Comparing Traditional Design to Living Office

At Raven Studio, we passionately believe in the power of space to transform people’s experience of work.  That is why we have embraced Living Office for ourselves in our own Studio and recommend it to many of our clients as well.

As you begin your own office renovation, you might wonder in what concrete ways Living Office differs from traditional office planning

Traditional space planning is expedient on many levels, and so, may be the best option for your office renovation.  It is the quickest and simplest way of getting to a final design.  Where time constraints are significant, it is likely the only option.  And where office space is not truly a strategically important asset, traditional planning will be the way to go.  Our design team at Raven Studio is very experienced in traditional office planning.

On the other hand, if you see your office space as a critical tool for achieving your company’s goals and you believe that a workspace can help your team thrive, then Living Office may the right option for you.

The chart below shows some key differences between the two design methods.  You can also read our FAQ’s for Living Office Clients.

Traditional Office Design

  • Metrics-driven design square footage per employee, storage space per department, etc.
  • Top-down design input from the company e.g. upper management and perhaps a single representative per department
  • Primarily subjective design criteria based largely on individuals’ preferences.
  • Client collaboration focused on solutions mainly private offices, open plan workstations and meeting rooms.
  • Minimal change management as the design is done with little involvement from the end-users.
  • Amplifying and correcting culture and workplace dynamics is addressed mainly through the selection of decorations and colours.
  • Emphasis on current-state. Solutions may not be adaptable to changes in the company’s staff size or strategic direction.

Living Office

  • Needs-driven design – what tools do people need to do their work, how do they work, where would they like to work, culture, priorities and values drive the layouts and furniture selections.
  • Design input from staff at all levels and departments within the organization through workshops that provoke discussion and discovery of people’s needs at work.
  • Documented & objective design criteria established as the result of multi-day, multi-level workshops that spur discussion of the organization’s and people’s priorities. These criteria are the foundation for all design work and are the basis for assessing the quality of the design.
  • Client collaboration focused on refining the design problems to solve such as supporting focused work, collaboration, brief meetings, large presentations, etc. Wide variety of furniture solutions can be envisioned to create this support.
  • Built-in change management – End-users are involved from the planning stage of the project via workshops.  The specific work that end-users do, how they do that work and how often, are critical elements in the overall design.
  • Amplifying and correcting culture and workplace dynamics is part of the design process. An organization’s purpose and character are fundamental to the design and are incorporated from the beginning. A firm of accountants would have a Living Office very different (on every level) from a software development company.
  • Explicit steps for future-proofing the plan and furniture. Space Allocation Model software estimates space requirements in the future. The Living Office methodology includes checklists for future-proofing solutions and block plans.