Office space planning involves strategically organising the physical workspace, including layout, furniture, and functionality, to optimise workflow efficiency. Office space planning is very crucial to any organisation and it should adjust to the requirements of modern workforces. A sensible office planning fulfils the needs of both the company and the employees. The main goal of office space planning is to facilitate the office employees so that they enjoy coming to work knowing that they can work and collaborate in the best conditions.
Office space planning extends beyond aesthetics, shaping the ambiance and culture of your workspace. Every decision, from furniture choices to layout and colour schemes, contributes to your office’s atmosphere and reflects your organisational ethos. It’s essential to align your office space planning with your core values while prioritising employee well-being. Contemporary trends like biophilic office design and integrating relaxation zones are gaining traction, enhancing mental health and productivity. Exploring these trends can elevate your office space planning strategy and create an environment that resonates with your culture while fostering a healthier workplace.
Benefits of office planning:
- Increased collaboration: An open plan office layout could increase collaboration and communication, which is great for fostering such company culture.
- Flexibility: Pro open office space planning takes advantage of a flexible work environment of open space rather than closing off employees in cubicles or offices.
- Increased productivity: Studies show that noise, light, temperature, furniture layout and quality are important workplace design factors that influence productivity of employees.
- Protection of wellbeing of your workforce: Implementing proper office ergonomics offers crucial advantages by addressing essential workplace needs like hygiene, employee well-being, and promoting social distancing, particularly vital in the post-COVID-19 era.
- Boosts mental health of employees: The rising popularity of biophilic office designs and the integration of spaces dedicated to rest and meditation stems from their remarkable benefits for enhancing employees’ mental health.
- Shapes and builds corporate culture: The layout and design of an office play a pivotal role in establishing the ambiance, atmosphere, and overarching theme that defines the corporate culture.
- Improved efficiency: Employing effective office management tools can significantly minimise errors and distractions, thereby boosting overall efficiency.
- Enhanced teamwork: A properly planned office environment can enhance team collaboration and productivity.
- Better property management: With better office management, you promote the preservation and maintenance of office property.
6 Steps to effective office planning
Measure and analyse the current workspaces
Prior to redesigning your workspace, it’s crucial to evaluate the utilisation of your current office area and identify feasible changes. Analysing daily occupancy trends, employee-preferred office space types, desk accessibility, and meeting room availability are essential steps before implementing alterations. Utilise tools such as hot-desking software, conference room booking systems, and visitor management software to track employee workspace usage over time. Insights from these office space analysis tools will guide enhancements tailored to your team’s needs.
Assessing your team’s office space utilisation holds great importance. For instance, if the kitchen occupies a significant portion of the floor without usage, or if the huddle spaces, despite occupying a quarter of the space, are consistently in high demand and booked, it’s time to consider making necessary adjustments.
Once more, it’s essential to evaluate your office space realistically. While major structural changes might not be immediately feasible, consider practical alterations such as incorporating steel partitions, adjusting lighting configurations, or substituting cubicles with versatile tables to enhance flexibility.
Use the right space planning tools
Integration of space management tools with your workspace systems is pivotal for creating a smooth, adaptable working environment. These tools serve as valuable compliments to your office setup, aiding data-driven decision-making rather than relying solely on intuition. To enhance your comprehension of space utilisation, consider the seamless collaboration of four essential workplace systems:
- Visitor management system: It adds security to the front desk and keeps your employees safe while providing your company insights into who’s coming in and when.
- Conference room scheduling software: This software presents a comprehensive solution for space discovery, meeting scheduling, and efficient navigation within both physical and hybrid work settings. Simplifying room reservation enhances on-site responsiveness for employees, while its tracking capabilities offer insights into meeting room usage, facilitating space optimization. Its significance has amplified post-pandemic, notably amid concerns like COVID-19, prompting organisations to prioritise safe face-to-face interactions and maximise space efficiency.
- Hot desk booking software: This planning software ensures employees on-site have a place to work, plan, and collaborate. It also gives you insight into where and how people prefer to work.
- Space planning tools: If you want to do floor planning and 3D modelling this software will help you bring new workplace ideas to life.
Brainstorm with your employees on space planning process
Uncertain about where to initiate your office space planning? Engage in conversations with your employees! They serve as a valuable resource for crafting environments that boost productivity and foster well-being within your team. The optimal approach to tailor your office space to meet your employees’ needs is by actively involving them in the planning process. Recognizing that employees form the backbone of your office, providing them with an environment conducive to optimal conditions is essential, benefiting both them and the overall performance of the organisation.
Prior to implementing any modifications, consider conducting a survey to grasp employees’ preferences. Additionally, it’s crucial to communicate space changes proactively. You can further enhance engagement by involving interested employees in the decision-making process. Ultimately, the key is to actively engage office employees in the reimagining of their workspace, fostering a stronger desire to work in the transformed environment.
Consider your workspace culture and values
Optimising your office space planning is crucial for aligning with your organisational culture and values, influencing employee-centricity. Assess whether your workspace prioritises employee well-being, incorporating ample resting spaces and biophilic design for a nature-infused environment. Alternatively, if your culture emphasises teamwork but employees struggle to find meeting spaces, this can lead to dissatisfaction and disconnection from corporate values, potentially resulting in negative job satisfaction and increased turnover. Crafting a workspace that resonates with your culture is essential, fostering loyalty, connection, and productivity. This is particularly crucial in hybrid work settings where interactions and group activities take precedence. Consider integrating sustainability practices into your office space planning to positively impact the planet.
Focus on designing healthy and safe environment
When it comes to office space planning, it goes beyond meeting safety standards; it involves creating a workspace that promotes both physical and mental health. The design of your office space plays a pivotal role in shaping the work environment, capable of either triggering stress and anxiety or fostering well-being and creativity. Natural light, for instance, has a significantly higher positive impact compared to artificial lighting, influencing employee productivity.
Consider these strategic investments, mindful of your budget:
- Ergonomic furniture and technology: Prioritise investments in ergonomic furniture and technology to enhance employee comfort and efficiency.
- Space management tools: Subscribe to space management tools to bolster security, safety measures, and ensure a seamless flow within the workspace.
- Air Quality Enhancement: Improve the air quality of your office space, as it directly contributes to the well-being of employees and overall productivity.
- Biophilic Designs: Integrate biophilic designs to create a connection with nature, promoting both mental and physical health among employees.
- Promote Social Spaces: Allocate areas that encourage social interactions, fostering a sense of community within the office environment.
Measure, monitor and iterate the space planning
In the final phase of successful office space planning, it’s crucial to implement monitoring and iteration. This step is vital because office space configurations are not permanent; they need adjustment to align with evolving office culture and requirements. To effectively gauge the impact of your office space planning, regularly collect feedback from employees on how workplace design changes influence their work experience. Cross-reference this feedback with key performance indicators (KPIs).
For instance, if your office planning aimed to increase in-office work by 50%, but after six months, you observe only a 10% increase, it’s time to investigate. Engage with employees to identify barriers hindering in-office work and determine necessary adjustments. This ongoing assessment and improvement process prevents the workforce from feeling stagnant.
It’s important to note that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to office space planning. Utilise office planning guidelines and leverage office management tools and software to facilitate this iterative process. This ensures that your office space remains dynamic, accommodating the changing needs and preferences of your workforce over time.
Some of the major factors that you should consider when planning office space are office culture, employee requirements, space management tools available, ample light and ventilation, new trends such as biophilic office spaces, and mental & physical health enhancement of employees through proper office planning.
Check out the following points before setting up your office space:
- Get clear on your priorities
- Work out your budget
- Survey employee preferences
- Consider your office desk space requirements
- Take help of a software to document & monitor your space planning
You can plan your office space by following the following steps:
- Measure and analyse the current workspaces
- Use the right space planning tools
Brainstorm with your employees on space planning process
- Consider your workspace culture and values
Focus on designing healthy and safe environment
- Measure, monitor and iterate the space planning
A proper planning, assessment of current office space usage, employee support and input and an understanding of the requirement for new office space are very important factors to consider when planning a new office space.
To ensure that the newer expansion integrates with existing office culture and to create an ambiance and atmosphere that resonates positively with the employees who will be assigned to the new office space.