Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity

Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity

Your office may have plenty of desks, chairs and computers but you’ll agree that doesn’t mean the layout and floor plan is designed to generate the highest possible level of productivity.

Having enough equipment and access to clean restrooms is important but a cool office layout that really works isn’t something you just pick up at an office supply store like Staples or Office Max. A well-planned office space isn’t a commodity—it’s unique to your work environment and what you want to achieve.

Before looking at the elements that create a favorable place to work, consider why you want to plan your office layout.

Here’s an easy hint.

  • Question: Who comes into work each day?
  • Answer: The people.


Photo: OFS Staks Workstations

Even in this digital age where automation and smart offices that save energy are popular topics, an office layout and furnishings are designed to support the people and their work. The more effectively that they’re able to think and function, the more productive they’ll be.

Before reading on for the solutions, understand what you need to change—the office environment and layout problem.

Office Layout Problems to Correct

The most popular layout is the open office. Do you recognize the list of challenges?

  • Distracting Noise
  • No personal space
  • Increased risk of catching colds, illness
  • Regular interruptions
  • Reduced job satisfaction with higher risk of talent turnover

A write-up by Rivier University noted that a key step in making an office layout design is to plan the workspaces so its closely related to each person’s job. The environment is holistic.

Now read through these elements of a well-designed office and evaluate how these are used in your workplace.

Lighting

Guess what the most important lighting system is for office productivity? Light streaming in from outside.

  • Natural Light


Photo: Nevins Leaf Living Walls

An abundance of natural light creates a favorable workplace. Does your office design let workers share the light streaming in from windows? Desks should be within twenty-five feet of windows. For those farther away, install solar tubes or office skylights if possible.

  • Artificial Light


Photo: Humanscale Vessel Lighting

Keep artificial light at levels that are bright enough without creating glare and offer screen protectors to shield people’s eyes if they spend long hours on their laptops or desktops.

Do you lighting solutions at individual workstations so people can control the light the way it works best for them?


Photo: Humanscale Element 790, Horizon 2.0 & Infinity Lighting

And that leads to the next point of an office layout designed for productivity—the space itself.

Work Space

As you evaluate your existing office space, think about this—one of the big negatives of airline travel.

Want to know how that relates to office layout?

Passengers crowding together in lines and being herded on to their flight can be akin to coming into an office where the space isn’t planned well and their only option is sitting at an open plan benching site.

What’s the problem?


Photo: OFS Range Open-Plan Benching

Little to no personal space. People try to block each other out instead of collaborating with each other. Don’t expect architects or interior decorators to guide you through the design.

A well-designed office space creates enough privacy for employees to tackle the challenges in front of them and allows for collaboration.

This give-and-take approach to space planning is the 2010 Space Planning Strategy.

Here’s the idea.

Use the right style of workstations that fit the needs of individual employees in smaller businesses and departments in larger corporations.

These products let people work together well:

The Desk Makers Teamworx Open Plan Desking can accommodate a few people without making them feel crowded.


Photo: DeskMakers TeamWorx Open-Plan Benching

Use benching solutions that define personal work areas such as the ODS Lift Table Height Adjustable Workstation.


Photo: ODS (Office Design Studio) Lift Height Adjustable Tables

Planning on what products to use and where to place them makes the most of your available space.

Create collaborative space using architectural walls that are easy to set up and rearrange as necessary. It’s easy to make a private meeting area for two or for a larger group so others aren’t disturbed.


Photo: Trendway Volo Walls

Plan well and you’ll eliminate the biggest culprit that ruins office productivity—the lack of personal space, according to design publication Dezeen.com in an article Open-plan office design is preventing workers from concentrating, study finds.

Break Areas

Brief breaks can help people keep their ideas flowing and problem-solving mode in gear. Having a designated break area where employees can get up briefly from their desks, move to get the blood flowing, and take call help with daily focus.


Photo: OFS Coact Modular Lounge

The 2010 Space Planning Strategy can show you how to accommodate your workstations and your break area so that spaces are well-defined and laid out in a logical fashion.

Make the office work for the whole person. Maximizing productivity doesn’t mean just churning through a to-do list. Instead, it’s a strategic process to provide solutions for your customers.

Invest in people by designing a layout that supports their skill set and you’ll boost the overall work environment.


Photo: OFS Obeya Architectural Structures

Get the Expertise You Need

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs. Call or submit your questions.

The team has more than 45 years of experience serving corporations, universities and small businesses throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Choosing the Best Benching or Desking Workstations in Los Angeles
Main Photo by: OFS
Resources & Special Thanks to: Rivier University, Dezeen & Respective Product Manufacturers: OFS, DeskMakers, Humanscale, Nevins, ODS & Trendway

The Benefits of Open Plan Cubicles for Los Angeles Businesses

The Benefits of Open Plan Cubicles for Los Angeles Businesses

Open Plan Cubicles May Be the Answer

Dividing an office space isn’t easy, but open plan cubicles can help businesses and nonprofits in Los Angeles budget for growth and be flexible during down times. Today’s cubicle solutions create an open and welcoming atmosphere while providing a space to focus.

The Workspace

Los Angeles is home to more than 244,000 businesses, according to the LA County.Gov’s Business page. No other county in the U.S. has more women and minority-owned businesses. Of all the decisions that are made in running an operation, the use of cubicles or desks may not appear to rank high in importance. But an office layout and the types of work surfaces used impact productivity and employee morale. Think of the pebble-in-the-shoeconcept. Something small that goes wrong eventually causes a tremendous irritation. And an office environment is no different.

The right equipment impacts work performance and eventually impacts profitability. Yes, a bookkeeper and even a graphic artist can work on a desk with a wobbly leg, but the imperfection is a distraction from the work that each person is meant to do and complete.  Open plan cubicles are an investment for maximum performance.

Flexible Solutions for Flexible Employees

Open plan cubicles can support employees who work in the office every day, salespeople who need to be out and about, and employees or freelancers who work remotely but need an occasional day in the office.  Since the cubicles are built for flexibility, it’s possible to have just one or two work areas and expand to several if the need allows.

Open Plan Cubicles Fit the Need and Style of the Work Function

For employees who need to be on the phone and making calls outside, a system like the EO Workstation by Global may work best while the Crossroads Workstation by ODS can work well for programmers and those doing data entry.  List the types of individual functions or departmental functions to get an understanding of the best cubicle systems. Consider the amount of time that’s needed to connect with potential clients, welcome visitors to the office, or stay focused on work internally.  One open plan cubicle system may not work for everyone since small businesses and large corporations all have a myriad of functions to keep them operating.

Cubicle Systems are Durable

Expect open plan cubicles to last thanks to well-manufactured parts. Cubicles give offices flexibility in how they fit together but they are made to last and withstand rigorous use. The systems are also equipped to handle cords and cables so it’s easy to plug in.

Using Open Plan Workstations in Orange County

Using Open Plan Workstations in Orange County

The Orange County Mentality

Think of innovative Orange County and California companies, and gaming firms, tech or financial start-ups like Acorn may come to mind. Add automotive companies to the list of innovators. Karma Automotive got its start in the OC and manufactures environmentally friendly vehicles.  No doubt, there’s a lot of talent in Southern California with entrepreneurs who find a unique need in the marketplace and then work hard to provide a solution and capture their niche in the marketplace. However, keeping daily operations humming along doesn’t just happen.  A well-designed office space is key along with the right furnishings, like those in open plan workstations. Open office floor plans and workstations have been known to have key benefits and play a direct role in a company’s success.

Open Plan Flexibility

Open office floor plans have become standard because workspace configurations are easy to manage. But don’t just set up the workstations in just any pattern. The most effective offices are arranged with thorough planning and space design strategies. Know how the team functions and relates with their different responsibilities. Then plan work areas accordingly.

Be creative. Why not put the administrative team in the center of the room instead of in a distant corner? This way, it’s clear that they set the tone for communicating with everyone.  Sales and marketing can be near the front door and the project managers, developers or creatives can be positioned in an area that’s quieter and focused. Setting up and taking down workstations is easy.

Flexibility isn’t just in the layout but also includes workstations with height-adjustable surfaces like the Hover Height Adjustable Table by DeskMakers. It also offers easy power distribution and cable management when the height changes.

Open Plan Approachability

Using open plan workstations can create a friendly, business casual environment. Open plan workstations allow for approachability since people aren’t cloistered behind solid walls. This makes personal communication and collaboration easier than having to knock on doors or send emails.  Focus time is important so chairs can be arranged around small tables in a break type area or meeting pods used so others aren’t distracted.

Open Plan Durability

Easy to assemble furniture is durable. Veneer surfaces and premium materials make for a clean look and performance that can withstand rugged work habits. All mechanisms including brackets are manufactured well for maximum use over many years.

Use Benching Cubicles for Increased Collaboration in Los Angeles

Use Benching Cubicles for Increased Collaboration in Los Angeles

A Closer Look

The open office layout came about in part when tech firms had to boot-strap until investors stepped in, concepts were proven and investors funded the operations. In Los Angeles, established corporations along with start-ups and university departments have open office layouts but use systems like benching cubicles to differentiate departments.  Take a closer look at the benefits of the system and what benching cubicles offer to users.

Benching for All Team Players

Benching cubicles work well for managers overseeing a department or cluster of workers and for the team members themselves. Several stations can be configured together to accommodate a couple of people or several can easily be fit and arranged to seat an entire department.  Cubicles originally gave an almost claustrophobic feeling to employees but today’s choices like the Interra Cubicle by Friant allow for a more open, conversing atmosphere.

Benching for Efficient Communication

Benching cubicles have dividers that don’t get in the way like solid walls. Approaching co-workers or managers is easier than in a closed office. Personal interaction becomes organic and for electronic communication, it’s easy to plug in since the cubicles integrate well with technology.  The Accelerate Workstation by Hon is a good example of a system that shows clear boundaries for personal workspace while making the office accessible.

Benching for Department Identity

Form and function both come into play when choosing benching cubicles for an office. A finance department can have a completely different set up than a marketing team while a production group may want something even more unique.  The Crossroads Workstation by ODS has one style that can work for more numbers crunching and data entry compared to the Initiate Workstation by Hon that has a more traditional use of personal space.  Planning an office space well requires thinking through work functions and departmental relationships. It can’t be an afterthought. An office that designs work areas that truly support the workers has an easier time of attracting top talent than companies who simply fit desks together.

Whether refreshing an existing office or setting up a new office entirely, consider how benching cubicles, compared to desks and workstations, impact office flow and sharing information.

Workstation Solutions in Los Angeles for Maximum Office Productivity

Workstation Solutions in Los Angeles for Maximum Office Productivity and Industry Growth

Looking at Industry Growth

A company’s growth and daily operations impacts the office design and workstation solutions so employees work as efficiently as possible. In Los Angeles County, there’s an upbeat forecast for professional services.  Equipping staff in managerial and executive positions requires an understanding of desking solutions and how to maximize their use for industry growth.

Office and Industry Outlook

Professional services in the greater Los Angeles area is “promising because it supports many occupations that pay well in component industries” whether or not they benefit from automation. That’s according to the Los Angeles Economic Development Council (LAEDC).  The LAEDC also states that a “looming workforce shortage” exists since there’s an undersupply of about 2,000 workers to fill job openings. The LAEDC did a supply and demand study and came up with the worker shortage data based on data from regional community colleges.  There may be an “oversupply” in programs for paralegals, architects and engineers but a greater demand in administrative support, veterinary science, along with computers and design.

Office Planning – Industry Growth

Companies are more than statistics so space planning and design becomes essential when choosing the best workstation solutions. Height-adjustable workstations like the My-Hite Workstation by Friant allow individual workers to customize their own workspace experience.  The E5 Open Plan Benching by Mayline is a space saver while offering “expansive power capabilities.”  Know individual preferences and how departments can function well to select the right benching system.

Office Workstation Summary

Desking and benching solutions allow for customized workstation systems. Select a look and feel that reflect the company’s brand and provide the best support.  Open plan benching and desking solutions such as the Aptos Open Plan Desking by OFS can come with storage so each person has a place for their own work and personal items.

There are plenty of workstation solutions to accommodate offices in any industry in Los Angeles County. Base decisions on:

  • The number of employees
  • Possible future growth
  • And how departments or individuals communicate internally and with outside clients and vendors

A well-planned office — from the reception area to the breakroom — is an asset that helps employees work well and feel supported.

Image Source: Global FreeFit

Use Benching Workstations to Maximize Workplace Efficiencies

Use Benching Workstations to Maximize Workplace Efficiencies

The Benefit of Benching Workstations

Nonprofits in Orange County hit double digit growth in 2018, according to the OC Business Journal. Employment last year rose 1.4% among the Southern California county’s largest employers, including Disneyland.  Managing growth means keeping the office efficient and productivity high. See how benching workstations benefit growing companies in Orange County, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire.

Add Staff Easily with Benching Workstations

Hiring additional personnel without laying off anyone is a sign that a company is doing well. Challenges exist. Bringing in people can disrupt an established flow of communication and personalities if it’s not done carefully and with advance planning.  That’s why benching workstations are a smart tool. Setting them up and configuring them to accommodate more or fewer worker can be done with very little cost of labor.  The Synapse Open Plan Benchingis an example of a straight forward, economical approach to benching workstations. Several employees have plenty of room with storage creating a boundary between each person.  The Teamworx Open Plan Desking system is more creative and keeps employee productivity high while using a minimum of floor space.

Configure Floor Plans Simply

Changing employee arrangements doesn’t mean people have to rotate from one preferred and coveted office into something less desirable. Benching workstations are great for offices and companies that operate more with a more “flat” organizational chart versus one that’s hierarchical.  Departments don’t need to be walled off from each other. Benching plan workstations can be arranged according to individual or departmental responsibilities.  A well-thought out floor plan in an open office can accommodate outside clients and visitors as well as staff. Create a comfortable meeting area with lounge chairs and custom tables that are set off from the rest of the office space by using indoor plants and a counter with available coffee and snacks.

Create an Atmosphere for Collaboration

Rather than walling off employees from each other, benching workstations can increase collaboration. Put a marketing team together in one set of workstations like the E5 Open Plan Benching by Mayline. The engineering team or graphic designer team can use a style that fits their needs and workflow.  Even in open office settings, the floor plan and departmental areas can be set apart by individual lounge chairs, meeting pods or office plants. Set aside quiet areas for those who want a break and refresh.  Set aside a separate area with training tables or conference style tables for larger group gatherings.

Benefits of Using Open Plan Cubicles in Los Angeles

Companies using open plan cubicles in Los Angeles are reaping the many office benefits they offer. Today’s many styles of open plan cubicles in Los Angeles provide defined personal areas without creating an atmosphere of barriers. In addition, re-configuring an office to accommodate growth over the years is easy and affordable.

Cubicle Styles

It’s important to understand what the many cubicle styles are in today’s office environments, and what works. Stylishly colored cubicles that blend in well allow a company to display its own distinct brand instead of a haphazard collection of desks or one-color partitions. Gone are the days of drab gray.  The modern office is all about color.  You’ll also find that many open plan cubicles in Los Angeles these days help alleviate the sense of claustrophobia. The EO+ Workstation by Global is a good example of modular panels that are visually pleasing and use translucent glass to let light filter through. This system works well in a spacious office or compact location. The Initiate Workstation by HON is similar to the EO+ and allows for each person to add their own distinctive touches to their workspace. When collaboration is important, consider cubicles by Friant like the Interra, Tiles, and System 2 workstations.

Easy Cubicle Configuration

Flexibility is important for large corporations in and around Los Angeles as well as entrepreneurial start-ups. New accounts or a need for better employee to employee communication can necessitate change.  Open plan cubicles can meet the fine line needed for discussion and idea sharing while offering privacy when a team member needs to withdraw from others and work in a focused manner.  Cubicles are easy to configure whether new hires come through the door or an office needs re-arranging to service a major account. Yet, the steel and aluminum parts are durable for a long life.

Considerations for Space Planning and Design

Knowing how to properly plan and design a space requires an understanding of what makes an office function well. Consider present needs and how the team is arranged and the impact of projected future growth.  In an open office setting, private areas become important for people who need to withdraw. A space doesn’t have to be large, but it should be defined in some way. Lounge chairs or hanging plants create boundaries without feeling like barricades.  Open plan cubicles make it easy to provide defined workspace, personal break areas and places for shared equipment like copiers.

Image Source: Friant

Use Benching Workstations to Create A Cohesive Workspace in Los Angeles

Use Benching Workstations to Create A Cohesive Workspace in Los Angeles

Companies of all sizes in Los Angeles can maximize space and create a positive work environment by using benching workstations. Use our office layout system guide below for a seamless flow from the front door to the storage areas.

Flow

A well-designed office space has a seamless sense of organization whether, it’s a studio in Playa Vista or a high rise in Century City. It’s not just people working away on laptops or chatting with clients and vendors.

It’s important to realize a flow should exist from the moment someone enters the reception area. Consider how the appearance of the reception desk and guest chairs impact an office environment.  An organic flow would lead naturally to a work area with benching workstation configurations. Options include seating for several workers in a length-wise arrangement like the Icon Open Plan Workstation by AMQ.  Create a different brand appearance and visual impact with rounded benching workstations like the Intermix Work Open Plan Desking by First Office or the Verity Open Plan Benching by Friant.

Definition

Imagine a large office space that literally has no internal walls. Areas can easily be defined even in such open office settings. The style of desks and workstations set expectations so walls aren’t needed.

Benching workstations are flexible in their configurations and different shapes can delineate specific departments. A production team of designers or engineers can use one particular shape and cluster while a separate style can be for administration.

Break areas can be established with individual chairs. A creative approach would be using modular lounge chairs to establish relaxation centers between departments or in one central area. This addresses the need for a shared experience while respecting individual privacy and down time.

Expectations

A well-designed office lays out expectations for each area and helps employees respect the company. A 2017 Gallup study, State of the American Workplace, concluded that staff who have a personal area are 1.4 times more likely to be engaged in the workplace.

Space planning and its successful application reflect a company’s brand and speaks to the corporate culture. For younger companies, a cohesive office speaks to staying power and allows workers to look to the future.

An established corporation can refresh its office space using current benching workstation solutions and add a new vibe to the surroundings.

Image Source: Friant

Use Open Plan Workstations to Improve Office Communication in Los Angeles

Use Open Plan Workstations to Improve Office Communication in Los Angeles

Open offices are widely used layouts, so entrepreneurs and office managers in Los Angeles should know how to use open plan workstations to enhance and improve communication.

Cohesion

An office design has to make sense. It takes the pieces of what makes an environment work and brings them into a unified whole. A cohesive design acknowledges the separate entities that interact. Leadership sets the tone and pace, administration supervises the flow of cash and people, while the technical talent and workers make the products and provide the services.

Open plan workstations fit the needs of a variety of for-profit industries and non-profit organizations. Small teams working within larger companies can use open plan workstations in clusters or pods. A creative team working at a mid-size PR firm in Santa Monica can have one designated area for working while account managers can have their own area. A robust non-profit can have admin centered around one style of workstations while the program team can operate in a distinct, designated area using workstations that have a completely different style.

Collaboration

Sharing ideas face to face is an important form of collaboration. An open plan workstation gives team members chances to have conversations and focus on the ideas that matter. The design and spacing has to work in everyone’s favor.

Critics say that open offices killed collaboration. Reseacher Ethan Bernstein of the Harvard Business School (HBS) tracked workers who moved from cubicles to an open office setting and found that they tried to avoid collaboration rather than seek it out. In a July 2018 article for HBS, The Open Office Revolution has Gone Too Far, Bernstein says that workers who have a constant audience may try hard to look busy, put on headphones and avoid interaction.

Open plan workstations aren’t a one-size-fits-all approach. A variety of configurations are available to match personalities and departmental demands. The Synapse Open Plan Benching by Deskmakers is straight-forward while the Crossroads Workstation is a “revolutionary take on office furniture systems.”  Smart planning will configure workstations to allow for collaboration when necessary and provide space for individuals to focus.

Communication

Office communication is much more than one employee talking to another. Communication includes emails, keeping company social media accounts up to date, and phone calls with vendors, clients and potential new clients.

A growing office is a buzzing place. How do you keep the communication in its proper channels?  In an open office, a space without walls, departments can have their own open plan workstations in well-defined areas. In the center of the floor, create a place for phone calls or in-person conferences using modular walls and focused meeting pods. Shared equipment like copiers can be off to one side that’s easily accessible by each area.

An open office can be a vibrant place that attracts top talent when it’s laid out effectively. Use open plan workstations to not only improve office communication but also support specific goals and objectives.

Image Source: Global Sidebar

Benefits of Benching Cubicles

Benefits of Benching Cubicles

Benching cubicles merge the desire for close collaboration among employees while offering the personal space needed for focused work. An office can still have a friendly, open feel while defining work space.

Selecting Benching Cubicles

A variety of flexible configurations are available for benching cubicles. Guidelines for selecting a design that best fits an office can take traits into consideration like:

  • Collaboration Versus Privacy
  • Personal Storage Needs
  • Interaction With Clients and Vendors
  • Use Of Height-Adjustable Workstations

Benching cubicles can be configured in many different ways. Arrangements are flexible to accommodate either a few people or several employees working in close proximity.

Some cubicles have a minimal design like the Razor Cubicle Height Adjustable Table by Open Plan Systems. Others, like the Initiate Workstation by HON, maximize personal space while using translucent partitions that allow light to filter through the office.

Reasons to Use Benching Cubicles

Setting up and installing a benching cubicle is easy. As a company grows and changes occur, new configurations can happen in a way that’s fluid—no tearing out walls or displacing lots of workers.

This system is a good example of mass customization. The partitions and use of height-adjustable workstations can be customized for just a few employees or dozens of people. A company can use specific styles and office layouts to reflect its brand.

Flexibility and quality materials are one and the same. Today’s systems are designed to last and withstand heavy use.

Secondary Benefits of Benching Cubicles

A clean, well-designed office attracts the best talent on the market and makes workers from all generations feel comfortable. Benching cubicles can provide a logical flow in the workplace while allowing for workers to personalize their space. The feeling of a shared, positive experience or sense of community is important for younger hires.

Benching cubicle partitions, plus accessories like plants and attractive storage units, can absorb sound and create boundaries so private space and workspace is respected. If someone is walking from the front door to a back area, they don’t have to feel like they’re stepping on someone’s toes or invading a personal boundary.

Benching cubicles along with modular lounge chairs can also give workers the freedom to take business calls or work on their laptops in different locations. People don’t have to be tied to a desk. Every workplace has a style that’s unique to the corporate culture.

Image Source: OFS