Space Planning: 5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Office Layout

The layout and design of your office space can impact productivity, collaboration, and job satisfaction. When scaled up, even small tweaks can have a big effect on performance. Follow these five tips to optimize your office layout and make the most of your workspace.

1. Store Extras Offsite

Clear out clutter that accumulates over time. Transfer old files and documents to self storage units to free up space. Convert paper archives to digital formats accessible online from anywhere.

Keep only current inventory onsite and utilize offsite warehouses for overflow and long-term storage. Digitizing your archives not only saves physical space but also reduces the risk of damage or loss that may occur with paper documents.

A decluttered facility feels more spacious and organized, facilitating efficiency and productivity.

2. Zone Areas by Function

Divide your office into clearly defined zones and areas based on function. Bring teams, roles, or individuals that benefit from close collaboration into communal spaces. For example, place designers together in one section with room for brainstorming.

Separate functions that may conflict, like sales teams who make frequent calls away from noise-sensitive roles.

You may choose to have open, interactive areas for team collaboration, quiet zones or nooks for heads-down focused work, welcoming reception areas for guests, and privately situated storage/inventory areas in the back.

3. Maximize Natural Light

Humans and plants thrive with exposure to natural sunlight. Situate workstations near windows and skylights to provide natural light and views outside. This boosts energy, mood, and vitamin D absorption.

If the office lacks windows, invest in solar tube skylights or full-spectrum light bulbs to simulate natural light. Avoid positioning computer screens directly facing windows to prevent glare.

Instead, position screens perpendicular to windows or use window blinds or shades to control the amount of sunlight entering the workspace. Incorporating indoor plants can also help improve air quality and create a more natural and calming environment in windowless offices.

4. Allow Flexibility

Needs change, so avoid fixed walls and allow flexible rearrangement of work areas over time. Modular furniture and shelf units on casters enable quick reconfiguration. Mark utilities and outlets on floor plans for easy access during moves.

Enable remote work options for roles suited to telecommuting and have shared desks for employees who primarily work offsite.

The goal is to build flexibility upfront to accommodate future growth and changes in team size. Consider implementing open floor plans with movable partitions to create collaborative spaces when needed.

5. Optimize Open Space

Leverage open floor plans to encourage collaboration but include some enclosures for private meetings. Arrange communal areas and pathways to facilitate natural interaction and optimize flow.

Ensure cramped spaces don’t create bottlenecks by providing ample space for movement and avoiding overcrowding. Set up L-shaped desks rather than rows. Install whiteboards for spur-of-the-moment brainstorming sessions.

Have a recreation space for unwinding, and consider incorporating flexible furniture and modular designs that can be easily rearranged to accommodate different work styles and team sizes.

This will allow employees to adapt the space according to their needs and promote a sense of ownership and productivity.

A Well-Planned Workspace

Getting your office layout optimized is an iterative process that requires a willingness to experiment and adjust over time. Be sure to seek regular input from employees at all levels on what is working well for them and what could be improved.

A collaborative process of trying out various layouts and making adjustments based on observations and employee input can help you create an office environment that is productive, inspiring, and enjoyable for all.

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