Make your layout work for you

What happens when your office needs a make-over?

For whatever reason – a new location, upsizing, downsizing or changing priorities – businesses often dread giving their office a new design.

It’s frustrating, time consuming, and generally disruptive. If done correctly, though, it can be a huge boost to moral, productivity, and the bottom line. The keyword is correctly. When designing and refurbishing an office there are a whole array of things that could go wrong, and that’s before you even consider which desk to have!

In their 2016 UK Workplace Survey, Gensler – a prominent corporate architecture firm – discovered that poorly designed open-plan environments are negatively affecting over eight million UK workers. Another study by Gensler revealed that over 50% of participants would work an extra hour every day if they had a better designed workplace.

Clearly having a well-designed office is important to employees. So, what is the first step in the redesigning process?
The process must begin with an understanding of the current space usage. Try and notice if there are certain areas that are never used or areas that are always crowded. Another thing to watch out for is if employees compete for certain office furniture or other resources. Space in any given office is limited, so making the most of it counts. Make sure that space is used in a way that maximizes productivity and employee happiness.

Sometimes they way space in an office is designed means that employees need to work around the current design to be productive. Preventing this should be a key goal of redesigning an office. An example of the above problem would be if employees met at a coffee shop because they couldn’t find a common space in the office, or if employees are providing their own office chairs because the standard ones are too uncomfortable.

An office should always work with employee, and never against them. Critically examining the general layout of the office in question is always a good idea. It could be that the macro design of an office is hindering productivity. Make sure that people who have highly collaborative jobs are in close contact with their colleagues thanks to the layout of the office. Also observe employees to see if people are spending a lot of time in transit to printers, copiers and so on.

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