Design floor plans for an office space to assist staff in being productive and allowing for logical work flow: encourage collaboration using open spaces with few walls; create private areas for staff to think and meet confidentially with clients; place staff or departments in close proximity to create a logical flow of information. Set up floor plans to accommodate how the company can grow or change to minimize future disruptions.
List the most critical needs of the company, such as greeting clients, producing work, or selling on the phone. Account for personalities and the need for quiet space. Determine where administrative files, client files, and resources such as books, journals and magazines are best placed.
Draw a shape to best resemble the physical dimensions of the available office space. Create a space in one margin to note possible expenses and then enter those on a separate budget. Diagram the front entrance, key work stations, and meeting area. Sketch a walkway between desks and other furniture. Provide a small area for breaks even if the only equipment is a compact refrigerator. Draw plants using small circles.
Draw phone lines, computer cords and other wired or wireless networking needs using dotted lines. Place Xs on the paper to note phone outlets and the main network housing. Plan for neatness since "the physical state of the workplace is a powerful nonverbal statement of your company’s standards," according to author Mark Eppler in the book "Management Mess Ups."
List which staff or departments are most likely to work in close collaboration. Place support staff in a location that is central to people needing assistance.
Use numbers to label on paper each department, a separate conference area, and a common area. Locate the storage area. Use solid but light lines to denote walls while allowing small spaces for doorways.
Mark areas for outlets, networking equipment and shared printers. Ensure flexibility to accommodate additional connections as needed.
Complete a space study which, according to an interior design document from Kansas University titled “Office Space Standards Overview,” calls for the following: “An illustration of all furniture requirements; an approximate arrangement of all furniture used in the space; an approximate space size as defined by an area boundary; furniture clearances and secondary internal circulation for use of the space.”
Assign what types of furniture will go to each department. Give employees flexibility in designing their smaller areas.
Keep windows visible for maximum light. Designate spaces for interoffice packages and mail.
Plan to keep future changes to a minimum. Arrange departments and staff according to their need for collaboration
Do not move desks or office space for the sake of showing favoritism. Creating disruptions in office arrangements can lower morale.
- “Management Mess-Ups”; Mark Eppler; 1997
- house plan image by Jon Le-Bon from Fotolia.com