Office Layouts

Choosing an effective office layout can really affect the output and attitude of your workforce. If their needs aren’t handled correctly and the layout of their office is frustrating or creates unnecessary issues they are much less likely to be productive during the working day. By following this helpful guide, there are sure to be issues you may not have considered and problems that can easily be avoided with careful planning.

The right office layout will cater for the needs of individual departments. The majority of businesses have separate teams that may need to work together so it makes logical sense to have these individuals sat near to one another as this encourages communication and team working. It also allows them to have more efficient work flow as it means that they can easily discuss plans and ongoing work with everyone involved.

Some workplaces have open plan offices, whilst members of superiority such as supervisors, managers and CEOs etc. will have their own individual offices. Whilst it can be tricky to arrange where you need the rooms located, it can be much easier if the supervisors for a particular team or department is close by to where they are seated. Again this encourages communication between the team and management, as well as allowing for easy supervision.

It is vital for your office layout to fit both the needs of your business and the employees themselves. Careful thought and consideration should be taken when choosing furniture to create workstations of employees. Bear in mind their usual daily tasks, as well as the equipment they will need to complete these. For example, those in the more creative industries may need large desks to accommodate oversized workbooks, paper and materials. Do your employees carry out specialised work that requires large amounts of machinery and equipment? Ensure that they have enough storage to accommodate their units as well as leaving sufficient space to be compliant with health and safety, as well as giving them enough room to manoeuvre and operate the tools they need. Your admin team may need large storage areas of paperwork, filing and archives for the business and day to day activities. It may also be helpful to locate their desks near by the printer, scanner and photocopier if they use these on a daily basis. This negates the need to cross the office every time they want to use these facilities and ensures they can work efficiently.

If your business employs a large number of staff, it may be the best solution to opt for the traditional cubicle layout. An example of this is shown below.

Of course this should be tailored to your building’s structural layout as well as the number of employees you have. However, using diagrams like this as a reference can be very helpful. It may be a good idea to use layout planner software to ensure that you are able to calculate the correct areas for furniture without the need to physically shift and shuffle it around the room.

Another example of a room layout is shown below.

Source: Smart Draw

This layout combines a cluster of grouped desk, individual desks and office rooms. It also includes a lunch room and kitchen area. It is important to bear these facilities in mind, as well as essentials such as fire exits and bathrooms for the staff to use.

Modular furniture can also allow for layout changes and gives you a much higher level of adaptability to ensure that your office is always working efficiently for both your business and your staff’s needs. It is ideal for start-up businesses that may need to expand in the future. If this is the case, then the same type of furniture can be added to the current set up and it will fit in easily rather than being mismatched and dysfunctional e.g. desks at different heights. Adaptability is key to giving your office a streamlined appearance rather than seeming unorganised or cluttered. Modular furniture is also usually much easier to disassemble and transport or keep in storage areas.

It is important that whichever office layout you decide to implement in your business, it complies with regulations and guidelines for health and safety. There are rules regarding the minimum amount of space required for each employee.  You should also consult the fire safety arrangements, alongside the precautions for ventilation and temperature control. This is important not only for the health and well-being for the staff but additionally their comfort levels during the work day.

Lighting is very important in an office, as it can easily affect mood as well as making completing tasks much more difficult. Setting it too bright and the light may induce headaches and other related physical issues. Too dim and it may cause eye strain from the contrast against paperwork and computer screens.

Space is important in your office too. Choose your layout to include “negative space”. This can prevent your office from feeling cramped and cluttered. Spending extended periods of time at a desk that is surrounded by others can become claustrophobic and increase stress levels for your staff. There should be sufficient for your employees, visitors and additional space for any recruits you may add to the workforce.


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