When you’re redoing the office, moving to a new office, or just getting your first office setup, you’ll need to ask some critical questions. Asking questions and planning ensures you design the best office configuration for your needs. You want to create a productive office space, where people will also enjoy working. It’s important to stop and think strategically about your company. Consider where you are now, where you want to grow, and how each workstation will be used when you make office updates. Here are the top questions you should be asking for the best office configuration solutions.
What Kind of Culture Do We Want to Foster at Work?
Believe it or not, company culture is a big reason why people accept jobs or leave them. A great company culture allows for the freedom of ideas to be shared. It also respects individuals, and offers opportunities for growth and development. If you want an open and honest company culture, it’s important to configure your office to allow for it. Additionally, if you want a company culture where people can take breaks to relax, there needs to be spots for it.
You should also consider configuring your offices in a way that encourages group activities. For instance, install a golf bag rack and a mini golf course in a small greenspace. Or, build a coffee bar next to the breakroom. Planning out fun and inviting spaces in the office that prompts employees to gather together promotes socialization, better teamwork and a more cohesive company culture.
Do Any of the Leaders Need a Private Office?
While it might seem like a perk of the job, not all leaders and executives want or need a private office. Having a space large and private can be useful, but a separate office may not be needed. This is especially true of leaders who spend time with their staff. They often like a workspace near their people to be available for questions, concerns, and other needs.
Is This a Collaborative Space?
When you look at your office and the way it’s configured now, is it conducive to collaboration? Where are the collaborative spaces? Are they only in conference rooms? How would you like to change that? Creating places throughout your building where people can gather to talk, collaborate, and envision new things is powerful. To create these spaces, you’ll need forward-thinking leadership and staff to design a space that allows for this.
Will Staff Need to Perform More Than One Type of Task at This Desk?
Having multipurpose workstations sounds efficient, but it may or may not be. Ergonomic rules help determine the best ways to perform different work tasks, especially repetitive ones. If you can educate your staff on how to set-up their desk to suit the task they are working on, you will be able to reduce the amount of injury and discomfort caused by inadequate workstations.
Are Workstations Designed to be Shared?
Another important question to ask is if the workstations are going to be shared. You might have shifts at your company, and it makes sense for the people coming in to share a workstation with someone who worked earlier in the day. If this is the case, it’s critical that the desks can adjust to meet everyone’s needs. There is no one right answer to the question of how tall should a desk be? The fact is that a desk should be as tall as needed for the person who is working at it. Taller people need taller desks to account for their height. Shorter people need shorter desks to ensure they are not straining their muscles by needing to reach higher up.
How Much Time Will Staff Spend on the Phone?
The needs of people who take phone calls all day long differ from those who spend all their time coding. Keep this in mind when you design desk space. Creating an area of the office where people can talk without disturbing others is important. So as you consider updating and configuring your office, think about phone use. For instance, phone operators need headsets to help them do their work. They also partitions in between desks that are thick and high enough to reduce the sound when they talk.
Is There Enough Lighting for The Best Office Configuration?
Lighting is important in office design. Overhead lights are helpful, but they can also be harsh. Some employees prefer working in environments with more natural lighting or with desk lighting. Offering more than one option to your staff ensures each person gets to make the best choices for their working needs. Without enough light you’ll strain your eyes trying to work and with too bright of lights and you might end up with a headache at the end of every day.
Are There Adequate Sound Barriers?
A big open space is great. However, it doesn’t have barriers. Barriers dampen the sound. Without them, an office space can get really noisy at work. This can be a huge distraction, especially for people who thrive in quiet spaces to work. Putting up materials that absorbs sound can make a big difference in the noise levels in the office.
How Many People Work on Site?
It would be nice if every staff member could have their own private office. But for larger companies, this isn’t possible. The fact is, there just isn’t enough space to accommodate individual offices. When you know how many people work for you, and what kinds of work they do, it becomes easier to devise a plan to create the best office configuration. Before you start putting anything on paper, you need to gather information about how many people are employed by your company. Determine the jobs they do, and the departments they work with these details closely. This information is critical. It helps determine what you can and cannot do in your space and will result in the best office configuration.
Is There Enough Space for a Lactation Room?
Can you believe that in 2021, almost 2022, moms are required to go to a closet to pump milk for their babies? This is because businesses do not fully prioritize women in the workplace. They are often shown to dim, dark closets without adequate seating, instead of a warm and welcoming space where they can work and pump. Employers with more than 50 staff are required to provide a nursing mom’s space. Work with the women in your company to create a space that’s private, supports their desire to breastfeed their babies, and is still conducive to working at their computers.