Office Planning and Things to Consider

30 March 2017

The Huffington Post may not be the go-to source for office planning tips, but a recent article on the site claims business owners are failing to take the full space of their office build into consideration. The article offered nine tips to make the best use of your office building process. 1. Waiting Area Sofas are comfortable, and are often placed in waiting rooms with the intention of putting visitors at their ease. But think it through – you could be actively making life harder for older visitors, or those with disabilities, who may have difficulty getting out of your comfy trap. Also, just as strangers won’t share seats on trains unless they absolutely have to, they’re unlikely to sit together on couches in your waiting room, meaning one couch seats one person. Go for individual chairs unless sofas are intrinsic to your company’s core values. 2. Not Separating Work From Play A cubicle with a coffee machine does not a break room make. Make sure you designate specific space for non-work areas – that’s the point of them, after all, to get away from the work vibe. 3. Ignoring Reception Area Your reception area is your real-world website: your shop window to potential clients. Make it professional, make it uncluttered, make it welcoming. Do not make it nondescript, and do not make it a cloakroom for staff or a filing graveyard. The reception has its own purpose, it’s not a multi-functional space for whatever you need on any day. 4. Poor Storage Insufficient or inefficient storage leads to clutter, confusion, and potentially, document mix-up, costing you time, money and possibly your reputation with clients. Make sure you have an adequate document storage and retrieval system in your office design, and build in somewhere that workers can keep their coats, hats, scarves and winter boots etc – Seasonal clothing clutter around the office can leave your business looking like a teenager’s bedroom. 5. Poor Lighting Your choice of lighting has an impact on the productivity of your staff. Use multiple light sources – overhead and wall – to give your office space options depending on the kind of tasks your staff will have to complete as the day goes on. Don’t overdo the artificial or neon light, but remember to take advantage of as much natural light as you can – windows are your friend. 6. Privacy/Public Incompatibility Recent research has questioned the value of the open-plan office space, with its ambient noise floor and its lack of introvert-friendly environments, Make sure you balance the need to collaborate and do team working with the need of people to focus on their own tasks. 7. Poor Flooring Don’t skimp on the flooring – as much as the walls and the equipment, your staff and your clients have to take a message from the flooring, whether that message is efficiency and professionalism, attention to duty, or a feeling of luxury and their information being safe in your hands. Choose flooring that reflects both your core branding and the message you want to convey about your business. 8. Miles Apart Group teams near to each other – this is simple common sense; teams can’t work together efficiently if they’re having to either shout across the office, or scurry back and forth to share ideas. Make the most of your teams’ potential by designing team-specific areas, and take input from those staff on what their team-specific needs are in terms of power, presentation facilities, IT etc. 9. Doing it all yourself Above all, don’t assume you can design your optimum office on your own. Your business does the things in which you are experts. Get yourself a professional firm of office designers who understand the process, the planning and the underlying considerations that need to go in to building your office in a way that’s right for you – and your staff.

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