Optimising your office layout for increased productivity and wellness has become a hot topic recently. The conversation is not a new one, but new technology and layout concepts have reignited the discussion around providing a working environment where employees feel comfortable and able to do their best work.
Many factors need to be considered when trying to create a comfortable and productive work space. From optimal temperature and natural lighting, to interior and exterior noise levels. Desk layout can also feed into the perceived comfort of a work environment.
Ideally your office space will be a pleasant temperature with adequate lighting, giving the office a bright and airy feel. Natural light is key, as this can improve quality of life and sleep as opposed to artificial lighting. Exterior and interior noise levels would ideally be minimal, except for the light chatter between colleagues. Breakout spaces and meeting rooms would be available for in depth discussions, and desks would be spaced apart far enough for employees to feel like they have room to breathe.
Office design plays a big part in setting a calming yet productive environment, and there are many different layouts companies utilise depending on their and their employee’s needs.
Here are some of the most popular office layout styles:
Closed cubicles are a thing of the past. While they may still be suited to office spaces where employees need more autonomy, open plan seems to be the most popular layout option in this day and age. Open plan fosters greater collaboration, creativity and comradery, as employees feel they can work with their colleagues more effectively.
Some drawbacks of the open plan working environment is that employees may feel like they have a lack of privacy, as their working space is exposed to everyone else in the office. While open plan encourages collaboration, with collaboration comes increased noise levels. This chatter can be an unwanted distraction for those not involved in the discussion who are working on separate projects. Open plan is also not so well suited to call centres, where many people are talking on the phone at once.
Open plan layouts are better suited to creative industries and digital agencies, where employees need the opportunity to bounce ideas of their team mates and work together closely.
Hot desking is a relatively new office layout trend, where employees do not have a designated desk but instead sit where there is a free desk. Employees usually keep their items in a locker or shelf, and unpack their things at an available desk.
Hot desking encourages tidier workspaces, as employees can tend to get too comfortable at a desk and their belongings start to spread. Hot desking is supposed to create a more dynamic work environment, and encourage more flexibility and adaptability in the workplace. Hot desking can also save the employer money as costs associated with office furniture are reduced as no one has a permanent workspace.
However, many employees can feel uneasy in a hot desking environment, as each morning they need to find somewhere to sit. Starting the morning off with an anxious hunt for a desk does not often make for a calming and relaxing work environment. Those who arrive later will usually end up not being able to find a desk near people they work closely with. Hot desking can also encourage employees to become territorial about the perceived “better” desks, and can result in a bit of a competition to secure one of these desks before others arrive.
Hot desking can actually have a negative effect on productivity, as staff will need to spend time each morning finding a desk, unpacking their belongings and packing up again at the end of the day.
A virtual office looks different to different companies. The “office” may be your car, your home, the airport, almost anywhere. For example, many travelling sales reps will not have an official office, as the majority of their work is conducted on the road.
The majority of virtual office setups will have the employees being based from home and using the internet to call into video conferencing to connect with their teams.
Virtual offices are great for people who crave greater independence and flexibility, that can stay focused while working away from their teams. A reliable internet connection and a webcam are essential.
However, it can be a disaster for those who get distracted easily by the television, kids, even nice weather! Those lacking discipline can have a tough time staying focused in an unconventional work environment.
What office layout is right for my business?
There is no one size fits all answer when it comes to office layouts. Many things need to be considered; the type of work your employees do, how closely they need to work together; and the best environment to make this happen. You should also consider the best option for the number of employees you have, your current office space and the facilities your business needs, such as project rooms, video conferencing options and more.
Once you’ve got your office plan sorted, get in touch with a business relocation company to sort the big move. John Ryan Removals can help you move into your new office. As the leading office removalists in Melbourne, the John Ryan Removals team can relocate your office without disrupting your business activities