Industrial psychology has spent many years discussing and researching the impact that office layouts have on workers productivity and morale. These days, however, the trend seems to be pointing away from the isolating cubicle layout and more toward open floor plan offices. What does research tell us about the best way to lay out your office?
The Benefits of an Open Plan Office
There are many benefits of an open plan office. The first major advantage is that it encourages employees to communicate and share ideas. This ups morale at the workplace and results in increased productivity. And who knows, maybe the next big idea will emerge from two employees chatting with each other?
Open plan workspaces also have the advantage of being flexible to change. If you need to add another desk it’s painless and allows for teams to modify and change for projects. If you want to use your space for multipurpose events, it’s easy to clear out. More than that, open plan offices add a modern touch to any business, contribute to internal branding and uplift any company aesthetic.
Five Ways To Best Layout Your Open Plan Office
1. Think of Form and Function in Office Furniture
While many companies invest time and money in making their offices look great, what they really should be focusing on is the comfort and wellbeing of their employees. Slick office chairs should be replaced with ergonomic alternatives and the lighting should be welcoming and not harsh and invasive.
Another option to consider, when designing your office space, is standing or adjustable desks. Humans are not meant to sit the whole day, we need to satisfy our ancestral selves by standing for some point of the day. That’s where adjustable standing desks come into play, they provide a break for sitting employees, who sometimes need to be shaken out of their sedentary routine.
2. Think of the Flow
Close your eyes, well not actually, but try to visualize the path employees take when interacting with each other and the space around them. How will they get to the bathroom, or grab a coffee from the kitchen? Do you want them bumping into others on the way, or do you want them back at their desks as soon as possible? These are things you should take into account when designing the layout of your new space. This will help you achieve the vibe you want in your office and enhance your corporate culture.
3. Keep the Weather in Mind
In a cubicle-style office or separate offices, the temperature is easier to manage since not everyone is experiencing the same climate, each person can control their own heating or cooling. However, in an open plan office, everyone will experience the same climate and it's important to keep a constant, average temperature that everyone can appreciate. No need for people to pull out sweaters or start wiping beads of sweat off their foreheads. It’s all about keeping them happy, and striking the perfect balance will take some trial and error.
4. Leave the Space Open
It’s called “open plan” for a reason, and you need plenty of ‘open’ space to make this happen. It’s also very important to make sure that you have extra space, in case you need to add a desk, or maybe even a ping pong table. All in all, remember that less is more and flexibility is always an added benefit.
5. Invest in Great Tech
The fundamental idea behind properly laying out your office is the sharing of ideas and an increase in output. That’s why it’s so important to facilitate this; one of the best ways to do it is to invest in smart technology and software. Having great Wi-Fi is a must, but so is a great project management platform. You need printers close to each desk and a way for employees to scan documents or electronically share ideas with one another. Monitors displaying the day's goals or sales is also a wonderful choice to make in a productive office space—it will ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Back to You
Now that we’ve equipped you with some of the things you need to have when deciding on how to best lay out your office, it's up to you to make it happen. And just so you remember, here's a quick reference:
- Make sure employees are comfortable
- Think about how employees interact with each other and the physical space around them
- Keep the temperature of your office in mind
- Leave space empty so you have the opportunity to change it up
- Great technology results in brilliant productivity
- The layout makes a huge difference in employee morale and output