For a business to be a success, it is important that staff can work productively, either within a team or independently. There are many factors that impact on this and one of these is the layout of your office. To ensure that your employees can work productively and to the best of their ability at all times, you should take the following points into consideration when designing the layout of your office space.
To make the most of the space available and to get the best from your employees, you need to think about the daily activities and functions of your business. Each business is different, with a range of needs and a variety of potential uses for the workplace. Consider whether employees spend the majority of their time working in teams or independently as this will dictate both the type of office furniture you buy and the layout of the office. Also, think about the type of tasks they are completing. Some tasks will require more desk space and others may require more floor space for employees to move around freely.
If your business requires your employees to work as a team, your layout should be conducive to positive interactions and communication. Avoid arranging desks in rows that mean people are looking at each other’s backs as this is a big barrier to communication. Instead, opt for circular furniture so that people are facing each other and can interact freely. Also, take into account the amount of space your team will need to complete tasks. For example, they may need a large desk or table that has enough space for them to view several documents or designs at the same time as part of a project they are working on together.
When people work independently, they often need to focus and avoid distractions from others. Even if there is not the space or budget to provide employees with their own office space, you can still create an area where they can work independently. Partitions between desks or desks with built-in partitions are the perfect solution as they create cubicles that act as a mini office for each individual. Cubicles can help to remove distractions from employees as they work independently and may also help to maintain productivity. As you are not removing staff from the office environment and the rest of the team, they will also keep motivated and still feel that they are part of the whole team. If you do opt to create cubicles, make sure that staff have sufficient space to work and do not feel hemmed-in or claustrophobic.
There are also some practical issues you will need to take into consideration. For example, you should think about the equipment your staff needs to use to work productively. If they need to use telephones, computers or technical equipment frequently throughout the day, your office design needs to take into account where electrical and telephone points are located within the office. Having extension leads and wires trailing across the floor is a health and safety hazard, so office furniture will need to be positioned close to these points, regardless of whether people are working alone or as a team. Another alternative to this is to have floor boxes, where communications and power come out of the floor. This then gives you more freedom with your office layout.
Taking the time to think about the activities that take place in your office and how your team of employees work can help you to make the most of the office space you have available. If you get the layout of your office right, your business will benefit as the employees can work more productively, both as a team and independently.
Article contributed by Allard Office Furniture