April 1, 2015

The Most Effective Office Layouts

 

Figuring out what layout works best for your company means understanding your employees. Internal cultures vary and personality types require different environments to work and grow. Even office productivity levels can depend on the right floor plan, so, how can you win in this struggle between freedom, productivity and employee happiness? Here are a few suggestions for setting up the most effective office layout for your company.

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Open Space Concept

An open concept floor plan can encourage employees to support and engage with one another with ease through the convenience of working in a “neighbourhood” environment. Working side-by-side in a community setting allows for social interaction, team collaboration and a physical group learning space. Companies that require a great deal of creativity through collaboration are able to thrive off each other’s energy, as well as benefit from being able to bounce ideas off one another. Such close proximity to co-workers builds and strengthens these bonds that are critical for overall company cohesiveness. Not having to book a meeting or get up from their desk to speak behind closed doors prevents distraction, saves time and can increase overall productivity within a business.

Open concept office spaces are also cost efficient, as employers can fit more employees into less square footage in one room. Once you start separating individuals into larger spaces, the cost can increase quickly.

 

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Offices for Every One

Granting each employee their own office is not only a gracious gesture, but it also shows that you, as an employer, respect everyone’s time and efforts – equally. Having the ability to come into work everyday with the convenience of walls and a door means introverts have the ability to focus and work efficiently. Giving them an environment that grants them peace and quiet, as opposed to constantly hearing other people’s conversations, can make it easier to meet deadlines.

Isolated offices mean enhanced privacy, giving employees the chance to meet behind closed doors, which encourages candid conversations that may not happen otherwise. Being able to speak openly about ideas and concepts in a private space can work to increase creativity by opening up a secure channel of communication.

Giving the majority of your workforce private spaces does come with numerous costs and disadvantages. Offices for each of your employees may mean spending significantly more money upfront on office renovations, a more expensive lease (for a larger office space) or more effort when it comes to social interaction, however private offices have proven to be a productive environment for those who need a quiet workplace and minimal distractions.

 
 
 

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Combination Space

What if you could have the best of both worlds? What if introverts and extroverts could coexist together? If your business happens to exist in a space with both personalities, investing time and money into creating a combination layout might be your best option.

Building a combination office space means creating a space that functions in support of your employees, and not the other way around. Individual offices and cubicles for introverts, that block outside noise and distraction, grants them the ability to focus on the task at hand and engage on their own terms. This, in turn, provides the illusion that their privacy is being respected.

 

Boardrooms, lunchrooms and collaborative working stations throughout the office create the capability for teams to collaborate, with the choice of a closed door or open concept. Providing a space where employees can feel comfortable to brainstorm and socialize freely can foster a productive environment that promotes inventiveness and balance.

 

Ultimately, productivity happens when employees can focus and feel stimulated, and a combination of open concept and private workstations could be worth the extra financial investment for companies with a mixed culture.