Well-designed office spaces are essential for productivity and employee satisfaction. Adequately planning to utilise your space is the first step. The average person will spend around 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime.
Planning to maximise your office will improve these hours and ensure the following:
- A positive, productive workplace culture.
- Increased collaboration between teams.
- Energy efficiency.
This guide will assist business owners in planning and rolling out a scalable office design strategy in 2023, as well as remote employees in elevating the design of their home offices.
(Shown in image above: Pod architecture by Campers&Dens delivers great ventilation, lighting, fire safety and acoustic performance.
There is a step-by-step method to the apparent madness of office planning. Follow our process to plan, create and maintain an effective office design in 2023.
1. Design The Floor Plan.
Begin by drawing up a floor plan to understand how you will work with the space you have.
A floor plan also allows you to:
- Determine how much space is available.
- Identify important locations for technology and equipment.
- Incorporate furniture into the office layout.
The size and shape of your space will determine furniture options.
You might not need as much furniture, and you don’t necessarily need to ‘fill’ the space if you have considerable room.
A large office building should have dedicated ‘quiet’ spaces while attending to complex tasks or projects. Be sure to allocate these to the floor plan and a ‘collaboration space’ for teams to meet.
2. Consider Space Per Person.
Ensure you’re aware of the space per person. Employees should feel that they can adequately move about.
You can use this office space calculator to clarify what you should provide. On average, you can aim for the following:
- Common Areas: 7.5-9.5 sq. metres per person.
- Conference/Boardrooms: 2.5-3.0 sq. metres per person.
- Open Workstations: 5.5-10 sq. metres per person.
- Quiet Spaces: 1-10 sq. metres for every ten workstations.
You should also plan for more space than you are legally required to do so. By planning, you allow for team growth or major rearranging when circumstances change.
3. Harness Flexible Working.
Companies that expect employees to be in the office Monday-Friday are becoming relics of the past.
Employees are encouraged by progressive companies to work in ways that best suit them – this changes the needs and requirements for your office space.
You can offer your team some of the below options:
- Hot Desking: Different people use the same desk at different times.
- Desk Neighbourhoods: Teams are assigned certain sections of the office.
- Open Office: A floor plan in which all employees work in the same shared space.
- Activity-Based Workspace: Allows employees to choose what work style suits them best.
- Dedicated Desks: You will allocate employees to a desk.
Consider the “flow” of your office space. You should walk through how the movement will take place and consider how teams collaborate to be near one another.
4. Notice Natural Light.
Natural light in the workspace is best, but not always possible. Consider placing main meeting rooms and boardrooms (less utilised) with strictly office lighting.
The benefits of natural light are widely known.
Most importantly, light profoundly impacts our circadian rhythm, hunger hormones and sleep. Natural light also increases productivity.
(Related: How To Create A Sustainable Workplace).
If sunlight is not an option for all, you should move things around or offer hot desking.
Add an adjustable-wavelength lamp to each workstation to supplement a lowlight work environment. Each employee can then customise their lighting.
5. Reconcile Equipment.
You may have standard equipment required (chairs, desks, and computers) but require additional items.
Make a list in the new/revamped space of what you can do to enhance performance.
For example, updating the following:
- Printers and copiers.
- Round table for meetings.
- Dining table for group lunches.
- Water fountain.
It comes down to analysing your business and understanding what employers uniquely need.
Working from home? Consider items that maximise your space and comfort – filing cabinets, ergonomic keyboards or a reading chair.
6. Create A Budget And Timeline.
Once you have planned which renovations, furniture, improvements and rearranging are to take place, create a timeline.
You should finalise significant renovations and upgrading equipment before employees begin working in the space.
- You will also need a budget to determine which renovations are prioritised in the first 1-3 months.
- For smaller companies, consider breaking this down into monthly expenses.
7. Research Compliance Laws.
Abiding by compliance or health and safety requirements is non-negotiable.
Understanding the standards or legislation that may affect your office design is specific to each state and territory.
In Australia, these can include but are not limited to:
- Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, including all amendments.
- Building Act 1975.
- Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
- Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (C’wlth).
- Disability Services Act 2006.
- Building Code of Australia The National Construction Code.
- State Government policies, directives and guidelines.
Research how these relate to your state – and undertake any changes needed immediately.
8. Focus On Quality And Comfort.
Purchasing high-quality, robust equipment is an investment for your business in the long run.
Discomfort can lead to distraction – it’s up to you to ensure all items support the unique bodies in your workplace. You need to cater for those with a disability specifically.
- Compare prices for popular pieces online.
- Choose an extended warranty for expensive items.
- Opt for free delivery and assembly to save time.
9. Improve Fixtures.
You may have many features already in the space, which will have varying impacts on your office planning process.
These can include:
- Entryways and fire exits.
- Fire evacuation systems.
- Raised access floors.
- Electrical outlets.
- Pillars, beams and structural components.
You can upgrade these fixtures to enhance the overall look and feel of the space.
10. Maximise Internet Speed.
A fast internet connection is a must for any digital business.
We recommend choosing the fastest plan that you or the company can afford, which will factor in room for growth.
By ensuring the upload and download speed is efficient, you will send files quickly, and meetings won’t end abruptly due to a bad connection.
- Speak with your internet provider and research their business plans.
- Purchase a high-quality router and wired connections.
11. Review Changes And Renovations.
As mentioned, consider renovations to improve the space. Start with these vital ideas.
We also suggest considering the following:
- Glass walls: Maximise darker spaces.
- Mirrors: Open up small rooms and appear more expansive.
- Plants: The benefits of greenery in the office have been shown to enhance well-being and productivity.
- Clutter: Remove unnecessary furniture for additional space.
- Flooring: Update the flooring to modernise the aesthetics.
- Heating and cooling: Ensure the space will feel comfortable, regardless of the season.
12. Incorporate Company Culture.
When renovating or carrying out a workplace design, consider the culture and vision of your business. A thriving workplace will promote your culture.
Furthermore, employees who come to a positive, creative and vibrant space show higher rates of job satisfaction.
Engage a professional designer to maximise the feel of the space. For example – if you’re a start-up with a young workforce, purchase bean bags and ping-pong tables for shared spaces.
13. Continually Adapt And Review Office Layout.
To ensure your employees maintain their comfort and productivity, ensure you constantly adapt and review how the space works. We recommend reconciling with this guide every quarter.
If you work alone, plan to improve your office regularly. Whether you invest in new technology, interior decor or a new spot for your desk, any change will make a difference towards revitalising you.
Bottom Line About Office Space Planning.
Successful office space planning requires you to consider finer details while understanding what works best for you and your unique employees.
Improve the space regularly, and you can support happier and more productive employees!