If you’re looking to create a new office design when designing your office space, an effective way to begin the process is to consider how different layouts will benefit the workflow. The goal is to help your company function efficiently. After all, work needs to get done.
Now consider the human element and how your team can work at its best.
An office isn’t just about placing workstations and then fitting your people into slots. Social and psychological dynamics matter as well.
Chart Your Basic Workflow Needs
Analyze the different functions in your business, ranging from your core function—the reason your business exists—to the support functions like sales and marketing, finance, and customer care. The principles of laying out an office are timeless. A write-up from 1995 in MIT’s Sloan Management Review noted that “technological innovation and creative space design together make solutions possible.”
Here are the “tactical initiatives” highlighted in the article that benefit an organization:
- Ergonomic planning
- Defining group and personal workspaces
- Offering shared workspace
- Accommodating remote workers
This is the top-down approach that relies on higher authority figures who see the wider goals and filter decisions down to the tasks of lower-level employees. In contrast, the bottom-up style gathers staff input and gives everyone a voice.
Ergonomics works well based on employee input since the concept is to fit the workplace to the needs of people and how they function. Their suited to say what’s comfortable and what works or doesn’t work.
That’s what co-working spaces have done. They’d set up shop, sign up freelancers and remote workers who wanted to use the facilities, and took feedback on what the users liked or didn’t like. Then they’d make adjustments as necessary.
A “bottom-up” approach when designing your office space can fine-tune plans to arrive at a satisfying solution.
Create an Invitation—Not a Maze—When Designing Your Office Space
When you design or freshen your office space, imagine that you’re working with your team to make a space that’s inviting. You’re not creating a maze of modular workstations, so let your employees know that you’d like their thoughts on what makes an office welcoming.
Some may not have much of an opinion while others may want to share what works for them and what can be changed. If they’re recent hires then they may have positive or negative opinions about their previous office environment.
Take the approach used in the book Life of Work, What Office Design can Learn from the World Around Us. The authors, Jeremy Myerson and Imogen Privett, undertook a major research project and concluded that while “most contemporary offices satisfies physical and functional requirements, it seldom supports the psychological comfort and individual needs of the people who use them every working day.”
Get ideas for how people relate to design by doing what the authors did: looking at diverse spaces like theater layouts, newsrooms and medical offices.
Take a look around and adapt what works for your people within the physical space available.
Select from Different Office Styles
2010 Office Furniture’s Inspiration page reveals several different layouts and their aesthetics. Each layout makes a statement and can easily be tailored to reflect your company’s brand and enhance the office atmosphere. It’s a great resource for inspiration when designing your office space.
A modern, abstract office uses bold colors and fascinating shapes. Modular lounge furniture can work well.
Photo: The Senator Group Mote Lounge
Contemporary industrial style offices pay homage to a city’s past while bringing comfort and functionality into present times. Google’s office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania brings in original brickwork into a space that’s “unconventional and inspiring.”
Use your surrounding city to spark features. A space in Irvine may be sleek and modern while an office in Ontario or the San Dimas area can harken back to local history.
How about an upbeat, contemporary look? You may have a traditional accounting firm but why not add splashes of color? Should pediatric dental offices have all the design fun?
In an open office plan, use different styles of workstations and colors to differentiate teams with their distinct responsibilities.
For private executive offices, choose between elegant designs or more casual ones, with both options being able to integrate technology in the desks and cabinets.
Health and wellness is a major consideration in this age of Covid-19 precautions so consider accessories and layouts for a social distancing workplace.
Don’t forget the breakroom. Create a small gathering place with chairs and tables that are easily moved or create a lounge near a kitchen space. Offices aren’t just about desks and cubicles so invest in plenty of healthy snacks and drinks that people enjoy.
Consider the Types of Work
Different functions are needed to make a company hum along the road to profitability. People with unique skill sets can have different personalities. It’s not your task to please everyone with a layout, but you can take into account the various needs that people have when designing your office space.
A graphic designer, computer programmer or engineer will need hours of quiet to focus while a marketing and sales team is going to be more collaborative and creative.
Make the office a positive social environment and don’t hesitate to experiment with new trends and refresh a look every few years.
Know your goals. Do you project growth in the near future using staff who are on-site or through remote workers? You can be nimble to provide for current needs and still plan for what can happen in the years to come.
Need Help Designing Your Office Space?
You don’t need to go it alone in office design. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has nearly 50 years of combined experience helping leading companies and nonprofits in Southern California lay out office spaces and provide furnishings that promote employee well-being.
Contact them with your project needs and questions as you undertake designing your office space.
Read Also: The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs
Main Photo: Groupe Lacasse
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Allermuir, AMQ, Arcadia Contract, Groupe Lacasse, OFS & The Senator Group