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Questions to Keep in Mind When Designing/Redesigning an Office

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Whether you are entering into a new space, your business needs are growing, or you simply feel like you need to freshen up, reorganizing your workspace can be an exciting endeavor. For some, it can also be a daunting one. The emphasis, on any redesign, should focus on “being lean and flexible”, according to Alan Feltoon, managing principal at a Washington D.C. based architecture firm. Before jumping to action, tearing down cubicle walls and pushing desks out the door, there are several questions HBi Office Solutions recommends you consider. 

What do you want to achieve?

Any change in design should support your business goals, goals which should be kept in mind when planning. If you are looking for more collaboration in the office, between departments, then an open layout with mobile workstations may be something to consider. If you are moving towards becoming an eco-friendly company, materials used in building and increased opportunities for recycling should be an early aspect of the design conversation. Is transparency a part of your business model? Consider using glass to create literal transparency even in set office spaces for management.  If your layout is currently functioning to support your company, you may consider smaller design elements like paint or a new employee kitchen rather than an entire redesign.

How is the current layout working?

The decision makers in this process should take time to observe employees at work to see what areas function and what areas need reorganization. This time of observation can focus on traffic/work flow, areas of larger distraction (both environmental and personnel wise), and other aspects that can be fixed with design. If you are designing an office from scratch, work days in your head, mentally walking through your space, making notes of what is crucial to have in place.

Another important note to make is how many of your employees are in the office at a given time. Many companies are encouraging certain employees to work remotely some, if not all, the time. The space designated for these employees can be adjusted accordingly. In fact, the space allotted for all employees is trending down, from 250 square feet in the past to 150 square feet. A flexible work space can meet the needs of employees who pop in and out of the office and collaborative spaces will assist in larger tasks for everyone.

Are you enhancing productivity?

Productivity can be enhanced in a number of ways. Paint colors, lighting, furnishings, overall appearance, ergonomics, and more factor into productivity as much as the worker and task. Employees need to feel comfortable and supported by their workspace in order to provide the best results for you. Certain chairs, work tables, and other furniture may look aesthetically pleasing or promote an environment of fun, but if nobody is using them for work, they are merely taking up space. 

What do employees like most/least about the space?

Take time to discuss what helps employees in their day and where they experience hold ups. They may have ideas to streamline their process to take into consideration. Additionally, different departments and employees will have different needs. Some employees may need a good spot to sit, access to a charging port, and a communal place to get coffee or a writing utensil. Other employees may have needs that are more considerable, like storage for IT or large table space for those who work on projects. Other details like glares from windows, drafts from ventilation, or distractions from outside sounds can be addressed in design as well. 

Is there a balance of space for privacy and collaboration?

At some point, when the walls come down, an employee is going to need a space for privacy. Whether for a personal call, a business call in confidence, or a short amount of time to focus on a specific task, it is important to have contained space for employees to use. On the opposite side, collaboration is not merely chatting above computer screens about tasks or what is next on the agenda. True collaboration needs large flexible spaces to work in, like large conference rooms or in general office areas where furniture has mobility. In either case, the private spaces or general spaces, accessibility to technology options is key. 

HBi Office Solutions can help answer all of these questions and has experience in walking businesses through redesigns from the planning stage through execution. Our team is ready to optimize your space to meet the needs of your business and employees. Let us know your plans by contacting us or calling 979-260-3001.