Best Office Layout Design | Office Layout Ideas and Tips
Identifying the best office design for your business can seem like a daunting task. There’s so many factors to consider when it comes to creating an office space that supports employee productivity and collaboration, while also supplying your workers with a private and comfortable work environment.
The key to a good office layout is being able to strike the balance between comfort, functionality, and style, all while staying within your budget and space requirements. Today, we’ll be exploring some great office layout ideas for creating a space to fit your needs and goals.
Related content: The Ultimate Guide to Modern Office Design
Best Office Layout for Productivity
If you’re looking for ideas for maximising productivity in the workplace, it’s best to start with what’s already working for others. Let’s explore some of the top office designs used by businesses today to help employees work more productively:
Cellular Office Layout
The cellular or cubicle office layout is an extremely popular office layout that allows businesses to maximise space efficiency.
Cellular floor plans typically use a network of partitions which act as private offices where employees can focus on their work. Such arrangements should be paired with meeting rooms and shared spaces so you can support autonomous private work as well as collaboration between teams.
Cellular Office Layout
This may not always be a possibility for companies that employ a large number of people, but private offices are one of the best ideas for helping individuals work comfortably, privately, and autonomously.
While there’s no doubt that arranging your building into separate offices can help reduce noise and visual distraction, care should be taken to also provide shared spaces to help maintain a team atmosphere. Private offices can also make a building seem smaller, darker, and cramped, though you can counteract this by dividing space with glass or translucent materials.
Hybrid Office Layout
This office layout is a bit unique in that it takes features of many popular office layouts to get the best of all of them.
These days, a hybrid workspace can also utilise flexible working arrangements in which your team can switch between working onsite and working from a home office. This can free up valuable resources and space, which is particularly valuable for a small office where space comes at a premium.
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Perhaps taking inspiration from a co-working office layout, hot-desking is an organisational workspace system in which no desk is permanently assigned to any individual.
This is a fabulous option for preventing desks from going to waste when employees are on holidays, sick, or working from home. An alternative approach to hot desking is known as ‘hotelling’ in which employees can reserve desks in advance, maximising resource utilisation without the stress of racing to get a seat every morning.
Maximise Desk Utilisation with Hot Desking
Office Design Productivity Research: The Relationship Between Office Design and Productivity
Much research has been conducted on the relationship between office layout and the ability of employees to work productively. An independent survey of middle and senior management concluded the following:
A better working environment could increase the productivity of workers by as much as 19%
Four out of five professionals said the quality of their working environment was important to their sense of job satisfaction
58% of respondents didn’t believe their office had been developed to support their company’s business, let alone their own job function
Personal space, climate control, and exposure to daylight are considered the three leading factors in a good working environment
Roughly 50% of professionals would prefer to work in private offices, while 33% prefer working in open plan office
‘The Impact of Office Layout on Productivity’ collated all the literature on office layout and the productivity of staff to explore the links between the two. The document explores how the workplace environment can be used as an aid for organisation change, potentially increasing collaboration and openness and therefore enabling greater organisational performance.
Similarly, ‘The Impact of Office Design Towards Employee Productivity’ suggests that the way an office is designed and occupied can affect, not just the way staff feel, but also how they perform on the job and how committed they are to their employer.
By creating an environment that’s comfortable and conducive to success, you can help teams work more efficiently while getting greater satisfaction from their work. This can boost how productively employees work, and can also improve staff retention and loyalty.
Related content: Modern Office Interior Design Concepts Guide
Workplace Design Can Help Maximise Productivity
Top Office Layout Ideas: How to Design Your Office Space
Unfortunately, there’s no single greatest layout for businesses, so the needs of your office will vary depending on your industry, size, budget, and a range of other factors. The good news is, there are some general characteristics that are common to most successful offices. You can use these key features as inspiration for your own layout.
Here are some ideas for helping boost workplace efficiency, satisfaction, and performance:
Encourage information sharing and connection between staff
Carefully consider how lighting, temperature, space, noise, and other factors may be impacting your teams’ ability to do their job
Incorporate technology into the office layout
Bring a little life into your office with plants and other biophilic elements
Prioritise ergonomics to minimise stress
Optimise spatial arrangement to facilitate movement and flexibility
Use colour to promote a productive atmosphere
Offer flexible, ergonomic furniture for greater comfort and freedom
Building Flexibility Into Your Design
One of the most important things about optimising office layouts is ensuring that your office doesn’t hinder your business’ ability to respond and adapt to changing workplace requirements. By building flexibility into your office floor plan, you can maximise space utilisation while ensuring that your space can always cater to shifting needs, goals, and priorities:
Cut down on clutter to enable greater mobility
Reduce the number of fixed elements in your office, instead electing for mobile elements such as rolling partitions, chairs, and desks that allow you to customise and adapt your office layout in moments
Regularly assess your space and identify any areas for improvement
Adopt flexible work arrangements such as hot-desking or partial work-from-home agreements
Build Flexibility Into Your Office
Office Room Layout: Design and Safety
Another priority when planning office layouts is creating an office space that’s safe for every team member. This means minimising slipping and tripping hazards, prioritising ergonomics to prevent injury or unnecessary strain on the body, keeping noise at safe levels, and much more.
Here are some design considerations for a safer office:
Ample lighting in offices, corridors, stairwells, garages and entrances to limit eye strain and accidents
Clearly marked steps to prevent tripping
Anti-slip materials on the floor, especially on and around stairs
Minimal obstacles, particularly in high-traffic areas
Generous pathways through the office to prevent traffic jams
Easily accessible fire extinguishers and alarms on every floor
Sound-absorbing components such as acoustic wall and ceiling panels to dampen sound
Adequate storage to prevent clutter from building up in walkways
Office layout arranged to prevent bottlenecks
Best Office Space Layout for Collaboration
Facilitating communication and promoting a collaborative atmosphere is a priority for most offices. But did you know that your office layout can play a huge role in the ability of your teams to work together?
The good news is, there are many ways that you can optimise your layout for collaborative success.
Create a Team Environment
Good Ideas for Collaborative Space Design
In their survey on the impact of office layout on team productivity, Gensler found that middle and senior managers spend roughly half their time tied to their desk. Despite this, only 20% of professionals believed their greatest ideas actually came to them while working at their desk, with 30% feeling their best ideas came during meetings or while communicating with their colleagues.
So if our greatest ideas come to us while we’re working with others, why do we spend so much less time engaging with our peers? And how can we optimise the office for collaboration? Here are some ideas for maximising team work:
Open Office Layouts
Doing away with walls altogether to maximise space utilisation, the open office layout creates a shared space which can help foster a sense of connectedness and open communication.
In an open office, furniture, plants, partitions, and other objects can be used as space definers without closing the office layout. These offices may also contain a number of shared benches and collaborative spaces to encourage teamwork. The biggest advantage to an open office is in its high level of flexibility, though its drawbacks include excessive noise, distraction, and a lack of privacy that may impact independent work.
Offering many of the benefits of an open plan space while avoiding many of the drawbacks, zoning allows you to organise your office layout around different tasks and goals. By creating different zones, employees have the opportunity to choose how and where they work.
Zoning typically involves a number of different areas, including: collaborative spaces, quiet rooms, breakout zones, and meeting areas.
‘Zones’ Allow Teams to Decide How They Work Best
Team-Based Working Spaces
As the name would suggest, a team-based office groups teams together, whether through clustered cubicles, large tables, or shared work zones.
This layout enables communication between employees who often share goals and tasks. However, it’s important to also promote a whole-of-business team atmosphere, or you may unknowingly establish an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mindset between different teams within your office.
Low-Partition Office Design
Offering many of the benefits of the cellular office while avoiding many of its drawbacks, installing shorter partitions in your office can really open up the space while fostering a ‘team’ atmosphere.
This design allows for better light and air-flow while also facilitating communication and collaborative work within the office. However, keep in mind that an office layout made up of shorter partitions will still be less private and more susceptible to noise and distraction compared to a closed space.
Low Partition Office Design
Office Space Management: Materials, Tools, and Solutions
A well-managed space is the key to a successful office that supports the needs and comfort of your employees at work. Ensuring that you get the most out of your space can take a lot of careful consideration, but there are many tools and solutions you can use to help you:
Rather than committing to any single layout, partitioning solutions allow you to customise and adapt your space according to your current needs and priorities. For example, you can set up a temporary meeting room or collaborative space for the morning before packing it down and opening up the space later for a more traditional work style.
Noise can be a problem in any office arrangement, quickly making a space feel crowded, overwhelming, and distracting for your employees. Installing soft materials in the office, such as fabric chairs, couches, carpet, acoustic panels and partitions can help dampen sound, minimising echoing and excessive noise for a more comfortable environment for everyone.
Too much ‘stuff’ will quickly make an office seem cluttered, poorly managed, and uncomfortable, so it’s best to keep things clean and well-organised. There are a number of convenient storage solutions available, including shelving units, lockers, and cupboards to help store items when not in use.
A tangle of cables doesn’t just look unprofessional, it can also pose a hazard to your employees. When making plans for your office, try to arrange electronic devices as close to ports and powerpoints as possible to limit how far cables need to travel before being plugged in. Cable concealers, holders, and docking stations can also make it easy for teams to plug in without leaving a mess of wires running across the ground.
Privacy is one of the key concerns for employees working in the office. Desk-mounted screens can serve as a simple divider that limits the view and noise between desks without blocking communication. Such screens can be particularly effective in open offices where privacy can be limited.
Effective Office Layouts and Designs
Office design can have a huge impact on how your employees work, so it’s vital that you consider their needs, goals, and working styles in order to help them perform at their best. Here’s a quick overview of the things to consider when creating an office layout that’s conducive to employee success:
Consider which style of office is best suited to your needs. Open plan, for example, may be an excellent option for creating a collaborative atmosphere, but it can come at the cost of privacy, focus, and independent work.
Personal space, climate control, and daylight are three important factors for a successful layout, so be sure to consider these as you plan out your space
Optimise your layout for employee safety and comfort
Building flexibility into your layout can help ensure maximum space utilisation while supporting staff autonomy
Opt for mobile elements over fixed elements for a more adaptable and dynamic space
Ensure that your office is well-lit, well-ventilated, and adequately heated and cooled to enhance staff comfort
Stay agile. Workplace needs can and will change of the years, so always keep your eye out for new opportunities to improve
Support Success with an Efficient Design