Office Space Design Planning Tips and Advice

Office Space Design

There is little doubt that the environment any one works in affects their ability to work and to concentrate on the job in hand and if that environment is not right, their efficiency will suffer, along with perhaps their health.

“To get work done a functional flexible, and efficient office space is of paramount importance.”

You only have to think back to a place you have worked, or visited to see just what terrible conditions some people have to work on, how they manage it is beyond belief in many cases.

The first stage in planning an office or work area is to check what equipment and furniture your staff use in their day to day work. Then you also have to evaluate just how many times they use it in a normal day.

The basic list for almost any office will include

  • Computers
  • Telephones
  • Filing and storage cabinets
  • Seating
  • Desks and Tables
  • Other ‘System furniture’ eg workstations with privacy panels
Accessibility

This is the stage where you ensure that all the really vital bits of equipment are easily accessible to all employees, this not only means in the right place in the office, but also so that the items can be reached without too much stretching or bending.

Three important issues you should ensure are:-

Desks should comfortably fit all necessary tools
Desks should be close to electrical sockets and communication outlets
Filing and Storage cabinets should be in a communal / shared space

Productivity

Proper office space planning can make your employees more productuve and happier too.

There is a lot more to office planning than just deciding where to place the desks, a lot of thought into who will be using them and what sort of work they will be doing (and how much noise and moving about they will be creating / doing).

In reality it is all down to common sense, in that you are best to keep groups that are going to be on the phone all the time, or constantly getting up from their desks away from groups that have to really concentrate on what they are doing and thus need peace and quiet.

This also means keeping any relaxation areas away from the work area, as otherwise someone will just not get any break at all! Then there is the matter of telephone use, it being a real requirement to separate workers who are always on the phone frome everyone else.

Another rule to bear in mind is the ’3 Foot Rule’

Always allow 3 feet between walking and sitting areas
Always make sure walkways are 3 feet wide
Make sure that coworkers have 3 foot of space from each other at conference tables

Furniture and Ergonomics

If your employees are comfortable, they will work better

This may sound obvious, but it is an area that many employers miss out on. The three areas that need to be covered are, Chairs, Storage and Desks

Chairs

There are many different types and styles of office chairs with all sorts of different fabric coverings, but not all will be right for a particular employee or task. Some staff will also require special chairs if they have health problems, back pain being a big cause of time off and something to avoid if you can, both for the business and employees sake.

Ideally chairs should have adjustable seat height, arm reat height and seat angle.

Storage

Whilst the majority of filing cabinets should be placed in communal areas, some staff will no doubt require some personal confidential storage space. Some of the other cabinets may also need to be made secure.

Desks

The basic requirement is that every employee has to have room to do their work, however some staff need more desk space than others, so if you have any member of staff that does most of their work with paper documents, it would be best to give them bigger desks.

Transparency

There is a school of thought that states that a ‘transparent work environment’ allows better communication between staff, encourages trust, reduces costs and sends a better message to visitors.

This transparency is created by ensuring that any boundaries / ‘fences’ are only placed where needed, thus allowing the office space and the creative spirits of all to ‘flow’ through the office space.

As you can imagine, this is not an easy thing to design, as you have to take into account the noise and movement levels of staff as well as the available space, but it is always possible to come up with the best possible solution.

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