Office space can be expensive, so it’s important that you use the space you have wisely and think very carefully before putting an office layout in place.
I believe an office layout is so much more than where desks are positioned; it’s also about where employees will sit and feel comfortable while they are working, what equipment is needed and where it needs to be positioned to enable staff to do their job efficiently. Office space planning is crucial. The way in which an office is laid out can not only affect your staff it can also influence how clients and visitors perceive your business.
When deciding on your office plan there are a number of design layouts to consider, although your choice should depend on what you want to achieve from the final scheme.
Some organisations may have members of staff that require quiet areas to work for concentration or handle sensitive information, for example a solicitor’s office; a closed office scheme would be more preferable. A closed office layout is where individuals or small groups/departments have their own office space which enables them to close out noise and other potential distractions.
On the other hand some organisations require and actively encourage communication between employees and departments, for example advertising agencies. In this instance an open plan office would be preferable as it is said that open plan ethos increases creativity. In an ‘open’ office the layout needs to be carefully thought-out, as more often than not staff with different job functions will be using the same area. If space is limited the layout of the office becomes even more important to make sure that the space doesn’t become too over crowded. Introducing desktop or office screen panels to an open plan layout can give staff some element of privacy should they need it, without losing the open plan feel.
Although open plan offices are great for communication, there is sometimes the need to hold private conversations and/or meetings. If this is the case then meeting rooms and/or ‘hot’ offices could be introduced against the walls on the perimeter of the space so as not to deflect from the open plan culture. The use of a glass office partition to create the additional room would still allow light to flow through the open plan space.
Depending on your business style/needs you may want to consider having a mix of closed and open plan layouts.
Access and emergency routes need to be defined clearly which ever office layout you choose to ensure that people can move around easily and quickly.
Office refurbishment does not always involve major structural work. It may be just carefully considering what kind of office layout best suits your company and making a few adjustments. This can only benefit the organisation, as I feel the right office layout can go a long way to increasing productivity, boosting morale and impressing clients and visitors.