The Basics of Laying Out an Office


Walking into an empty office space, it can be impossible to envision exactly how this bare room is going to manifest itself as a fully functioning office. Where will all the furniture go? What furniture will you need? How will you decide who goes where? Organising an office isn’t a precise science, but there are some delicate issues to consider when it comes to office psychology and layout.

Firstly, do you want to keep your office open plan or split it into sections? Open plan tends to be the current preference for many offices, but this might not necessarily work for yours. Open plan offices promote conversation and communication and a sense of harmony within the team, but that doesn’t mean to say that this should be your priority. Some teams may prefer to work with a little more privacy, so consider buying some office partitions to keep these teams away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the office.

Secondly, think about which teams will need to be where. If you have one particularly loud team who are constantly making phonecalls or rushing out to meet clients, don’t put them next to their colleagues who need to concentrate. Likewise, if two teams work closely with each other, don’t place them at opposite ends of the office as this will be disruptive for everyone else.

The furniture is extremely important when it comes to the layout. You need to figure out where everyone will be before you choose your office furniture in case the pieces you order don’t fit into the spaces allotted. It’s almost like a game of Tetris: what is going to fit where, and how much space can you allow for each component?

Remember to plan the room practically too. You don’t want to have wires stretched across the room or plug sockets hidden behind storage units. Take note of all the power points in the room, and make sure you don’t leave anyone in a poorly lit corner. Taking a bit of extra time to plan the room logically based on its pre-existing features can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Everyone will feel better if they know that their workspace is properly organised, and it will create a more efficient team in the long run. A bit of sensible preparation beforehand will mean you don’t have to make lots of adjustments to the layout a few months down the line when you run into problems.

Written by Lance Morrison – a business productivity consultant who advises businesses large and small on the practicalities in setting up a new working environment

Image courtesy: Whiteleys

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