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The Ideal Office Layouts?
There are several factors that affect employee productivity in the workplace. One of the most influential is office design. Because your employees spend much of their time in the office, the space / office layouts has a huge influence on their ability to get work done.
The goals and culture of all businesses are different; one office design does not fit all. Offices come in many shapes and sizes, and with that comes many ways to arrange workspaces. In order to make some sense of your options, we’ve outlined the three most popular office layouts and the scenarios they work best in:
Cubicle Office Space
Cubicle offices are most suitable for businesses with a high volume of middle management employees, such as call centers, where managers must easily be able to assist staff. This layout also promotes solo work and allows for more focus and privacy.
The thing to remember about cubicle spaces is that just because they foster a quieter work environment, they don’t completely rule out collaboration. Royal United Mortgage, located in Indianapolis, is a great example. According to the company: “While it’s largely a cubicle environment, the teams get very creative about decorating the space with top team and individual awards, prizes and incentives, Hall of Fame displays, company trip posters, photo contest images and client submitted photos … All of this encourages a fun and productive environment and keeps the team connected and engaged.”
According to a 2010 survey by the International Facility Management Association, 70 percent of offices in the United States currently use an open layout. In this work environment, the overall workspace is shared and is typically non-territorial.
According to JLL Indianapolis’ Matt Waggoner, companies who thrive most in an open office environment tend to point back to the consistent and unintended engagement among team members. The exchange of information happens quicker, and the general level of engagement among employees is higher. Most of their clients mention that there is a 4-8 months transition when moving into a new work environment where employees have an opportunity to engage differently than in the past.
Indianapolis-based RATIO has incorporated a large amount of open office space into their innovative office design. Why RATIO’s open office makes sense: “By evaluating how we work and collaborate, we discovered the most successful teams found ways to support ongoing engagement between members… Armed with this information we set out to invert our existing workplace model from one that valued individual privacy to one that values interaction and communication in an open office environment.”
For some work environments, a combination of the two previous layouts is the best choice. Catering to all personalities and working styles, these spaces not only facilitate a focused and quiet environment, but also open up communication among employees.
Element Three, an Indianapolis-based marketing agency, recognizes the importance of mixed-space for their company culture. “We need brilliant designers who can think big and free, we need top technical minds to do development, we need business strategists who can craft complex marketing plans – and all of these different people require different environments to do their best work.” Because of its diverse workforce, Element Three designed its Indy office with quiet spaces for introverts and communal spaces for extroverts, utilizing both small meeting spaces and big areas where client meetings and collaboration can occur.
Picking the right layout for your office can make or break your employees’ productivity. Before you begin designing your office space, think carefully about what your company culture and business priorities and be sure to solicit internal feedback. Do your employees work in teams, or do they need quiet areas where they can focus for hours at a time? For some inspiration, see how these Indiana businesses designed spaces to help make employees happy and productive.