8 Office Space Planning Tips Your Company Needs
An effective workspace could make or break your office efficiency.
So when it comes to moving an office, you need to get it right first time.
Poor office layout and facilities could cost you a significant amount of money and make life difficult for your employees.
Let’s take a look at 8 office space planning tips to make your move go smoothly.
Office Floor Plan
Open Plan or Closed? This is a top-level decision that will shape everything you do.
Depending on the office functions you need to accommodate for your business, you might want an open plan or a cubicle-based office.
Open plan offices are collaborative spaces that can be great for communication. They can also promote socializing and staff well-being. Open plan tends to provide better airflow and better lighting.
But cubicle-styled offices might suit your business needs. If your employees need privacy for client calls or concentration reasons, then a closed plan office could be the right choice.
Whichever you go with, this will be the starting point for your office designs.
Along with space for your staff, computer technology will help you decide on an office layout that makes the best use of your available space.
For instance, do you have on-site servers? If so, you’ll probably need a dedicated, air-conditioned room to hold them in. You’ll likely need large printers which will take up floor space. And if you’re holding phone conferences and using smart boards, you’ll need quiet meeting rooms set up for their use.
Thinking about these concerns will save you headaches later on.
Build for People
Good office space planning isn’t just about office furniture, it’s about people.
Think about what teams will need to work together. Putting them in close proximity could help them work more efficiently.
Other teams might benefit more from being away from the action. A finance team, for instance, might prefer a quieter area where they can concentrate on their figures.
If some of your employees need space for quiet meetings or private client appointments, then you need to keep these areas reserved. This may involve a floor plan with additional walls or partitions to segregate the floor space.
Leave Room to Grow
If you are moving into new premises, there’s a good chance it’s because you outgrew your current office space. Even if you didn’t, you need to leave yourself room to expand.
Don’t just plan for the number of staff you have now. Plan what you’ll do when new faces join the team. Is there room for more desks? More equipment? What will you have to shuffle around to house more people?
You might have to make a few sacrifices to allow room for growth.
Technology is bringing new ways to work in the office.
Cloud computing and mobile technology have both grown more sophisticated. That allows some roles to move out of the office almost entirely. This can free up space in your office layout for other operations.
But even remote workers may need office space on occasion. Setting up a small number of ‘hot desks’ could allow drop-in employees to make use of office facilities without having to slot in where they can. Hot desks can also help manage visitors or temporary staff overflow.
Depending on your industry, you may even choose to make hot-desking a core style of your business. In this case, your office space needs to cater less to individual needs. You’ll want to opt for modular or portable furniture and lightweight technology.
Consider Building Limitations
Nothing will bring your office design dreams to a halt faster than building regulations.
One of the first steps in your office space planning should be to look into local ordinances to find out what you can do. It can be costly to start making alterations before putting in the research.
You could end up halfway through expensive renovations and have to revert. Or you could end up with only half of your plan in place, unable to complete it.
Building regulations could also limit your growth plans for the future. Your new office space is an investment. Building regulations represent a risk to your investment.
You’re asking staff to spend a significant portion of their lives in your office, so the least you can do is make it comfortable.
Consider staff comfort alongside the practical logistics. If you cram staff in too tightly, you can expect complaints.
You’ll also need to consider airflow. Is there enough fresh air to the room? Can everyone make use of a window or air conditioning? Heating presents similar challenges. Your staff needs to feel comfortable year round.
Poor lighting conditions can negatively impact staff health and mood. Plan your layout relative to the lighting fixtures well in advance. Be aware that you may need to make changes to suit individual needs.
Now is also the time to decide if you’re providing a staff break room. If you choose to provide one, you need to decide what facilities to make available so you’ll know how much space to set aside.
Offices are increasingly providing shower facilities, so think about how you might incorporate these.
If you’re a customer-facing business, you might want to think about how inviting your space looks.
Clients won’t feel comfortable wandering into the middle of a working space. Create a dedicated reception area. You’ll want to make it relaxed and comfortable. This controls the way clients engage with your business.
This also has practical purposes. It lets you control access to your office space for staff safety. It also allows you to take vehicle registration and other sign-in details. This can be a requirement for fire safety ordinances.
A welcoming reception area emphasizes your professionalism. But it can quickly eat up space, so you need to incorporate it into your floor plans. To create a quiet reception, you might even have to partition one area of your office.
Office Space Planning Made Simple
Office space planning doesn’t have to be complicated. But it should be done well in advance and consider as many angles as possible.
The above tips should give you some pointers, but spend some time thinking about the needs of your business before you take the plunge.