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Office Layout Design Best Practices: Space Planning for Productivity

By How your office space is conceptualized and arranged has a substantial impact on overall productivity levels, employee well-being and engagement, and process efficiency. The layout of a workspace need to meet the needs of those who fulfill their daily duties within it and must alleviate common office disturbances, rather than make matters worse.

How your office space is conceptualized and arranged has a substantial impact on overall productivity levels, employee well-being and engagement, and process efficiency. The layout of a workspace need to meet the needs of those who fulfill their daily duties within it and must alleviate common office disturbances, rather than make matters worse.

Office Layout Design Best Practices

 

How your office space is conceptualized and arranged has a substantial impact on overall productivity levels, employee well-being and engagement, and process efficiency. The layout of a workspace need to meet the needs of those who fulfill their daily duties within it and must alleviate common office disturbances, rather than make matters worse.

 

Below are some statistics on how office layouts can enhance (or hinder) workplace performance:

 

Employees that work in open plan offices lose approximately 28 per cent of their productive time due to interruptions and distractions

Employees who work in spaces with poor sound control or a lot of background noise see a 66 percent drop in productivity

Sufficient lighting and access to daylight can reduce employee absenteeism by 15 per cent and increase productivity by as much as 20 per cent.

 

This is just a small segment of the data that has been collected about office design layout and the effect it has on business results.

 

In today’s post, I’ll be discussing the importance of office space planning and touching on some of the most prominent design strategies.

 

I’ll also be sharing my perspective on what the best office layouts are, as well as sharing tips and tricks for designing an office space, because ultimately, as a San Francisco commercial property realtor, I know how crucial the functionality of an office is to feeling like you chose the right property.

 

The Four Core Office Layouts

Open Space

This particular office space layout was developed to address the cubicle-centric designs of the 1960’s. It was thought that by removing barriers and encouraging employees to interact more managers would see increased communication and cooperation. Yet, despite this being a noble goal, open-plan environments have actually been shown to lead to more distractions and lessened employee satisfaction levels.

 

 

 

An example of an open office layout. Notice the limited number of closed spaces and how there are no walls to reduce visibility or add privacy.

 

Private Rooms

This style of office layout plan takes a more individualistic approach, giving employees secluded spaces where they can perform their daily tasks. While they do not necessary support the free flow of work, and can reduce how much time employees spend engaging with one another, they do bolster concentration levels and are far more convenient for professionals who need to be able to have discreet conversations.

 

 

 

Private rooms give employees the seclusion and solitude they require to give 100 percent of their attention to the task at hand, and are ideal for companies that frequently deal with sensitive information that should not be overheard by others.

 

Cubicles

For many years, cubicles were considered the best office layout for productivity. One of the greatest benefits associated with cubicles is that they create uniformity in the workplace, providing each employee with the same amount of space. They can also be extremely economical, allowing employers to create numerous workstations within a single room. On the other hand, they aren’t great for noise control, with 30 percent of workers in cubicles saying they are dissatisfied with the noise levels at their place of employment.

 

 

 

While cubicles do provide more privacy than an open plan office layout, many employees do not find them to be sufficient and they do little to address distracting noise levels.

 

Team Clusters

This is a relatively new approach when it comes to how to design an office space. Team clusters are a mixture of both open plan and private office concepts. While multiple people do work together in an open space, only people who work in the same department are a part of the work area, and it is secluded from other team environments. This eliminates the likelihood of employees being distracted by conversations that are in no way related to the work they do. This can be an efficient office layout for companies that can’t afford (or don’t have the square footage) to give each employee their own private space, but who also want to support team members in having privacy when they need it.

 

 

 

By clustering team members who work closely together, business owners can still provide a level of privacy for employees, while also reaping the benefits of maximized square footage.

 

 

Tips for Optimizing Employee Productivity

 

Only you know which office layout is most feasible and practical for your enterprise needs. But no matter which option you choose, there are some best practices you can follow to promote productivity and enhance your business outcomes.

 

I recommend implementing these office space planning strategies whenever possible:

 

Always provide a quiet zone where employees can have confidential conversations, make private phone calls, and collaborate in a distraction-free environment.

 

 

Make design decisions that bring as much natural light into your building as possible.

 

 

Don’t shy away from bold paint choices or fun, vibrant pieces of art. These simple design elements can boost creativity and reduce employee stress levels.

 

 

Don’t deviate from a room’s intended purpose. If your break room is cluttered with memos, reminders, and white boards, it becomes more difficult for employees to truly unwind and benefit from a mental break.

 

 

Give employees the gift of choice. Some prefer a stand-up desk or an exercise ball chair, while others feel more comfortable in an office chair with arm supports, or with an adjustable keyboard stand. The more freedom you offer to your staff, the more satisfied they will be.

 

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