When it’s time for an office remodel or perhaps an office move, the excitement over picking cool chairs and break room amenities can overshadow some of the more practical considerations involved. Business owners want to make sure they are maximizing their project budgets while also improving workers’ opportunities to increase productivity.
Here are five major factors that should be taken into account when planning a new office interior to avoid problems down the road.
The trend for years has been wide, open spaces that are believed to harbor increased collaboration between team members. However, what ends up happening is that everyone can hear everyone else’s conversations, which usually leads to a lot of people wearing headphones on the job. How’s that for squelching collaboration? Good office space design planning involves the careful placement of sound-absorbing materials and design elements. There don’t have to be ceiling-high walls all over the place, but some sound barriers can be helpful when it comes to noise.
Speaking of walls, there are plenty of ways to include them without the office appears to be a warren of grey cubicles. Glass walls offer privacy and space allocation while still allowing light to flow through the space. When choosing desk chairs and glass cubicles, remember that the furniture has to function for the people who use it every day. Futuristic desks and minimalist chairs may look cool, but employees may dislike them and productivity could suffer. Remember, too, that furniture should be durable and available in the future when replacements are needed.
- Team Time
Space allocation is a major factor in good office interior design and cleanliness. Teams of employees who work together often should be placed nearby. If there is shared equipment, it should be accessible to everyone. If a group shares an office, there has to be room for them to move freely without feeling claustrophobic. If some members of the team are likely to need privacy to talk with clients, a small phone or meeting room should be accessible nearby.
Office design requires a long view. If the planners envisioned an IT department located on the opposite end of the building to the computer server room, a lot of travel time could be wasted. Or, if bathrooms won’t accommodate the number of staff members in the office, workers might end up in line for the toilet instead of helping customers. The whole office has to be laid out for maximum efficiency with an understanding of staff needs, team configurations, and logical locations.
Most business settings require multiple access points for electricity. Computers and desk lights can be plugged into the floor or wall, but other machines might need to have cables run from the ceiling or under the carpet. Standard outlet configurations are unlikely to be sufficient for today’s office electrical needs, so careful planning to alleviate problems has to be one of the first steps in interior office design. A tangle of extension cords is a tripping hazard as well as an electrocution risk, not to mention a likely source of delays when an electrical emergency happens during work hours.
From glass cubicles to noise containment to team adjacency issues, there are plenty of details that must factor into any office design.
These tips should help in avoiding some of the pitfalls of planning.