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Published On: Tue, Nov 28th, 2017

How Picking The Right Office Layout Is More Important Than You Think

Whether you’re redesigning your office or moving into a new location, your office layout is extremely important. The structure of your office layout could dramatically change the way people feel about coming to work, as well as the organizational flow of the space. Essentially, it’s a reflection of the company’s culture and mission. From the occasional office party to the day-to-day workflow, you want to create a plan for your office layout that’s both functional and comfortable.

During the design process, take a look at office design blogs to see how other businesses are branding their offices with different layouts, color schemes, furniture, and fixings. A simple Pinterest search will also yield hundreds of results. Gather a few photos that really strike the tone of what you’re trying to achieve, and work with your design firm to achieve it.

During the planning stage, it’s important to take expansion and growth into consideration. A great office layout should:

  • Ensure an effective and steady workflow
  • Provide satisfaction and comfort to employees and visitors
  • Allow for optimized control and supervision
  • Help facilitate better inter-communications
  • Have provisions for future growth and expansion

Here are a few types of office layout options to consider and why each plays a crucial role:

 photo/ ClkerFreeVectorImages via Pixabay.com

photo/ ClkerFreeVectorImages via Pixabay.com

Communal Spaces

Communal spaces in your layout allow your employees to meet and collaborate, or even just relax. These spaces can be a coffee room or break areas that maximizes comfort. Studies have shown that workers who take a break during the workday are healthier and more productive. Consider investing in a coffee service in order to provide high quality coffee to further drive productivity.

Open Spaces

A 2011 survey conducted by Teknion the Corporation found that 77% of companies consider open space floorplans to be more favorable. And there’s good reason for this. Open spaces have been proven to increase creativity, collaboration, and connection. Many forward-thinking and innovative companies, like Facebook and Google, use the open space layout. As with the other options, really dig down and see what your employees need most. In companies that require plenty of collaboration, an open office would be the way to go.

This also allows the manager or CEO to move fluidly through the office space to check productivity. One of the many of an office layout is efficiency. An efficient layout makes it easy for employees to perform their duties and eliminates the need for unnecessary movement towards task completion. This saves time, makes employees for more organized, and in control.

However, before you jump to create an open floor plan, consider the needs of your employees and the work that they do. Will they really benefit from an open space? If your employees perform work that requires intense concentration, quietness, and more privacy, then cubicles or traditional offices might work better. Additionally, open space layouts tend to be cheaper than other alternatives. And if the business is a startup that expects to see consistent growth, there’s plenty of flexibility in bringing new people on board.

Private Spaces

Not everyone agrees that open space floorplans are the way to go, despite the many surveys that show it’s the hottest trend in office design. In a book by Susan Cain called, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” the author noted that at least one-third, or even half, of the working population consider themselves introverts and feel that an open office brings on feelings of anxiety. In this case, a free flow of communication and constant interaction could actually be counter-productive. The disadvantages of open office space have made it clear that, while it has been proven to improve some aspects of the work life, it’s not for every company.

Flexible Layout

As a happy medium between open and private layouts, consider a flexible space. This combines low-walled cubicle areas, private offices, and an open floorplan. Fortune magazine calls this hybrid office the “future” of office design.

In this layout, the private offices don’t have to be assigned to anyone in particular, but open to people who want to take advantage of the privacy once in a while. This could beneficial for creative companies whose employees have conference calls, business meetings, or phone calls to make on a day to day basis. This marriage of both worlds solves a range of issues with the open floorplan cited by some people, as well as the issues that arise with too many private offices and high-walled cubicles.

Author: Paul Smith

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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