Important Office Layout Tips & Seating Plans for Happier Employees
Today, more people work at home or in coworking spaces for at least part of the week. Research shows that physical workspaces harm employee productivity. Harvard found that the ubiquitous open office design reduces collaboration.
Companies are changing how they design their offices to increase employee engagement and happiness. Here are 5 ways to refresh your office design. Also, a guide on how to use Social Tables’ seating software and layout to make office designs that work.
Flexible office layouts can foster creativity and community.
We are long past the days of high-walled cubicles. Open floor plans can be problematic. But, how do you design a space that encourages focus and engagement?
You can take a cue from coworking spaces’ rise and encourage workspaces that feature a variety of furniture styles and work areas throughout. You should provide areas for employees to meet in communal spaces suitable for all sizes. You can have brainstorming sessions, meet up with colleagues, and even push the team to meet a deadline.
Design seating arrangements that encourage collaboration
A 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study showed that researchers are three times more likely than others to co-author papers with people who work within their immediate vicinity than those who live 400m away. This study confirms the findings of Thomas Allen, MIT professor and workspace researcher. He developed the ‘Allen Curve’ in the 1970s. His research showed that workers close to each other are more likely to share ideas and interact, while collaboration decreases as they move further apart.
Design office spaces that promote employee well-being
Workers spend around one-third of their lives at work. Employees’ feelings about work and their work environment can impact productivity and employee retention. This will help you attract the best talent to your industry. Here are some ways that your layout and amenities can improve employee well-being.
- Let there be light. Workers are increasingly dependent on natural light. Your windows and space allow you to design your workspace so that natural light sources are as close as possible.
- Greenery and plants can be added to the office.
- You can create recharge areas where employees can relax, meditate, or temporarily switch their attention away from work.
- You might think about desks that can be moved from sitting to standing.
- To encourage movement, offer a variety of seating options and tables. Employees can benefit from a change in scenery to help them stay productive.
To increase productivity, make sure you have private and quiet workspaces.
Employees require reliable places to work for concentrated periods. Again, the type of project will determine how quiet areas are compared to communal spaces. For example, data analysts, business strategists, writers and others need space to do their work uninterrupted between meetings and brainstorming sessions. Human resources managers and project managers work together throughout the day.
Here are some tips for designing an office layout to give employees the desired privacy.
- Employees in groups who need to focus for long periods near one another.
- To make coworker conversations less disruptive, find employees who need some quiet in a corner or a separate area from the communal areas.
- Soundproof rooms are ideal for sales and conference calls. Google Amsterdam has lovely caravans around the office to facilitate meetings that don’t disturb the rest.
- For employees who require quiet, designate a comfort zone with soft and comfortable chairs so they can break from the hustle and bustle of work.
Bonus tip: In this interview with The New York Times, Cal Newport explains how to focus at work.
Your office seating arrangements should be fluid and not fixed.
Modern office redesigns can be completed in years rather than months. Some companies change their office seating arrangement every few months. Kayak allows new hires to move office seating, while Valve allows employees to relocate to the best spots for new projects using mobile workstations.
Rolling desks are not possible in every workplace. However, human resources managers and office staff should embrace a ‘change it all’ mentality. Talk to your employees about how you can improve productivity by removing communal tables and desks. You and your employees need agility. Therefore, your office space should reflect that.