What is office planning?
Office planning is the method in which a business lays out its furniture and desk space to enable its team(s) to work as efficiently and harmoniously as possible.
All good businesses understand that their greatest asset is their staff and providing a comfortable, pleasant and safe environment for them to work in has very obvious benefits. Allowing team members to work with adequate desk space, the right balance of privacy and interaction with other staff and providing easy access to everyday facilities are all things that come under the scope of office planning.
Running alongside the operational and aesthetic motifs for office layouts are certain statutory requirements that will need to be considered. These include the amount of space to be provided for each individual, fire safety, adequate levels of lighting, suitable indoor temperature and health and safety requirements.
What do you need to consider when planning an office and its layout?
Providing the staff with the best working environment requires some knowledge of individual and collective dynamics within the team members. Make your office work for as many of you team as is possible.
In general it is a good idea to have an open area within the office that will encourage interaction and sharing of ideas and plans for upcoming and current projects. Most people enjoy working in an inclusive environment with their workmates and it can help to build a united and happy team. It also helps cut down on the bane of office life, the unnecessary email….if too many people are cooped up in small, cut off areas then more and more of these will be firing their way into inboxes, distracting the team.
Private areas are preferable at times though; there are usually days when one of more of a team needs to sit quietly on their own, without disturbance and just work something through. Providing adequate spaces for this should be near the top of the list of any office plan.
What’s the best way to layout office furniture?
There are a few key issues to focus on when thinking about the actual layout of an office.
How many separate functional departments are there? Such as sales, administration, management, finance etc. Do they all need to be sat in the same part of the office? Who works well with whom? Who does it makes sense for them to be close together? Knowing your team will help any planner come to a sensible decision regarding these matters.
Too many partitions that are too high will not make for a happy experience. Do not restrict natural light, indeed, make the most of it. Keep partitions lower and fewer to create more space and also encourage the staff to be more aware of each other and the requirement to remain quieter as they go about their daily business. When other people are in view the effect is to make a worker talk more softly on the phone for example….especially if they are having a heated discussion.
In the same vein, make access to different areas of the office easy and free from obstacles. Provide some comfy seating away from the hotbed of the work area to allow staff to escape for a moment or two. Everybody needs to at one time or another. Remember it is a workplace and not a prison camp, so help your team by giving them somewhere to cool off for a moment, the alternative is to have them stewing at their desk which is far less productive in the long term.
In all, focus on the teams as a whole and make an office as light and as spacious as the building allows and staff will be able to work efficiently and enjoy what they do much more.