Office space planning is the key to making a new location economically successful. Well planned space enhances productivity, increases employee retention and increases the likelihood that the space will suit your business's changing needs. Poorly planned space, on the other hand, can create expensive white elephants than drain your resources.
Analyze Your Real World Usage
Office space planning shouldn't be driven by a designer or an architect. Instead, it should reflect your business' operations. Before starting to plan space, take a look at what you really need based on how your employees will usually use the space. Open space plans might be trendy and efficient, but if you have an office full of knowledge workers completing complicated tasks, they may need private spaces to work without interruption. As another example, building out private offices or cubes for a workforce made up of road warriors just creates a too-large office that is usually empty.
Strike a Balance
Now that every office seems to be built as an open floor plan, the office space planning community is realizing that open spaces aren't the panaceas they may seem to be. On the other hand, old-style closed floor plans are unnecessarily expensive and tend to be inflexible.
Creating a space that combines efficient open areas with opportunities for private and semi-private meetings and work can give you the best of both worlds. These spaces are more efficient and less expensive than closed space while also giving you the productivity benefits that come from closed layouts.
Forget About Today
A space designed to meet today's needs is one that is likely to not meet tomorrow's needs. As such, you need to set your office space planning team to work on creating the space you will need some day. This could mean building more open areas if you think highly-senior employees will be replaced by teamwork-obsessed Gen Yers. You might also want to take a space that is a little larger than you might need if you know that you'll end up consolidating two spaces together in the future.
Design for Division and Density
Given that office space needs keep evolving, consider creating a space that can be easily divided. For instance, you may choose to build an L-shaped space with the main reception area and amenities in the center, letting you shed one leg of the ell if you choose to occupy less space in the future. Spaces that span multiple floors in a high-rise can be especially easy to divide, as well. In fact, this is one reason to consider buildings with smaller floorplates.
You might also need to squeeze more people into your office space in the future. Building private offices a little bit larger to turn them into rooms for two or three person teams can be a way to do this. Other strategies can include having your office space planning team design in extra electrical outlets or add additional zones to HVAC systems for easier customization in the future. It's a lot cheaper to build extra capacity in at the beginning than to retrofit years down the line when the space has been built out.
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