Office Design & Layout Tips. Planning, Ideas & Advice for your Office Fit Out

The style and design of your office can have a considerable impact on the productivity and efficiency of your company. 

It's not just choosing a desk and chair or colour for the walls. 

In this article we’re going to look at some of the ways in which the layout and style of your office can influence and enhance you and your work day

When planning the layout of your office, there are a number of factors that you should consider, and we're going to explore a few of them with you.

Given that the average person will spend a phenomenal 30% of their life at work, we want to get this right!

Imagine working here...

Cluttered Messy Office

Or here...

Dated Office

I don't know about you but I have a feeling my concentration would flourish a little more in a place like this...

Stunning Office Layout

Establish objectives for yourself and your office space

Before we get started, we first need to consider what we want to achieve with our office layout and style, and the resources we have available to do this.

What do you need this workspace to do? And will it do the required task well enough to cover costs.

What is the minimum and maximum amount of space you will be happy with? A larger office will look very empty if you do not have the furniture to fill it.

Are you looking to increase employee satisfaction?

Make a full list of what you are wanting to achieve and check it against possible funds, time and resources. While you may have big goals, you might be able to achieve them on a smaller budget by getting creative and working within your means.

Remember to plan ahead. You don't want to refit an entire office that you may not be able to fit in to six months down the line. Be sure to plan for company growth and expansion when selecting your office space.

Think about how you want to interact with your colleagues and staff

The layout of your office will obviously dictate the level of interaction and engagement in your office. The way in which employees need to interact will vary depending on roles and the size of your company.

If you're hands on with your management style, you may wish to look at ways to better communicate and interact with your employees. You may want to consider an open plan layout for the room that lends itself to a more integrated work area. Think about the locations of group based activity tools such as management and idea boards. These should become more of a focal point for the room, encouraging interaction and engagement.

If you're managerial style allows you to work alongside your staff, think about using the same desk and chair when furnishing your office. This will make you stand out less amongst your staff and allow a friendlier and approachable view of you as a manager.

More communication within the office and indeed, better co-working will have benefits that can be viewed all the way up the corporate ladder of the company.

Give thought on how many people will be in the office at one time

Will you need more desks and bigger walkways? No one likes the feeling of being in a cluttered or cramped work space.

You need to supply enough space including walkways so people can move freely, and consider safety issues such as access and exit points in the event of a fire or emergency.

You will also need to know exactly how many desks and chairs are needed within the office, allowing space for “hot-desking” stations and work experience if you take part in it.

Remember, adding more desks after the initial count will start to make your office feel cramped and busy compared to what you would normally want. Try and keep things light and airy without feeling empty. Plenty of natural light and space is always a positive.

Open Office Layout

Current office likes and dislikes

Don't go starting from scratch. If you are currently in an office space and are refurbishing or finding a new office, then use this as a starting point. Start making lists!

Make sure you ask your colleagues and employees what they like and dislike about the office as it is currently.

Talk about the style and office furniture that you currently have and how it works for you and for them.

Talk about things like the colour of the furniture and walls. Find out what they like and dislike about their office desk, and if they feel there is adequate lighting for their workspace.

This not only demonstrate that you value your teams input but will allow greater control over their own environment and aesthetics.

Some questions to ask:

“Do you feel happy and safe with your current office furniture?”

“Do you feel any adverse effects from using the office or its furniture?”

“What colour theme do you prefer the office to have?”

“If you could change things around the office, what would you change?”

Whether you take your employees ideas and make them reality is up to you, but it's important you get an overview of what the populous wants and needs in their space.

Furniture choice and layout

From these likes and dislikes we will have a clear idea of what we need and what we are looking to achieve. With this in mind we can now look to select the right type of furniture for the office layout. Do we need individual desks or are we looking to provide a bench based system? Will we congregate desks, providing a community style office layout or will it be beneficial to segregate in a more departmental style?

When considering the layout, style is important too. While more tradition desks and chairs bring a sense of professionalism and structure, modern office furniture lends itself to a more informal working environment. Certain styles, for example the Claremont range of Office Furniture can promote collaboration, creativity and efficiency bringing a very modern, minimal feel to your work place.

The physiology of your office

Did you know that the colour of a wall will actually change how a person perceives the room temperature? It’s true! The colder colours like blue, green and light purples will make people feel colder, while warmer colours like orange's, reds and yellow can lead people to think the room temperature is warmer.

Changing the room temperature by what the eye perceives is nothing new. In fact, colours have always had an amazing psychological effect on us, with each colour being associated with different emotions and states. 

And this is just one way your office can psychologically effect you.

Colour Wheel

How much branding and corporate image do you wish to display?

Displaying your corporate motto and ethics can go a long way to supporting your employees and giving them a sense of working together with the company rather than for the company.

A few simple additions can really bring the whole office branding together, from simple pens to large wall murals specifically made for your office.

Make sure the colour theme within your logo matches by adding small hints of colour within your office that matches your theme/logo. A sense of uniformity can be a positive thing in office environments if implemented subtly rather than oppressively. 

Be sure to strike a balance of belonging whilst maintaining individuality.

Culture within the workplace

Make sure you remain sensitive to cultural needs, just as much as any other needs. This can be reflected within your interior design and furniture.

Make sure your theme is tasteful, and not directed or alienating towards any one type of person. Create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone who may venture into your office as a client, visitor or employee. Again, balance is important here. We want to maintain a neutral perspective, whilst maintaining and accommodating diversity.

It is always helpful to have an open door policy for all employees especially when it comes to points of culture as these can often be a hot topic of discussion and are best handled quickly, efficiently and with due care and sensitivity.

Taking this into the literal landscape, it's even preferred not to have a door on your office at all. Remove boundaries between you and your staff entirely. It’s worth considering and perhaps a trial run. You will get a lot more contact and communication between you and your employees.

Light ‘em up!

Lighting is one of the most commonly overlooked aspect of any office space, and can be one of the most important. Lighting can affect you physically and mentally and has a significant impact on productivity and efficiency.

Chances are, in an office, you will be using florescent lights, with a good power output and colour rendering, so we’re off to a good start already!

Where do you want your lighting to be? General lighting tends to try and bathe the entire room in light. Localised lighting can then be used to highlight, focus and illuminate specific areas such as desks and workplaces.

So which is best general or localised?

Why not both? You can light the room and focus on specific areas at the same time. Best of both worlds.

You can implement general lighting to fill the room, and give employees their own light fitting like a table lamp. This can allow for more targeted light exactly where they want it, preventing eye discomfort and fatigue.

Lighting for colour - Indirect or direct light?

table-lighting.jpgColour can be effected by what type of light is cast on to it. This can cause problems for companies that work within the design sector or where presentations of work and reporting is relevant. Presentations with inadequate or tinted lighting can be a strain. Showing clients your designs looking lighter or darker than intended can lead to a disappointing final delivery.

If possible, make sure to use white light above areas of design to stop this from occurring.

You will know when you have the correct mix of lights when…

- Your office rooms have no excessive shadows or dark areas causing strain to your eyes.

- There is good level of contrast between foreground lighting and background lighting.

- There is no glare or reflections upon screens and glass that could be distracting or hard to look into.

Lighting can be tricky to get right, and you may need to rethink certain office desk locations to get it just right for all your employees. Don’t forget, the lighting direction will change throughout the day with natural light, so make considerations for this when planning.

Break out of your office

When planning how your office should look and feel it might be worthwhile to think about making a breakout room. This room serves as extra workspace for staff, a meeting area, or space to just relax for a short while.

The concept became very popular with larger corporations and has since trickled down to even the smallest of companies, offering some space away from your office desk.

The benefits of this room are also psychological. Giving your staff a workspace away from their desk can help with stress, reduce conflict in the work place and help to break up the day by not staying in one place all the time. You can check out some great breakout seating here.

Start making those lists

As we said, this process is all about planning, so be sure to start making lists or likes and dislikes, needs and requirements, preferences, pros and cons. Get it all down on paper and get discussions going with your team.

These were just a few of the things you need to think about when it comes to planning out your office space. We hope you have found this useful, however, if you would like some help or advice with your office planning or furniture selection, be sure to give us a call on 01268 541 888 or drop us a message below. We have a dedicated team of professionals that assist with office fit outs and refurbishments and here at Easy Office, we also provide an exceptional range of office furniture from the UK's leading manufacturers.

Make an enquiry about an office fit out


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