The most common office design that we work on is the open-plan office layout. It makes more efficient use of space than individual offices and helps to facilitate communication and teamwork between employees. However, a poor open-plan design can result in a cramped and overcrowded working environment, which can be noisy and subject employees to unwelcome distractions and a lack of privacy.
When designing an open-place office, you need to consider the available space. How many workstations do you need to fit in? How many meeting rooms do you want? How much storage do you need? Do you want to include a break-out area for staff and/or a waiting room/area for clients? What room do you have for expansion?
Above all, the design of your office has to be practical – it has to enable your employees to work and do their jobs in the most efficient way possible. This is the definition of ergonomics and should be the main consideration when designing your office layout and choosing office furniture. For example:
Office design – lighting
Wherever possible, make the most of natural light in your office. Daylight has a positive effect on people’s mood, plus it’s free, so if you are building from scratch, install plenty of windows and/or skylights. If you are refurbishing an existing building, try to ensure that nothing is placed in front of the windows that could block the light coming in.
Of course, you can’t rely on natural light alone, especially in the winter, so you’ll need to consider interior lighting too. Overhead lighting is a common choice in office spaces, but don’t forget about task-focused lighting, e.g. directional lamps for close work.
Remember that both natural and artificial light will reflect off computer screens, which is uncomfortable for the user, so think about the layout of the desks in conjunction with the position of your light sources.
Office design – furniture
Seating that is used all day, every day – e.g. desk chairs – should be comfortable, hard-wearing and fully adjustable. For ease of movement, office chairs are commonly on wheels and the main seat can turn and spin 360°. They can also include arm rests and extra lower-back support, for individual comfort.
When choosing desks/workstations, make sure each one is large enough to accommodate the user’s computer, telephone and other equipment, plus their paperwork, files and anything else they need to do their jobs. Different job roles may require a different size desk. Ideally, desks should be height-adjustable to accommodate the different heights of your employees; failing that, an adjustable monitor arm can be installed on each desk so the user can position their computer screen correctly.
These factors are particularly important if you plan to implement hot-desking (i.e. desk-sharing), as each user must be able to quickly and easily customise their workstation every day.
Office design – storage
Trust us, you can never have too much storage! There are all kinds of storage solutions available, e.g. under-desk drawer units, filing cabinets, cupboards, shelves, racking, file suspension systems, etc. You might need some form of secure storage, e.g. a lockable archive room for customer files, or lockers for employees’ personal belongings.
We offer a full bespoke design and space planning service for your office fit out or refurbishment. Contact us for a free quotation.