It’s unusual in the 21st century for a company to describe what it does as magic but it’s a term the team at commercial interiors firm Amos Beech is comfortable with. “It is a kind of magic, in a way,” says director and workplace consultant, Sam James. “We can take a company leasing 20,000 sq ft over two floors and move them into 14,000 sq ft on one floor, and afterwards they’ll tell me they feel they have more space.”

“It can save them a fortune in office spend every month, which goes straight to their profits. Then you can start to talk about the amount of money that could be saved per annum in heating, maintenance, service charges and everything else.”

Add into the mix improvement in staff engagement, better communications, increased productivity and fulfilment and it all makes for a compelling argument on rethinking how we use space at work.

“It is not just about creating interiors,” says Sam, who adds that the company mantra is “Rethink, Restructure, Redesign”.

“It is about looking at the business and identifying things that are preventing it from going as well as it could.

“Often you realise you don’t have a team – just people working in different rooms, without knowing who everyone else it. A change of design can bring everyone together, break down communications barriers and improve efficiency.”


Typically, he argues, companies are still using space-hungry furniture, such as crescent-shaped desks, designed for large desktop computers. With the switch to laptops, desk space needs have shrunk down considerably. And with a certain percentage of the workforce working remotely, on site visits, or simply on holiday, many desks are left vacant each day. A simple switch to lockers and hot desks can remove a slice of square footage overnight.

Amos Beech has many satisfied converts to its philosophy in the UK and beyond. Offices in Shetland, Fort William, London, Dublin and Frankfurt have all been transformed by the Falkirk-based team.

As part of the process of considering the way space is used in the workplace, Amos Beech encourages clients to stop thinking about assigning space to a person, and instead, assign space to a task.

“In your home you use different areas for different activities, why not take the same approach at work?”, asks Sam.

Some tasks such as concentrating on research, study or report writing are “high focus” while others are “low-focus” – working through an inbox and catching up with to colleagues, perhaps. Office spaces should be allocated accordingly.


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Other spaces can be acoustically redesigned to provide privacy for phone calls – something lawyers, financial service providers and sales teams would value.

The first step in the process of changing the environment is to get under the skin of the business, to discover how its DNA can be reflected in a new space.

“What we don’t do is take the company logo and project it on every piece of glass and vinyl or use corporate colours on the desks. We take a more subtle approach,” explains Sam.

“As part of that DNA finding mission, we might some messages, or some interesting facts that the industry is known for, things that have some synergy with what they are doing. Then you can put some personality into the office.

“If we can uncover that and present it in the built environment then everyone is gently reminded about why they work there, and what their mission is, through the course of the day.

“And that means staff are be able to deliver their elevator pitch easily . . . because they believe in it.”

At Amos Beech, it’s not all about hard profit and sales increases – there are clear benefits for staff as well. The design company tries to bring in “biophilic” elements: green places and spaces; landscape imagery; natural light; wooden surfaces and so on, that all increase feelings of wellbeing.

 “People are subliminally connecting with nature, symbolised by say bleached wood floors, leaf and foliage, or pictures of woodland. These types of things provide a sense of refuge and peace.

“And there is the science to back this up. In one study in a US hospital it was found that patients who looked into an area of woodland from their bed needed at least a day less of recovery time after an operation,” he explains.

Motivating and retaining existing staff reduces recruitment costs … but attracting the right staff in the first place is also key to survival in an ever-changing world.


“Millennials are no longer motivated by the size of their pay cheque,” says Sam.

“They are motivated by the opportunity to work in an environment they actually like.

“Companies such as Google or Microsoft have invested massively in research to find out what type of environment their staff – and the type of staff they want to attract – are actually after. Digital natives don’t need a desk, they can work on a sofa and they hardly know what a desktop is anymore.”

The Millennial office look may not be for everyone and Amos Beech does not drag clients kicking and screaming into a full “Google” mode. The firm recognises that many staff still need to feel anchored in their own space, and it has other innovative solutions to suit.

“For one client we installed a sit-stand workstation for every member of staff. The client told us everyone loved it, people were talking to each other much more than they did before, there was real buzz to the office that there wasn’t before,” he explains.

And the final piece of magic is that once a design is agreed, the entire changeover can happen in just a few weeks – and sometimes over a single weekend.

“If it’s a new build then all they do is leave work on Friday and arrive at the new one on Monday.”

The journey into a new space could inject a bit of magic into Monday mornings . . . to say nothing of sales, staff morale and profit.

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