You may not think about it during the day, but your office layout can make a huge impact on your mindset and your work. With a few adjustments to your office furniture, you can design a more productive and pleasurable work experience.
What’s an office layout?
This seems like an obvious answer: it’s how your office equipment and furniture are laid out within a certain space. However, we don’t want to just arrange these items based on space- office furniture and equipment should be arranged to maximize productivity, creativity, and collaboration.
It’s that second part that many businesses fail to grasp. Your office environment should encourage you to get more work done and communicate with the rest of your team effectively- sometimes, these objectives aren’t easy to accomplish when you have a lot of equipment, a lot of workers, or not enough office space (or all three).
Importance of an Office Layout
A productive environment breeds a productive mindset
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to get work done in your living room, or even in a personal office? Your workplace is a reflection of your headspace. If it’s cramped, old, or cluttered, it’ll be a lot harder to hold productive calls or focus on your current project. A flexible, spacious layout can inspire more focused concentration.
Open spaces can foster creative collaboration
Sharing an office with someone else can not only be more cost-effective (particularly for startups and entrepreneurs) but it can improve communication and encourage the important conversations that need to happen: whether that concerns a potential bottleneck, a troublesome team member, or an opportunity to innovate. Managers will also notice a change in employee morale, as team members will feel more legitimacy in their work when they have a dedicated workspace.
An office can help protect and safeguard your team
Innovations such as webcam security, keycard access, and biometrics offer a unique security advantage compared to a traditional workspace. Teams that need not worry about the safety of their possessions or the well-being of their colleagues can enjoy a sense of comfort and peace of mind. Remember to always inquire about emergency planning and procedures no matter which office you choose.
What are the best types of office layout?
Experiment with different design ideas until you find one that best complements your workflow. Try using one of these layouts:
Most commonly found in older office buildings, the cellular or cubicle office arranges employees and desks by rows and columns, often with low walls to divide people and (supposedly) retain their concentration. While these layouts still exist, they are gradually being phased out in favor of more open layouts.
Open Office Layout
In contrast, an open layout removes doors and walls as barriers to communication and collaboration. Multiple workers may share a single table, and the tables may be scattered throughout the space. These layouts have become more popular with startups as well as large tech firms as it encourages more immediate communication.
Read our previous article on how open offices can actually enhance your productivity.
Directly inspired by an open office layout, a coworking layout also eliminates walls or boundaries, but is much larger and often shared among multiple companies. The coworking space may feature couches, shared desks, private or dedicated desks, or high counters. Coworking has the added benefit of encouraging cross-company communication and networking.
Some businesses may have unique services or products they work on and may decide to arrange their offices around the most frequently used equipment and machinery. For example, a startup that focuses on recording podcasts may strip their space and lay their computers, chairs, and other equipment around the recording microphone.
Match your company culture with your office layout
Ultimately, no one can tell you how to arrange your team, furniture, and equipment- you have to decide what’s best for your business. Some companies have a greater need for private spaces while others desire more meeting spaces.
One way to design your office layout is by basing it on your team’s needs and culture. Ask yourself these questions:
- What does my business do?
- What are the most common tasks each day?
- What devices, equipment, or furniture does my team require to accomplish their work?
- Open layout or cellular layout?
- Collaboration or privacy?
- Creativity or efficiency?
At the end of the day, these questions are about your business’s brand and culture. Ask yourself whether your space accurately and honestly reflects the team’s personality.
The Impact of an Office Layout on Productivity
Cubicles are a thing of the past. According to BizJournal, 81% of office owners and managers say office space is “very important” when it comes to hiring top talent, and 78% say they’re “increasingly being asked for open-office environments” and “more collaborative workspaces.”
Where and how your team works greatly affects the end product of their labors. When you make it easier and more enjoyable for your team to work, you can look forward to a stronger, more enhanced version of your brand.
Office Layouts & Social Distancing
2020 saw a major shift in the workplace due to the coronavirus. Offices around the world have updated their layouts and designs to encourage greater social distancing and overall public safety. This includes more spaced out furniture, sneeze guards, and even limitations on how many people can be in a space at a given time. Remember to practice safe distancing and protocols to prevent the spread of viruses in the workplace, regardless of where you work. Be sure to visit Novel Coworking’s COVID-19 Protection Plan for more information and guidance.