Business driven décor

From IT to HR, software to hard cash, business driven systems are taking over. But what does the term really mean and how can décor improve office productivity?

Humans are attuned to and influenced by their environment. We’ve all walked into rooms that felt off or were upsetting and can imagine how hard it would be to live or work there. While it’s easy to see how creepy hotel rooms, dirty cafes and dark shops are losing out on repeat business, it can be hard to picture what the opposite would be. Most people get as far as neutral – they picture pleasant, unobtrusive décor which doesn’t scare away customers. But what about décor that enhances the way people work and shop?

Learning from the supermarkets

Major retailers have been studying the effects of environment on retail spending for decades. From positioning (fresh fruit by the door, junk food at the checkout) to smells (baking bread, hot chocolate, coffee…) they’ve figured out dozens of ways to encourage shoppers to spend by altering the décor and environment. Applying some of these lessons to office environments has led to business driven décor.

What does it mean to be ‘business driven’ in the decorating industry?

Business driven can simply mean ‘putting the client in control’. At Fernwood, we expect the client to be in control as a default. For us, being ‘business driven’ means working to create a space that is driven by your business needs and, in turn, helps drive your business. Our goal is to design an office for you that meets both current and future needs. For example, we might create a desk layout that uses the space but can be shifted to add more capacity as you grow. Or we might create offices for senior staff that function effectively as meeting rooms, putting busy executives firmly in charge of their agenda.

Why is business driven décor such a hit?

Every business is different and has its own unique needs. The role of the designer in business driven décor is to understand the needs of the business and ensure that they are met – whether or not their on trend. This makes office spaces easier to use for employees, increasing productivity and retention.

Different teams have different needs

Even within the same company, different teams may have different needs resulting in different office layout and décor decisions. Open plan offices are a key example. The trend developed in areas where oversight or collaboration were major business needs. While it might make sense for a finance team who need to work closely together to share a single big desk, call handling staff may need more distance so they’re not overhearing each others’ calls. Likewise, a busy environment increases interruptions and can inhibit employees from getting into ‘deep work’, the intense focus essential in creative fields. Hot desking or a clean desk policy might work for sales staff who are on the road 3 days a week but be a nightmare for an IT team with plenty of hardware.


By understanding the knock on effects of design decisions, we’re able to improve your workspace. Our designs are driven by your business needs.

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