What is an Effective Office Layout?
Principles of an effective office layout that are followed well should lead to an environment that creates connections between people and supports a successful workflow. Layout and design principles aren’t just for huge corporations in downtown Los Angeles or tech giants in El Segundo. They’re needed in all industries, big and small. Universities, tech start-ups, leading corporations and small businesses all need to consider the impact of an office on people — how space is utilized, and how relationships between departments affect workflow. Employee morale and wellness become underlying issues to address. Read on to consider these office layout principles and how to adapt them.
The Office: Personal Collaboration
Offices can welcome or intimidate. They can also inspire creativity or reveal stress and clutter. Workspaces impact people in every industry, including academia. An office design research study from 2011 showed how students were impacted by the office layout of their academic advisor’s office. The author, James Eckerty, concluded that “our physical environments can be a powerful tool for creating welcoming and collaborative environments.” Effective layouts were “spacious and neatly arranged,” wrote Eckerty, “and allowed for students to make eye contact with their advisor and also easily see the computer.” In the study, about half of the students surveyed noted that seat placement set the tone for the meeting.
The Environment: Personal Wellness
A pleasing environment boosts productivity and keeps morale high. Natural light and green plants are considered essential for a pleasant office environment. Bringing nature indoors adds an aesthetically pleasing element to the workspace but it also has important health benefits. Maximizing natural light infuses employees with energy and helps maintain a physical rhythm that promotes a restful night’s sleep. Plants reduce the amount of bacteria in the air and provide needed humidity. They also offer a change of scenery and color. Movement is another feature of an optimized office layout. Height adjustable desks and tables offer flexibility. Ergonomic chairs support natural body movements to reduce pressure on the spine and joints.
The Space: Personal Time
During the early to mid-20thcentury when heavy manufacturing ruled the economy, companies ran in strict top-down fashion. Executives had their personal space to create the directives that mid-level managers and laborers had to follow. However, today’s thinking economy that’s digitally driven and connected has created a greater need for collaboration and consensus. Open office layout and desk arrangements and cubicles make sharing ideas and data easy. Personal space to regroup and focus mentally now becomes important. Make sure to provide a lounge or space where it’s easy to take a snack break or work individually. Provide seating options that are flexible and can be arranged for one person’s needs or for a casual interaction.
An Office Layout for Your Most Important Resource: Employees
Don’t forget that as a business, your most important resource is the people that work for you. Following these principles of an effective office layout can keep personal satisfaction high and lead to greater productivity. But effective offices don’t just happen. Workstations, cubicles and break areas need a well-planned space to provide maximum support. If you are interested in designing your office for a more effective office layout, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help. Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.
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