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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The key to a well-designed office

Things to think about when designing the layout of an office

Planning the layout of your offices can be an extremely daunting task; after all, you need to come up with a solution which will best maximise your businesses productivity as well as being a comfortable working environment for your staff.

Essentially, the key to a well designed office is that there is no 100% correct answer or a 'one size fits all' solution.  Every business is different and so is every building.  The most important element of a well designed office is that it does what it's supposed to do for your business.  Of course, there are basic parameters that must be met in terms of health and safety, and legal observance, but ultimately, an office should reflect company values, and look after its customers and staff.

There are so many things to think about, but to make it easier for you, we have compiled a brief overview of the different factors you should consider within your designs:-


Think carefully about the space you have available.  Are there any specific areas you need to accommodate, such as boardrooms or a canteen?  Make the most of what is immediately available to you- such as the natural light.

How many staff do you need to fit in to your offices?  Do your staff work individually or do they work better in groups?  You should decide whether you need to separate specific groups of staff; perhaps the managers will have their own offices away from the rest of the staff, or you might need to accommodate teams who deal with confidential information more privately.

Will there be high traffic areas with lots of staff coming and going?  Have you allowed enough corridor space for these areas?  Is there anything that you could do to reduce noise within these areas?


You should allow for a reasonable amount of storage space, depending on the needs of your business.  If your company deals with a lots of paperwork, you might want to consider using a mobile storage option, which will maximise the space available for storage, whilst also using a very limited amount of room.

How much storage room does each member of staff require?  There are many different storage options available including pedestals, open radial storage units, side filers and  cupboards.


You should also think about the flexibility of your office's design; in today's economic climate, most companies like to future-proof their workspace plans so that they can expand effectively.  If your company grows in future, you should consider the furniture's continuity when choosing office furniture- if you need more furniture in five years, will your furniture range still exist, and will the finish match?


What kind of atmosphere would you like to maintain within your office?  More recently, we have seen many companies make a conscious effort to keep office layouts informal, promoting a more social and communicative approach to work with break out areas.  It is thought that furniture which encourages communication in the desired direction enhances the effectiveness of the company.

A key example of this approach can be found within Google's offices.  Opposite, you will see an example of how the company have balanced formal working areas with more comfortable, informal working areas, so that workers can choose how they would wish to work most effectively.  Google also incorporate 'think pods' within their offices, which encourage meetings to be held privately, but in a more relaxed atmosphere, without the hospitality costs.


Recent technological advances have been one of the key factors in driving office furniture design forward.  Furniture is becoming fully integrated with technology whilst mobile working becomes more common.  At one point, corner workstations were used regularly because it accommodated the huge computer monitors without compromising the space that you lost.  Nowadays, flat screen monitors are the norm and they can be fixed to desks/screens through the use of monitor arms- a really useful space saver and they are usually adjustable too.

If you have any queries, or would like more advice about your office, we would be happy to help you.  We do offer a free space planning service and CAD plans as well.  Contact us on: 08450 69 79 89 or email us at: