How to Design Efficient Offices
Offices are a part of most businesses today but not all business owners appreciate the importance of a good office design. A good office is not just a place where workers can complete their assigned tasks but are also places which promote co-operation, inspiration and creativity. Although in the 1950s it was thought that the concept of open offices would promote worker interaction, after decades of use, this has been proven to be a myth unless other factors are included in the office design. Obviously large corporations may have almost unlimited funds and space to ensure their offices meet all productive criteria however, it is also possible for smaller businesses to make the space they have available more productive even with their more limited finances.
OFFICE DESIGN PRINCIPLES
Not all offices produce the same work or even have equivalent qualified or numbers of staff and so there is not just one-fits-all design for offices but there are basic design principles which can be applied to most. Some of those main principles are:
- Light – Light is of course essential for staff to carry out their assigned duties however, the more natural light from windows or skylights the better. This does not only save on light bills but also provides a more relaxed and natural work environment
- Space – Space is often limited and so careful layout is important in order to keep the office productive. Although open space offices may offer more room, it has been found that segmenting the space by types of task can prove beneficial.
- Worker Collaboration – It has been proven that when workers interact in a work environment the results can be productive and so a meeting room, in the form of a break room or coffee room, can more than make up for the space it takes up.
- Ergonomic – The use of ergonomic furniture is well known to be an asset as staff are not just more comfortable whilst they work, making them more productive, but they also take less sick days due to aches and pains.
- Biophilic – It is generally accepted today that the more Biophilic an office environment is, the more productive it is. Biophilic means to have connections with the natural environment, which not only means having as many windows and skylights as possible, but also including plants and even water in their designs.
OFFICE DESIGN TO MAXIMISE PRODUCTIVITY
Some of the design principles for offices may directly benefit the health of the work force affording them less sick days and this of course alone can increase productivity. Also, offering them a pleasant work environment can uplift their mood which can also result in an increase in productivity. Bosses do not have a monopoly on good ideas and so including a meeting place, where not only different segments of the staff can meet but also different pay grades, can result in combined creative, innovative and otherwise un-thought of improvements in the business’s structure or policies.
OFFICE DESIGN TO MAXIMISE PRODUCTIVITY
Multi-functional breakout spaces are a great way of providing areas for employees to get away from their desks – be it for a coffee or lunch break, quiet thinking time, brainstorming or informal meetings. This type of meeting area when designed well, has been proven to promote creativity, team interaction, and again, is a great way of saving space.
EXAMPLES OF WELL DESIGNED OFFICES
For examples of well-designed offices, there are probably none better than those of San Francisco based juggernauts Google & Apple. Google’s Dublin offices include an authentic jungle and a putting green, their California offices include beach volleyball and a climbing wall, and their New York offices have departments that are separated by revolving libraries.
Of course most businesses wouldn’t want or need anything this extravagant. Apple & Google both built purpose-made ‘campuses’ specifically for regional headquarters. We don’t all have that luxury!
But even the smaller businesses should consider aspects which will serve to re-invigorate and relax their staff so as to help them maintain their optimum efficiency. If those aspects also provide an opportunity for co-workers to co-operate and even introduce a certain amount of competitiveness, then that too may benefit both the workers and the business.