planning an office space

Refurbishing and fitting out an office can be hugely beneficial but if not planned properly, it can prove to be disruptive and costly. Here are our top tips for planning a super-efficient space and getting the best out of your team

1. Create A Vision

Before making any decisions about your new office design, you need to have a strategic plan as to where your business is headed. Start by confirming exactly why you need to update your existing space and decide what you want to get out of the new one. From future growth to forecasted turnover, we have put together a checklist which will help you get started… scroll down to download a copy.

2. Set Your Goals

In order to create the most efficient office plan for your team, you need to be able to identify their needs and have an in-depth understanding of how they run the show day-to-day. The best way to do this is by meeting with the senior team members to create a list of objectives and identify the drivers behind the change. Drivers are individual to each business but could be creating a more efficient space or making room for more staff. Our checklist will help if you’re unsure.

3. Do Your Research

Start by mapping out how each sub-team operates. How many staff members are in each team? How do they need to interact with each other to get the job done? Do this for every sub-team in your organisation however big or small.

Next, carry out a space occupancy study. This is a gathering of physical raw data which will enable you to analyse how the current office space is being used. By doing this you will be able to monitor the use of meeting rooms, cellular offices and break out areas and see how the room booking systems are performing. We recommend carrying out this study over a two-week period avoiding the peak holiday season and public holidays.

As well as completing the space occupancy study, interview staff members and carry out an anonymous survey. This process enables you to monitor each sub-team to understand key differences and gain a more thorough understanding of how they function within the larger organisation

Finally, arrange a storage audit. Storage space is often last on the list when planning an office space but it can have a huge impact on efficiency. We recommend measuring the amount of current filing space in linear metres. It will help if you can also distinguish between the types of filing space needed. This will enable you to decide if you need more or less storage and achieve maximum storage space using the minimum floor space. A win-win if you ask us.

4. Get Agile

Throughout a working day staff undertake tasks that require different levels of collaboration and concentration. Rather than achieve everything from their own workstation, try to create an agile office workplace which will empower individuals to choose the setting to suit their activity. This will promote productivity and give staff a sense of ownership of the space. Make a list of the spaces you think will accommodate the needs of your team the most. This list will form the starting point for creating most efficient layout. Areas might include:

  • Private spaces
  • Acoustic pods
  • Collaboration zones
  • Formal meeting rooms
  • Brainstorming areas
  • Team-work benches
  • Open-plan desk layouts
  • Sit-stand tables
  • Training spaces
  • Atrium settings
  • Reception areas
  • Informal meeting spaces
  • Kitchens
  • Cafe areas

Consider balancing these spaces with areas which promote wellness. Think about the types of areas you could introduce based on the insights you gained from your research. This could be a small gym to promote health or a ping-pong space to boost morale. Areas might include:

  • Chill-out and social areas
  • Tech-free zones
  • Games rooms
  • Yoga studios
  • Gyms
  • Juice bars
  • Cocktail bars

5. The Plan

When developing a new office plan, we always start by creating a block plan showing how your space could be arranged to get the best from your resources. Think about which team members need access to each space on your list and how often they need to do so. If you have people visiting your office, consider their journey through the space and decide how you want them to experience your brand. It helps if you can split the spaces into ‘front of house’ (experienced by visitors) and ‘back of house’ (accessed by your team only).

Look at natural light sources and make sure the necessities such as heat, light, ventilation and water are easily available to each team. Think about how each team interacts with the other and consider how you can maximise productivity. If you have yet to decide on a building, a block plan will help you assess the suitability of your shortlist. This can then be developed into CAD drawings showing accurate dimensions and furniture items to create a balanced environment that promotes wellness, productivity and profit.

download our checklist

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