuffy, so bear this in mind when purchasing IT equipment.

On a similar note, it’s also worth getting hold of a double-duty flat screen that can double up as a TV and a computer monitor. A large screen is ideal for work and play and will allow you to flip between a spreadsheet and your favourite TV programme.

 small home office with large collection of orange and white storage boxesimage credit: Juliette Byrne

  1. Use as much wall space as possible

When it comes to storage, it’s also essential to think vertically and use as much wall space as you possibly can without turning the room into an eyesore. Tall bookcases, for instance, won’t take up much floor space but they’ll give you plenty of room to store important files, documents, literature and paperwork. Shelves are also easy to put up above desks and such like and will help keep things a little more organised.

home office with black-painted chalk board wallimage credit: John Donkin

  1. Chalkboard

If you don’t have a spare meeting room or floor space to place a presentation flip board – fear not. Simply cover one wall in chalkboard paint and you’ve got yourself a doodle pad and focal point that won’t take up any extra room at all. It’s ideal for note making and if you ever have to explain something to a member of staff you can put your artistic talents to good use by drawing diagrams on the wall. Perfect!

It’s relatively easy to turn a small office into a practical dynamic environment, so why not give these handy tips a go?