All designers will share similarities in methods of working but there will also be distinct differences between types of designer, be they graphic designers, web designers, interior designers, and so on. Therefore, the workplace surroundings will be hugely important to let each individual get the best out of every working day.
Much of an interior designer’s work time will involve collaboration, either with their clients or with architects, contractors and suppliers. Therefore they need a working environment which is quiet, but which also allows them to talk freely on the phone. An individual or small shared office is best for this, rather than an open-plan space where they may disturb others.
Powerful computer hardware will also be a prerequisite, particularly if designers are going to be running memory hungry applications such as CAD software. It’s also important to note that all designers are going to need adequate peripherals to perform their jobs properly, this will include: large high resolution monitors; graphic tablets; and multi-function mice and keyboards.
Graphic designers are often-home based or work on a freelance basis. However, they still need access to a business address so a virtual office can be a perfect solution. Much of a graphic designer’s work will be hugely creative, and this is why it can be helpful for them to work in their own space, where they are not confined by a cubicle. However, creativity does sometimes need a change of scenery to spark it and that is where a co-working space or even time spent working in a local coffee shop can help.
The life of a freelancer can be a lonely one. A co-working space particularly can give you access to other creative business owners and this can be motivating when you need to meet tight deadlines. If you are freelancing you are also going to be reliant on work from other business owners. Co-working spaces or even serviced offices can be great places to network and win new contracts.
A web designer is going to spend much of their day immersed in code and thus they need an environment which is quiet and where they can fully focus. Some companies have rules about workers not listening to personal headphones, but this can be short sighted if you have employees who need to cut out all distractions to get the job done, and with as few errors as possible.
What is going to be true for all designers, and in fact for anyone who spends long days in front of a PC or Mac, is the need to have an ergonomic working space. The desk and screen needs to be at the right height to avoid neck and eye strain; the mouse needs to be ergonomically designed to avoid RSI, and the chair needs to be comfortable and practical so the ideal height and angle can be achieved to rule out back problems.
It is important not to deny individual’s requests for different seating or style of desk if this is going to help them be more comfortable or productive. Standing desks, kneeling chairs or even sitting on Swiss balls are all beneficial for different people.
Finally, we all need time away from our desk, especially if the job takes a great deal of concentration. Include breakout areas in any office environment where you provide comfortable seating so staff can eat lunch or just chat over coffee. These areas have been found not only to make your employees happier at work but they also generate interaction and creativity, which help keep staff engaged and productive.
James is a freelance writer with expertise on a number of creative topics.