Give your business the perfect space to thrive with these design tips 🌿

With these design tips, you will be able to give your employees the perfect office space that will make them feel happy to return on a Monday morning.

Ditch the Cubicles

Whilst everyone needs some privacy at work to maintain their productivity levels, no one really likes the feeling of being cooped up in a tiny box all day. Instead of trapping your employees in an isolated cube, opt for an open-space environment. Investing in a set of long tables can really add a fresh, quirky feeling to your work room.

Not only that but they can promote productivity and allow co-workers to develop a sense of comradery with their fellow workers. Everyone can see everyone else and what they are working on, therefore they feel compelled to do the same.

Not only that but less cubicles mean that is easier for your workers to get their daily dose of sunlight from any nearby windows, instead of it being blocked by a large wall.

Color Schemes

Your color scheme should ultimately reflect the vibe of your business. Don’t just get used to your office’s white walls. Instead, spruce it up with some bright colors that can get your workers even through the darkest of winter days. Professional interior designers can give you advice on the best color patterns to inspire your workers.

Source: Dolly

Source: Dolly

Quirky and Fun Designs

If you are running a “hip” brand, why not pick an interior design that reflects the vibrancy of your business? There is nothing wrong with going a little mad with your color schemes, especially if it brings your employees a pleasant work environment to return to. Unique work designs can inspire the creativity of your workers, for instance if you create a relaxed space, you may want to include beanbags, wooden tables, fur rugs and even book shelves.

Relaxed workers are more productive and this will make them enthusiastic when they are at work. You can even invite artists in to paint murals on your walls, if you feel brave enough. Be creative and create an individual look for your office.

Personal Touches

Your employees will certainly appreciate it if your office building has some personal touches thrown into to help them through a busy work day. Don’t forget to make spaces, such as break rooms, that can help your employees wind down and relax during their breaks and lunch hours. Invest in some fun additions to your space, such as a game room, a tv, a fish tank, a book shelf or even a nap area. But most important, don’t forget about the coffee machine! Leave out all the essentials, some capsules and some biscuits and your employees will lap it up!

What is micro-retailing and why is it a growing trend? 🍃

It's hardly news that the retail industry is going through significant contraction of selling space as an uptick in bankruptcies and outright liquidations forces hundreds of locations to close en masse. In addition, dozens of struggling retailers continue to shutter outlets hoping to improve profitability or avoid a similar fate. In fact, there is a pretty good chance that the number of store closings this year will exceed last year's record pace. While there are plenty of new store openings, the net downsizing of retail space in certain categories is clearly significant (for a deeper dive I recommend this excellent report by Coresight Research).

Another factor that is starting to affect vacancy rates is that some brands are "right-sizing" their prototypical store, in what I affectionately label the "Honey, I shrunk the store" phenomenon. Some of this is a sure sign that the retailer has run out of ideas for the space it has and is hoping to shrink to prosperity. Good luck with that. Others are wisely optimizing their footprints to address the rise of e-commerce and other fundamental changes in shopping behavior.

What's new—and fundamentally more interesting for retail's future—is the rise of much smaller and very much reimagined formats from well-established brands. I first delved into this last year writing about Nordstrom Local, the storied retailer's new service-focused micro-concept. Nordstrom has since disclosed plans to open additional locations and hinted in its recent investor presentation that Local could be a key part of the company's portfolio strategy to drive market share on a city-by-city basis. Ikea joined Sephora, Target and others who are hoping to spur outlet growth by announcing a smaller format that holds the potential to unlock many additional urban locations by having fundamentally different economics and site-location requirements.

In some cases these retailers are dealing with the harsh reality that their concepts are maturing and it's becoming impossible to find locations where they can generate an ROI from their traditional format. Without reengineering their underlying economics, their store growth plans come to a screeching halt. In other cases they are mirroring aspects of the playbook employed by many digitally-native brands as they began opening physical stores: locate closer to where the target customers live or work, make services a key component of the value proposition, harmonize the experience across digital and physical channels, minimize inventory and use technology as a differentiator.

Over the years, many retailers have chased the notion of a smaller store as the key to spurring outlet growth. Where most went wrong was delivering a watered-down version of what the brand was known for. Saks' Main Street strategy is an expensive lesson in what not to do. The smaller box did encourage them to open in locations that could not financially accommodate a "real" Saks store. In theory, this strategy held the promise of increasing the luxury retailer's store count by some 50%. Unfortunately customers were underwhelmed by the offering, seeing it as a "baby" Saks. Eventually all the expansion sites were closed.