Q. What are the Factors to consider when planning the office layout?

What are the Factors to consider when planning the office layout?


The first thing to consider: Is the space large enough to accommodate the staff numbers required, with each staff member allocated enough desk/work space and adequate breakout and collaboration facilities?

It is important to workout just how much desk space a full time or hot desking staff member requires. This is usually governed by the amount of IT equipment required, coupled with any paperwork as reference material for the user at the workstation. As a guide, the minimum desk size that can accommodate two monitors, or a monitor and a laptop combination is 1.4m wide x 700mm deep. For a single monitor workstation, the usual size would be 1.2m wide x 600mm deep.  Whereas someone that only requires an occasional workspace for a laptop or tablet can work on a surface approx. 700mm wide x 600mm deep.

Once the numbers of staff and desk sizes have been agreed, it is then up to a space planner to see if the required amount of staff can be accommodated. However, there are still key factors yet to be considered before the design work can take place. Most desks will need to be close to a power source in able to power the IT. It needs to be ascertained if the power sockets are located around the perimeter walls or in a false floor, as this will have a major impact on where the desks can be located.

Routes to escape

Routes of escape,  sensible corridor/walkways and spaces behind the desks need to be considered carefully during the planning of the office space. A chair will take up approximately 800mm behind a desk but it is always better to allow a minimum of 1m. When you have two chairs back to back, a minimum of 1.8m should be allowed as an absolute minimum between the desktops.

Storage Requirements

Storage requirements should also be considered. Does each user require personal storage at their desk? Or would a centrally controlled locker system be a better use of space and also a more cost-effective solution. Shared storage can be housed in one location or medium height storage units can be useful in dividing up departments and space.

Natural Light

Natural light and good air circulation are important for staff moral and a healthy working environment. If possible, workstations should be close to natural light but glare on computer screens should be considered when orientating the desks.

Any enclosed spaces required i.e. meeting rooms, private offices, prayer rooms, tea making facilities etc. also need to be considered.

Creating an office plan is not an easy process, especially if you are not familiar with measuring and drawing in scale. If you are going to give it a try then you need to decide if you are going to measure and draw in metric or imperial. (meters/centimeters/millimeters or feet/inches) Most will measure and draw in metric. It is much easier to create an office plan using a CAD program which is usually done by a space planning expert. You can also create an office plan by drawing by hand.

The aim is create a representational drawing of your office space so that you can experiment with locating furniture within the space without having to do it in the real world. This allows you to plan in a much easier way!

Cellular Offices: Small offices within a larger space that contain one or more person working separately to others.

Open Plan Offices: Large offices where everyone works in the same area, regardless of their position or department.

Coworking Office: An office where you do not have a designated workspace. Often utilising breakout spaces, high benches and standard desks to provide a varied choice of workspace.

Virtual Office: An online environment where staff can congregate and collaborate.

The Coworking and open plan offices provide the most effective spaces for staff to collaborate and interact. This improves interaction between departments/positions and encourages teamwork.