Designing the layout of an office is an important part of setting up a functional business. It can be difficult to balance employees’ need for privacy with the desire to create an atmosphere of open communication. Recently, the trend in office furniture and design has been shifting from traditional layouts to accommodating concerns about making offices more teamwork friendly. Here are a few ideas to utilize in your small business space to create a productive and welcoming environment, as suggested in the article “Office Workplace & Workspace Designs That Work”:
The traditional image that comes to mind when imagining a large office space is a maze of cubicles—but this has become associated with an overly divided and sanitized space that blocks communication between employees and stifles corporate culture and personality. Designers have been trying to change this approach by creating open office spaces that allow employees to see each other, experience natural light, and communicate more easily. An option with this layout is also to add a small meeting table to the middle of a department space for meetings, as well as adding more private spaces for confidential gatherings.
Another way to foster natural communication and gatherings in an office is to create a central hub at which these interactions can take place. This area can contain shared equipment such as fax machines, copiers, and scanners, and a break area with coffee, snack machines, and water coolers. If you want to make it more comfortable, consider adding tables and chairs to encourage informal meetings, birthday celebrations, or just casual conversations. This can also be the location of a company bulletin board, employee award postings, and any other important messages. By centralizing shared resources, you can encourage interactions between employees who might not otherwise talk.
Office design has to be a strategic process that starts when a business first moves into a space and continues throughout the duration of a tenancy. Too often it can be dictated by random expansion as new employees are brought on board. The most functional office layouts are created by carefully considering employee interactions and productivity at every step of office changes with the ultimate goal of encouraging collaboration and maximum efficiency.