Office layouts are arranged such that staff can work together in departments and team groupings, providing the best opportunity for efficient work flow, communication and supervision.
The grouping of staff in teams often provides the best option for inter-communication and/or supervision and is a key factor in office layout design. However, where space is at a premium it is even more important for the architects and the space planners to use the space optimally this is where we have a important role to play based on our collective wisdom of over 5 years.
Typically Space planning when done the following parameters are taken into consideration, Churn rate, statutory requirements if any, Business needs of the company and accommodation standards.
In many organizations, office layouts are subject to frequent changes. This process is referred to as churn rate, expressed as the percentage of the staff moved during a year. The space thus planned needs to be dynamic to accommodate these changes, for example the furniture used for a high churn out rate should be typically modular in nature so that it can be reconfigured and reused to the maximum.
Statutory requirements related to office layouts will vary in different countries but examples may include: the minimum amount of space to be provided per staff member; fire safety arrangements; lighting levels; signage; ventilation; temperature control and welfare arrangements. These aspects have to be well defined while one does the space planning.
Similarly the office layout designs should provide an environment suitable for the business needs of the organization. For example: call centers undertake their business ‘on screen’ and require small desk areas per staff member, minimum document storage, and may have limited requirements for photocopying facilities and printing. In contrast, companies handling paper based documentation will require larger desks for their staff, storage for records, archive facilities, photocopying and printing facilities close to hand.
Organizations often have a policy on the minimum standards of accommodation for each staff grade. Administration staff may work in open plan offices whereas managers may have individual offices, sized on a seniority basis. In open plan offices screens are sometimes used between desks to reduce noise and provide an element of privacy. These details have to be taken in the first project briefing meeting with the client so that an effective space planning can be done.