This article discusses the pros and cons of 3 office floor plans and how they might impact employees.
The environment we work in greatly affects us whether we realize it or not, which is why it’s so important to carefully consider a layout that will work best for your business. Depending on the type of work, you are going to have to consider what your employees’ daily tasks will be, so you can maximize their space while keeping aspects of the building in mind such as lighting, ventilation, etc. The more effectively you use your space, the more efficient your employees will be, helping them reach their highest potential. Not only does this bode well for productivity, but it also improves employee morale by helping them get comfortable in the space where they will spend most of their time.
1. Open Plan Concept
A layout that has been more popular in recent years is the open plan concept, where there are no barriers to section off coworkers from one another. Employees work closely together, seated at either a quad desk or in rows right beside each other. Typically, their projects are computer based where most of their communication with clients and team members is done over email or messenger apps. While you might still opt for a phone system, if an employee’s job relies heavily on making and receiving calls, it might be distracting to some because of all the noise that’s able to travel freely. Even conversations between coworkers may be distracting because there is little to no privacy. On the flip side, the absence of barriers encourages staff to talk to each other and have open communication throughout the office.
In direct opposition of an open floor concept, are cubicles which use partitioning walls to the section off the workspace into “cubes.” This set up is more optimal to having phone conversations because there is a bit more privacy and barriers to reduce the sound of ringing. Along with added privacy, there are more opportunities for employees to personalize their workstation, making it a second home with pictures or knickknacks for their desk. However, the closed in space might be a hindrance to some because of the claustrophobic nature of a cubicle. It also can be quite isolating, hindering communications amongst staff if they keep to themselves all day.
Although it might not be possible for all businesses, if you have the space to incorporate an open plan concept with semiprivate or private offices you can get the best of both worlds. As the work week progresses, the needs of your employees may fluctuate depending on the challenges they face along the way. One day it might be motivating to be surrounded by others simultaneously working on projects, while the next it may be more beneficial to retreat to an office where employees can focus solely on the task at hand. With portable technology such as laptops and tablets, this opens the floor to anybody who might need a change of scenery, as well as gives options to new hires who will be in the process of discovering what works best for them.
Creating an efficient floor plan is not just for safety reasons in case there is a fire, it is to help create a good workflow that allows employees to flourish. Everyone’s needs are different. An open plan concept might be motivating for some, for others the lack of privacy and higher noise levels might be bothersome. The same goes for cubicle layouts. On one hand there is more privacy to focus in on projects, but the claustrophobic nature of a cubicle can be isolating, hindering both productivity and communication. If your space allows it, incorporating aspects of both layouts to produce a combination of formal and informal spaces gives employees the choice on how they want to approach their tasks, including new hires who are just starting to get comfortable in their new space. Surroundings are important, so make sure to floor plan with careful consideration.
Join us for the next instalment in our series on Creating Efficient Floor Plans: Retail Spaces.