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Where To Begin When Designing Office Space

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We’ve all worked in many different kinds of offices. Some really worked well and others were complete duds. So what makes a good office design?

Has your office been feeling the squeeze lately? Maybe you hired on more people or got new equipment. Your work environment is important to your success. The Ladders came up with a really great plan you should follow if you’re looking to improve your office and, in turn, how everyone functions in it. They list a few major areas to focus on and I picked a few that really stuck out to me if I were on a designing journey. Check them out below!

designing productivity

© Flickr user Andrew Turner

Start with a design philosophy

This is a pretty basic first step that anyone should take when designing a space. The piece from The Ladders used a method by Herman Miller’s called “Living Office”:

The Living Office begins with the human element. Miller identified six fundamental needs that all people share — security, autonomy, belonging, achievement, status and purpose. Living Office is designed to fulfill these needs.

This will lead you to how you decide to arrange your furnishings to create an environment that fulfills the “Living Office” ideal.

Conduct research

If you’re taking on a redesign of your company’s office, where is the best place to start gathering information? The employees! Who else would know more about the space?

Open by asking, “What is one thing you like about office? This could be the location, layout or even the lighting. Anything goes!”

You could even put up a suggestion box or designate a special email address people can send their ideas to. Get everyone involved!

Develop multiple plans

This may seem counterproductive to do but it’s extremely important. I mean who really has the time to create several different layouts and design choices? You definitely need to make the time.

Either you or your designer should come up with at least two plans: Plan A and Plan B. The more dramatic and different, the better, as you will want to be able to show the extremes and possibilities.

Showing different extremes will give you a final plan that includes the best of all the other plans!

Setting a timeline

To me, this is one of the most important parts of a renovation. If you’re taking apart an office and displacing people, that will certainly interrupt productivity.

A helpful framework we used, and that you and your team can too, breaks down the work to be completed in the next 0-30 days, 30-90, 90-180 or 180-365.

Try to keep in touch with everyone the redesign is affecting. Let them know your progress and if there are any delays as soon as possible so they don’t feel forgotten or ignored.

Taking on a big renovation can be really challenging. We here at AccelaWork know that how an office works is near the very core of productivity. We’ve already talked about how open plan offices can affect how productive you are.

So, what are the opposing arguments? Below is a summary of what the article states for each side of the case.

Pro-Open Floor Plan

  • Creates collaboration
  • Allows for quick exchange of ideas without the need for email or instant messenger
  • Creates spontaneous conversations with productive outcomes

Anti-Open Floor Plan

  • Hinders privacy
  • Creates unwanted distractions
  • Impedes concentration

Make sure that you have gotten everyone’s opinions and have created the best, finalized plan before digging in. With most designs, you will definitely hit snags along the way that may interfere with your plan. Be ready to think on your feet and change various components if the need arises!

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Alyssa Shea

Alyssa Shea

Alyssa Shea transplanted from Illinois to South Carolina. She loves to write, read, and spend time with her dog and her family. Alyssa is very active on social media. She has been part of the AccelaWork team since 2013.
Alyssa Shea

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