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April 20, 2022

Office Space Planning 101

Office space planning is all about providing employees with an appealing and comfortable environment.

Having a well-planned office space is crucial to catering to all your employees’ needs in an office environment. Since your employees will be spending a large majority of their time in the office, it is important it has aesthetic appeal, is comfortable, and promotes productivity. 

Most importantly, you want your office to be a place where employees feel at ease and it doesn’t increase their stress to be there. Physical issues such as backaches or carpal tunnel can be serious problems, especially in high-productivity offices where people work for long periods of time. 

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What is office space planning?

Office space planning is all about having a great-looking office that's appealing and comfortable to employees. When planning, you'll want to make sure that your company is within budget while also considering the individual requirements of employees at the company. If it’s affordable, you may want to consider hiring an interior designer to give you top-tier professional service for your office space rearrangement. 

When your company does their office space planning, they will be organizing the office space layout, the furniture, and creating areas where people can collaborate on projects together.

The amount of space in the office is also crucial to consider, as it will determine how the office will be set up. 

How do you plan an office space?

Before planning the office space, you’ll want to figure out what needs there are in the office or what it was missing from before. After you’ve found the needs, analyze your current space use, and draw out the floor plan for the office. Having these two pieces of information will make the process of moving things around a lot easier. Office space planning can be quite simple if you define these four planning steps:

  • Evaluating the office space you currently use
  • Defining the needs of the office space and employees
  • Planning the office space
  • Understanding the legal requirements for space in an office

Evaluating the space you currently use

When planning to plan office space, you must first evaluate what you’re currently using. Consider some questions when doing your evaluation: 

  • Why should this space be changed? 
  • What are the problems with it? 
  • How can we make the space more comfortable and efficient for employees? 

Listening to employees or people who regularly attend the office and asking them what works and what doesn’t may be the best way to figure out how the space can be improved.

Defining the needs of the office space and employees

Since office space planning is all about meeting the needs of employees--so they can be productive and efficient--it’s important to take them into consideration. Research from Harvard Business Review shows that employees gain more satisfaction from work and perform better if they have more control over their workspace. 

Employees want to have an optimal physical environment for their comfort and a workspace design that increases their performance and happiness. If visitors come by, it also creates a good first impression to them if they see your employees being highly productive and happy.

Planning an office space

Once you’ve finally narrowed down the needs of those who occupy the office as well as a floor plan for the office, it’s time to start planning where you want to rearrange or put new furniture.

A great way to make this process more efficient is using a tool like Saltmine which is a workplace optimization platform that helps strategize and define your future office. Saltmine allows you to bring optimization backed by data to make your office space as efficient as possible. 

Understanding the legal requirements for space in an office

Depending on the country where your office is located, there may be some legal requirements you should be aware of. In the U.S., there’s no specific law that tells employers they need to give employees a certain amount of space. In Europe, there is a law that states employees should have at least 40 square feet of office space. 

The only laws applicable to the U.S. for office space are for handicapped individuals who must be able to access all needs they have. According to the American Disability Act, hallways must be 44 inches wide or larger for wheelchair access. This also includes cubicle and office entrances.

Fire code and occupancy laws are also important to consider. These laws are based on square footage and the number of exits available in the office space. You should communicate with a local fire marshal to have a better idea of how many people may be in the office space.  

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What are the objectives of office space planning? 

If you want to make your office space as efficient and productive as possible, you should consider some important objectives. Here are some objectives you should aim to achieve in your office space:

  • Full utilization of office space
  • Positive first impressions to visitors and clients
  • Stimulate creativity and productivity
  • Environmentally-friendly office space

Full utilization of office space 

To fully utilize all the office space you have, consider the needs of employees first, then arrange human and physical resources in places where it is agreed to be most efficient. Doing this will also reduce administrative and office operational costs.

Positive first impressions to visitors and clients 

When a client, customer, or visitor walks into the office, the first thing they are likely to do is read the room and get an idea of what your company is about based on the office “vibe.” A good first impression from someone of importance stepping into your office for the first time is crucial to having a good business image. The office space and how much attention to aesthetically pleasing details there are will be a reflection of a company’s brand.

Adding in more colors, interesting shapes, and plants to office space stimulates visual senses. This is a great way to spice up a bland office. 

Stimulate creativity and productivity 

Along with creating a great first impression of the office, clients and customers like to see employees engaged, motivated, and productive. If your office can stimulate creativity and productivity, this should happen naturally and add a “wow” factor to people who walk in. 

Environmentally-friendly office space 

Your office space should be as environmentally friendly as possible and have recycle bins in close proximity to people. It’s also a good idea to add signage next to the recycle bins so people know what to recycle and what not to. 

Conclusion 

Planning and redesigning office space can be quite invigorating for employers and employees alike. Especially one that is designed with employee behavior in mind, so they are happier and more productive. 

To learn more about how to plan and design offices that are built around employee behavior, click the button below:

Building offices around employee behavior

 

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