Optimizing Your Floor Plan for Maximum Productivity
There’s no universal correct way to lay out an office. If you’ve been in the workforce long enough, you’ve probably already noticed that different companies have different needs for their office space. For example, one company might have a larger demand for a board conference room for leadership meetings while another company may need to fit in as many cubicles as possible. Most of a company’s physical layout and arrangement of office furniture is determined by the population of the workforce and their day-to-day needs.
However, planning an office isn’t just about numbers or the CEO automatically getting the biggest office based on title alone. When planning an office, it’s important to take into consideration all the variables, both tangible and intangible. This not only makes your office efficient, but more importantly, saves you valuable time and money in the long run.
Planning Your Office
When planning an office, it helps to think of your space as a finite resource that needs to be appropriately rationed. You know how much square footage you have and you know how many employees work for the company, so how do you go about divvying up the space? And how do you decide who gets certain things that are considered a luxury, such as an enclosed office, window seating, or valuable counter space? Determine your office needs based upon the following questions.
“How many of my employees require privacy or isolation?” The reason that CEOs, Human Resources, and other members of company leadership have their own private offices is generally due to the sensitive nature of their day-to-day. They need to be able to be able to have private conversations and the security of an office that locks. Other employees may require privacy as well – not due to the nature of their job – but because they’re more productive if allowed to work in isolation.
Research has shown that most employees require an environment free of distraction in order to be at their most productive. When planning your office, determine how many employees in your workforce will benefit from being granted a quiet space with little to no external stimuli. In order to accomplish this, you may need to construct the illusion of privacy via cubicle walls and partitions.
By providing your employees their own private space, you are getting back hours that are typically lost to crosstalk and other common distractions. This is also extremely helpful for employees that prefer not to feel like they’re being watched while they work.
“How many of my employees require a collaborative space?” Some employees require the exact opposite of isolation. They need to be right in the thick of the action and allowed to freely communicate ideas. A great example of that is when a sales team gets together to brainstorm ideas about how to best approach a territory or group of customers. Another example is when marketing teams get together to discuss new ideas for a client and ways in which to increase their exposure.
Collaboration is the key to innovation, and so it’s important to have a designated space for those team members that’s conducive to cultivating ideas. Not having this could potentially hinder the process, meaning your workforce will take much longer to develop a plan independently of each other compared to as a group.
“How many of my employees can work in a flex space?” The flex space is arguably the most important area of the office. It’s multi-purpose, versatile, and not necessarily owned by any particular group of employees. In the wake of COVID-19, the flex space has become absolutely necessary for the modern office and will continue to play a role well into 2021.
Ideally, the flex space allows several different employees on varying schedules to utilize it. If you have employees that work part-time remote or travel often, the flex space is usually the best spot in the office for them so that you don’t unnecessarily dedicate an area to them full-time. When planning your office layout, take into consideration your most adaptable employees who can work productively in any situation. If you are able to choose your staff wisely and get the scheduling down, the flex space saves your company to save on valuable square footage by minimizing your employee footprint.
Good Planning Maximizes Productivity
Once you’ve put in the frontend work of sectioning off your office by isolation space, collaborative space, and flex space, all that’s left is the application. Finding the correct balance can be a trial and error process, so it’s important that you’re just as flexible with your planning as you expect your employees to be about adjusting to a new layout. Ultimately, everybody’s goal should be the same, which is to make a finite office space as efficient and productive as possible. The more efficiently your office is run, the healthier your bottom line gets.
If you are in the market for office furniture, cubicle walls, or desks, come by Santa Fe Office Interiors located at 8106 Santa Fe Drive in Overland Park, KS. We have years of experience furnishing offices of all sizes and square footages.