You may think it’s a no-brainer, but the way you plan your office space is crucial to the efficiency, health, and productivity of your employees.
Remember the Golden Rule, “Treat others the way you would like to be treated?” That’s not a bad start, but when it comes to planning your office space we suggest you try following the less popular, Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they would like to be treated.”
What do we mean by that? Well let’s look at an example. Consider the difference between a busy police station and the writing room for a metropolitan newspaper. Obviously if it’s going to be loud, populated, and people will be talking loudly, walking around, and going about typical police activities — an open office plan would work well to keep communication strong and visibility high. Now think about our writers, an open office plan would not work well for the quiet, focused, detailed environment they need to work in. Rather, a better option would be a closed office with meeting rooms and other designated areas for talking or collaborating. Another great example would be offices that make use of an overhead white noise generator — great for a room of software developers, not so great for Wall Street stock brokers. See where we’re going with this?
There are hundreds of instances where managers have made good decisions and poor decisions when it comes to functional office layouts. We imagine you want to be on that list of good managers, so we’re going to cover your options and help you arrange your office in a way that makes both you and your employees happy.
In order to effectively plan your office space, there are some facts that are going to affect your processes and decision making. Let’s talk about some answers that you’ll need before you can begin planning appropriately!
- How many departments are going to be working in this space? What does each department do?
- How many people currently work for you/would be working in this space?
- How many people do you plan to hire/have working in this space over the next one, five, or ten years? (depending on the lease)
- How many employees need permanent offices with regular walls?
- How many people are walking through the space during the day? (think the difference in movement between a nurse’s station and real estate office)
- What type of equipment will employees need and who do employees need to work next to each other for regular collaboration?
- What amenities are you going to provide? Is there space for conference rooms, reception, a lobby, a lunchroom, etc?
We know that sounds like a lot, but ultimately, the more detailed you are up front about what you need and want, it will save you time, money, and headaches in the future. You should also be clear and direct with yourself about what your goals are for the company moving forward and what you’d like to see achieved with the space. We’re going to assume for the sake of this blog that your goals include increasing productivity, streamlining efficiency, and improving general well-being. Some other goals you may want to consider are encouraging remote work, improving company culture, increasing collaboration, and developing stronger intradepartmental communication.
When it comes to the actual nitty gritty of looking at spaces and laying out a floor plan, we suggest putting together a spreadsheet of which options cater to certain criteria so that by the end of all the deliberating, hopefully, the answer is so obvious, that if it were a snake it would have bitten you.
As far as layout possibilities, there are roughly three schools of thought that you can draw from. Let’s cover the details of all three so that you can make an informed decision!
Closed Office Plan
This is the traditional office space design with high wall cubicles, private conference rooms, and offices on the exterior walls with windows. The benefits to a closed floor plan include better privacy, limited noise, reduced distraction, and greater concentration. Some industries that see workers thrive in closed office plans are engineers, academia, dental offices, HR departments, and programmers.
Open Office Plan
A new wave of professional thinking has many managers adopting this floor plan which can be easily identified by a lack of high hard walls and a plethora of bench seating, low temporary walls, collaborative spaces, and conference rooms with glass walls. Several benefits that employers often focus on are the flexibility of this floor plan, the ability for easy collaboration, and reduced real estate costs. Industries that gain from an open office plan include graphic design, newsrooms, media, and customer service centers.
A Custom Mix
The third, often forgotten option is to have a healthy mixture of the two previous options. This isn’t usually considered because it can be the more costly option and take more effort and planning. However, if you have the resources, we highly suggest taking this route to have a space that suits your business for the long-term and not just the near future.
Now that you know what your options are and everything that you should keep in mind while making your decision, it’s time to turn to the experts! At Maven Construction, our team of professionals are experienced and prepared to help you make the most of your space! We can ensure that your office space will suit you and your company however you need it to. Contact us today for a consultation to get started!