On site with Talie Mole
In keeping with the diversity of the Interior Design sector, SBID have launched a new blog feature aimed at revealing the raw and practical side of the industry, exploring the experiences and development of projects that is not often revealed quite as openly. Here at SBID we value all aspects of the interior design process and take pride in showcasing all aspects of the industry.
For our first ‘On site with’ feature, we spoke to Talie Mole from The Urban Mole who documented her thoughts as she embarked on a new design project for an International Engineering company in Milton Keynes and is preparing to begin construction! Here’s what she had to say…
Two weeks ago, my team and I started work on a 400sqm office and commercial space based in Milton Keynes. The brief was to bring a dated and archaic space into the 21st century by incorporating great design and to create a more efficient way of working.
About the Client Company
An International Engineering Company – Europe Office, based in Milton Keynes. The space covers 2 floors including a large mezzanine and industrial area on the ground floor. Offices are on both floors along with 3 toilets, one kitchen on the lower ground and one kitchenette on the 1st floor.
When I first took a walkabout of the premises nearly 6 months ago I noticed that people worked very much within their perimeters. They spent the whole day at their desks without ever having the need to move. This included eating and spending break times fixed to one spot. The desks, very large (the old fashion crescent shaped workstations with low level filing units). There were cables being fed left, right and centre.
There wasn’t any real designated area for staff to have breaks, nor detach themselves from the chains of their monitors. The first floor that housed 26 staff members only had a kitchenette with the essential fridge, microwave and kettle. This was also situated in the main room so that leftover Chinese being heated could intoxicate the whole of the room, not to mention the annoying “ping” for the unlucky soul situated right next to the nuke machine.
Once a very male dominated industry, the toilets still proudly display the male symbol even though these toilets are now gender fluid (very on trend). New female workers and visitors would be slightly perplexed as to where their place to spend a penny actually was!
The whole space is dreary and suppressive. Cobalt blue stained floor tiles, huge beech effect workstations, and well, those cheap leatherette “executive” office chairs with their synthetic cracks and missing fabric just feels like an episode of the 90’s classic, ‘The Office’.
This company has been lucky enough to retain their staff for many years. It really is, from boy to man and beyond. Many of these good people are coming to the end of their working life and the company feels it’s important in embrace the next generation. In my designs and presentations, I have explained and shown them the importance of creating a healthy and efficient workspace.
It’s not only about a fresh and modern design (which of course is paramount), but it’s also important to bear in mind that days of everything at ‘arm length’ are gone. Reducing workstation sizes and putting filing systems further away, encourages mental interaction and physical exercise. Rising from your chair bumps up those pedometer steps and asking Harry “how is that project going?” allows the individual to interact with their colleagues. Sadly, quite a few of this company’s existing staff are affected by poor health and diabetes. This doesn’t have to be the case for future staff – we are far more informed these days!
Having a separate room to have lunch, again detaches them from their work area and gives them that vital downtime so they can come back fresher and far more productive. Many a good idea has been discussed over coffee around a table.
Also, toilets that are designed with a little bit of care and attention, promotes a more courtesy amongst colleagues. If something looks like a portaloo on a building site, it will get abused as one!
Good, clever and well thought out design = good wellbeing = productivity = profit!
Wish me luck….
– Talie Mole, The Urban Mole Interior Design
Join SBID again when we get back in touch with Talie, to see how she got on in transforming this dated and dreary office into a youthful and contemporary workplace!