May 26, 2024

5 steps to safer office design on a budget

Sonia Brown, Director and Head of Design at HUMAN, by Quadrant Design shares her top, budget-friendly tips to create safe, welcoming and motivating workspaces for employees post-lockdown.

The luxury of choice

Not being restrictive to people’s working patterns and providing flexibility as to how we work will be key. Companies will need to be more open-minded to how an employee’s time could be split between home and the office.

A multitude of options to match the needs of the individual are required to allow people to flex between spaces. This could be through the use of more private individual working spaces for people to use and interact with throughout the workspace, or even a whole re-think of the building setup Businesses could look into how they can provide a range of spaces, for example, remote meeting rooms in out of city hubs. The goal is to create spaces that still connect the brand but can be spread geographically.

Think small, not big

We have been cooped up in our homes for a good part of a year and have become accustomed to our home comforts. Returning to the office may be overwhelming to many. Open-plan with rows of desks scattered across large open spaces may feel intimidating and somewhat unsafe. As business leaders we must make sure that the level of comfort and privacy is increased in order to allow people to relax and enjoy the space they are in. This might be through the addition of private work/ breakout spaces, lowering featuring lighting pendants so they hang closer to the user. Increasing soft furnishings such as rugs, cushions and drapes throughout the space can help to bring warmth and a feeling of home.


Colours can physiologically affect the way that we feel within a space and influence our mood. Green for example, is soothing, reds and pinks are motivational, blue is calming and tranquil and yellow is stimulating.

Colour can be added to workspaces to suit all budgets. From the walls as a physical finish, or something a little more personal to the immediate workstation area, such as decorative items, planting, and artwork.

And watch out for the more traditional ‘white-wash’ – white, grey and beige tones can often lead to feelings of sadness and discomfort. Colour may also be used through soft furnishings, so overlaying comfortable areas with colours such as blue or green will add another level of comfort, balance and harmony.


Planting also has huge benefits when it comes to improving our environments. Adding planting throughout the workspace connects us to the outdoors. Greenery can improve productivity and creativity whilst also reducing stress.

Involving your team

Now more than ever, it is so important to listen to our tribe. Listen to your people. Create opportunities for your employees to get involved – from how they are feeling about returning, to how they would feel most comfortable in their workspace. Gaining their trust and confidence in the approach will ultimately help them feel more comfortable and encouraged to return to work.