There are various aspects that impact the design of the workspace. Work environment, the type of work and even the way in which work is undertaken has changed. Similarly space availability, interaction between different departments and employees, the type of work as well as the requirement for collaboration are all factors to be considered while planning a new office. However, even after careful planning, often office facilitators feel that some aspects could have been better arranged if only the questions asked were different.
Here are some points to keep in mind while planning a new office:
What is your office environment like? Does the work entail a lot of collaboration and interaction between employees or departments? Does work involve both collaborative and focused work ? If that be the case, while planning, you should factor in both open collaborative spaces as well as private spaces for individual work. For example, banks follow an open plan with security enabled cubicles for personnel who handle cash. Other employees who interact with clients sit in open office spaces. While this conveys transparency as well as approachability, it does not provide any space for privacy or individual work or private conversations.
You should also consider how much space is required per employee, what percentage of the employees work out of other locations and how to include remote employees in the office space planning. For example, if you have a large percentage of remote employees, plug and play workstations that can be used on a first come first serve basis can be a better fit instead of traditionally assigned work desks. The type of work also plays a major role in the space requirement calculation. Earlier, office designers used to plan for 250 sq ft of area per employee. This space has been reduced to roughly about 150 sq ft per person in recent times. This is again dependent on the kind of environment envisioned for the office space.
Some factors such as flexible, comfortable, ergonomic and positive spaces will continue to be popular, but addressing unique requirements is equally essential. Unique requirements such as does the physical space reflect a firm’s core values, what kind of behaviour do you want to encourage in your employees, do you want a green space or a utilitarian space, do you have adequate employee interaction/ recreation spaces are some questions that need to be thought through.
No one size fits all. This is true in case of workplaces too. While getting a new office, take some time and detail your requirement. Planning an office space will avoid space wastage, mid- project delays and other such issues; and will end up with you getting an office that meets your unique requirements.