7 strategies to help you plan your new office layout
If you’re planning an office move, renovation or redesign, you need to plan it carefully so you complete it successfully and on budget, and with no nasty surprises … such as not being able to fit everything you need into it! In case it’s useful, we’ve put together some strategies to help you get it right the first time.
Number of employees you need to accommodate
The Health and Safety Executive’s guidelines on the minimum amount of space you need to provide each staff member are: “The total volume of the room, when empty, divided by the number of people normally working in it should be at least 11 cubic metres. In making this calculation a room or part of a room which is more than 3.0m high should be counted as 3.0m high. The figure of 11 cubic metres per person is a minimum and may be insufficient if, for example, much of the room is taken up by furniture etc.”
So you must make sure there is enough room for all your staff to work comfortably in before you can even begin to work on the design layout.
What are you planning to use the space for? Do you only have the space and resources for desks and cupboards, or are you planning a breakout area too? And do you have access to a kitchen or does that need to be part of your layout? If you’ve got a large open space, you may want to partition areas to create a meeting room, storeroom, kitchenette etc. All of these considerations need to be taken into account when working on your layout.
This is also a good time to think about your seating plan. Do departments need to sit with each other, or would it be better if people working on the same client sit together? You also need to decide who needs to be closest to the window – studies have found that exposure to daylight has a significant effect on productivity, so maybe staff who spend a lot of time at their desks (rather than senior staff who are more likely to be out and about) would benefit from sitting nearer the window.
Think about all the furniture you need and how it will best fit into the new office layout. You need to ensure that people have enough room to push back their chairs without bumping into walls or each other. Also to take into consideration are the number of storage units you need to add to the mix, and any other pieces of furniture, such as a reception area, soft seating, etc.
One of your most important strategies will be to produce an accurate scale plan of the new layout – otherwise, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and energy moving furniture around when you discover, the hard way, that your preferred layout doesn’t work.
There are online apps that will help – some of which are free of charge and could be all you need for a simpler layout. Alternatively, you could do things the old-fashioned way with paper cut-outs of the furniture and use trial and error to make them fit into the space. Or if you’re feeling creative, raid the kid’s toy box and build a scale model out of Lego! It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as your measurements are accurate.
Ask an expert
Of course, the easiest way is to hire a professional designer to do it for you. With their experience in the field, they may also surprise you with clever and innovative suggestions you’d never have thought of by yourself.
Move to a serviced office
One of the best ways of reducing the responsibility and the faff of your company’s own office is to move your company into a serviced office. Ideal for smaller companies, they offer your staff breakout areas, kitchens and meeting rooms without you having to spend extra money on spaces you may not use that often, but which could make all the difference when it comes to taking on new clients.