Office Layout Designs for Any Space
With the work-from-home revolution well underway, you may be looking for inspiration to update your space. From function to design aesthetic, we have rounded up the best ideas to adapt your office space to the new format of remote and hybrid working.
What is the Best Way to Layout an Office?
Many workplaces are moving towards a focus on building collaborative working environments that support team communication. Whether those teams exist in virtual or physical spaces still depends on the company. However, nearly all companies still maintain a corporate office or offer hybrid working arrangements for their remote employees.
The best way to layout an office depends on how you want your employees to work — autonomously or collaboratively. Let’s take a look at the common layout arrangements.
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Five Basic Office Layouts
There are five types of basic office layouts that offer varying degrees of cohesiveness and interaction. The type of business that you run and how you run it will determine the best arrangements to suit your needs.
Traditional Office Layout
A traditional office layout features a series of enclosed or built-in offices centered around an open reception area. These offices provide professional privacy for employees to conduct meetings and work autonomously. When collaboration does occur, employees often meet in neutral spaces like meeting rooms.
Cubicle Office Layout
A cubicle office layout features an open space divided into individual areas with temporary partitions, or cubicles. Cubicle walls vary between four and six feet high and often only enclose three sides. Some arrangements place small groups of employees in a larger cubicle, and others provide individual booths for all employees. Cubicle layouts are an excellent way to tip-toe into the territory of collaborative workspaces while still providing space for autonomous working.
Low-Partition Office Layout
A low-partition layout is a specific style of the cubicle that has lower walls — often four feet high. Low-partitions encourage more collaboration by allowing team members to see and converse with other team members. Cubicle floor plans are often paired with a few enclosed meeting rooms or offices for executive management, with the bulk of the team working from cubicles.
Team-based Office Layout
If your work environment is very team-based, it might make the most sense to place groups of employees together in the same spaces. Larger cubicles that can include grouped workstations make an ideal arrangement for teams because it offers separation from the rest of the company while still allowing the team to work collaboratively.
Open Floor Plan Office
The ultimate version of a collaborative workplace doesn’t provide any sort of assigned seating. Based on similar concepts as the flexible classroom in academic settings, some companies feel that their employees are more productive when they offer flexible spaces with different types of seating. Open floor plans can include traditional desks and comfortable lounge chairs. These offices might also have unassigned private offices for occasional use by team members when needed.
Home Office Layout
Hybrid and remote employees may be more interested in redesigning their at-home workspaces. While space is often more limited in the home office, the needs are also substantially less. Most home office layouts include three things: a desk, file storage, and a comfortable seating alternative like a sofa.
If you spend a significant amount of time working from home, the location of your workspace is essential. It can be tempting to cram a desk into a spare closet or set up shop in the unused basement space — but unless you put a lot of effort into the aesthetics, it can be depressing to spend so much time in uninspiring spaces. Instead, focus on natural finding space that provides natural light and ample space to work with.
If an abundance of natural light isn’t in the cards for your home office, try recreating it with warm light fixtures. You will automatically have a notch up on the fluorescent glow of traditional office settings. And the farther north you live, the more you should consider a sunlight lamp to help keep the seasonal depression at bay.
Pros and Cons of Different Office Layouts
There is no one working arrangement that is right for every employee or every organization. It might be that the right solution depends on the level and job function of each employee. Some positions can be performed entirely remotely, and many of those employees are more productive when they do so. However, that is not the case for everyone. Let’s compare.
Traditional Offices vs. Cubicle Offices vs. Collaborative Spaces
Traditional offices afford the most privacy for working with sensitive information. If your employees take frequent calls or client meetings, this setup may even be the only viable option. But traditional office layouts can really put a damper on collaboration. If you are looking to embrace teamwork, this layout won’t be your best bet.
Cubicle offices seem to offer the best of both worlds — easy access for collaboration and personal space for autonomous tasks. Most workplaces fall into this category of somewhere in between. And, cubicle layouts typically include a mix of some enclosed offices and conference rooms for use as needed. But, as a drawback, the noise level in a cubicle workspace is more challenging to manage and can hurt productivity.
Collaborative spaces or free working spaces are a new and emerging trend adopted by some of the most progressive workplaces. The idea is centered around increasing comfort to increase productivity. These spaces can be great creative motivators, but they can also lead to a lot of slacking off by making employees feel ‘too comfortable.’
Commercial Offices vs. Home Offices
Most companies will likely settle into some sort of hybrid working arrangements with the majority of their workforce after the pandemic. Up to 60% of employees feel more productive working from home, and employers benefit from decreased overhead when they do. The key benefit (and drawback, depending on who you ask) is the social aspect. Some people need to feel an in-person human connection, and others need much less of that connection.
The best office layout design depends on how your team will use it. Traditional office layouts provide privacy and are perfect for autonomous jobs. Cubicles are good middle ground. And flexible, collaborative spaces are great options for creative teams.
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