If your company is moving to a new office or if you’re simply trying to make a change with your existing one, office layout design should never be overlooked as a vital tool that can shape your company’s daily operations for the better, physically and otherwise. We’ve now known for decades just how essential an office’s physical environment is to encourage all those aspects of the workplace that spell the success of your business, such employee collaboration, motivation, productivity, and morale.
Office layout design, also known as office space planning, is the process of designing and arranging the layout of your office in such a way that facilitates meaningful communication among staff across team and department, as well as optimizing workflow and supervision. It can be difficult for lots of people to accurately visualize the space of their office, empty or furnished, with a different or entirely new arrangement of furniture and equipment. This is why office layout design is usually done with the help of a design professional who has experience in architecture and interior design, including a finely-honed sense of 3D visualization and depth perception. This professional space planner works closely with you to ultimately determine a layout that would utilize your office floor space in the most efficient way possible.
Office layout design requires taking many measurements of your office space, as well as making an assessment of all physical objects that will occupy that space. Office furniture and equipment that you have can be better incorporated into your day-to-day tasks than they have been before. If you plan to buy new furniture, keep in mind that the informed office layout design of today will lead to a wiser purchase of furniture tomorrow. You can avoid any sense buyer’s remorse when you know exactly what space is available for any new additions to your office.
Aside from the preliminary assessment of space and furniture, there are other key principles to help guide the office layout design process. One major consideration is determining the level of privacy between employees, through whether you want a more open- or closed-plan office layout. You may remember the oppressive cubicle farms of several decades ago when it seemed the overall goal of a company was to fill its open office space with as many walls as possible. The benefits of staying on task were taken to the extreme. In more recent years, we’ve seen the opposite of this in the open-plan office layout design which utilizes virtually no walls between office workers in hopes of encouraging beneficial employee interaction—and maybe saving a few bucks by foregoing divisive office furniture. Finding now that these can be a major distraction and a hindrance to productivity, it may be best to find a blended scheme, using the best of both worlds. A closed office plan offers more concentration and less distraction, while a more open office plan can encourage employee collaboration while reducing real estate costs.
Another important consideration is to determine strategic zoning of employee workstations. This is a crucial aspect of successful office layout design, since so much of how a company runs is based on how employees do, or perhaps even don’t, communicate with one other. The most common way to take advantage of this aspect is to zone by employee function in the company—by job description, team, and/or department. Zoning in this way for an office layout design not only facilitates interaction among workers who might share the project- or team-based goals, it can also double as a delineation between “loud” and “quiet” zones. Employees whose scope of duties include heavy communication with each other and clients can fulfill their tasks in one area of the office while allowing more “quiet” workers a quieter environment for concentration on their personal responsibilities in a distant area.
An effective way to avoid overcrowding and subsequent employee discomfort in the future is to determine how many employees you have now, plus how many will join your company in the future. This way you can adequately provide a comfortable workspace for them as your company grows. While communication among employees is healthy and contributes to heightened morale, uncrowded personal space and private space are always important to maintain in a successful office layout design. The unplanned addition of more staff in a finite space could mean sacrificing that and causing discomfort for a lot of your staff.
These and other considerations make for more a productive environment for your office, especially when consulting with an experienced space planner. Cubicle World founder and President Jerry Mogyorody has gained considerable know-how in creating office layout design schemes that offer an effective blend of both private and collaborative office environments. Jerry’s experience in having run several successful companies in the past, as well as his decades of experience in designing filing and storage systems, he understands the importance of making every bit of space matter. The moment you find yourself needing an experienced office space planner, don’t hesitate to call us at Cubicle World. We offer our office space planning services free of charge and with no obligation to buy!
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