A Guide to Office Space Planning
A professional and in depth guide into office space planning for business owners and designers
Office Space Planning Guide by ACI
Offices across the country and globe have undergone a rapid transformation, and the way businesses occupy and view workplaces has evolved immensely. These changes have resulted in new ways of working as well as employee preferences and priorities when it comes to where and how they work. There is now a large focus on rationalising office space, restructuring mass areas, and creating a cost efficient workplace. And that’s where space planning comes into play.
Table of contents
From the basic definition to the thorough design and installation process, we’ve put together an informative guide for business owners, designers, students and office personnel to understand each aspect of office space planning.
What is office space planning?
Space planning is all about making sure your employees, visitors, furniture, equipment and resources physically fit into your workplace but with maximum efficiency and practicality in mind. A simple definition of office space planning would be using different methods to set up a working environment for optimized space usage. This process results in high productivity, employee satisfaction, cost efficiency and high business growth. Designing office space with efficiency is essential for businesses that are increasing their employee numbers or plan to expand. Without an adequate layout and formation, the general success of a business can falter.
Benefits of an office space planning service
Finding a professional to work with when it comes to planning an office space can offer a world of advantages for the business, employer and employees. Not only does space planning lock into the world of digital advanced media, but it also ensures that every inch of your space is being used to its full capacity.
Here are just a few new benefits of office space planning.
Whether you rent an office space or own a two-story building, maximising your space in terms of cost efficiency is key. Space planning will make sure that the space provided is being used to its full extent, planning features such as desk positioning, collaborative workspaces, kitchen areas, toilets and any personal preferences. Without space planning, you could end up not using an area to its full potential which ultimately means it’s a waste of money and investment.
When designing and planning a workplace, the employees will be one of the main priorities in terms of usage, enjoyability, freedom and ergonomics. The place someone works can have a huge impact on their working output and general well-being, so creating a usable and efficient space will motivate and inspire employees to work their best. The space planning process will also include designing areas such as break-out rooms or collaboration workplaces to boost company morale and inspire creativity.
Through plans, sketches and drawings, you can create a workplace which emphasises the importance of communication. By space planning beforehand, you can ensure that communication is simple and effective by organising specific seating areas, creating an open-plan environment or merging different departments.
One of the main benefits of office space planning is the opportunities it presents for the future. Every business will have yearly targets, numbers and goals in mind, and when it comes to headcount and recruitment, space planning can accommodate this. If you already have an office space but are wanting to extend it or use the space more wisely, the planning process will enable you to do so without having to purchase a new office.
The office space planning process
A lot of thought goes in to providing the perfect office for employees to work and space planning is the key to a successful space and efficient working environment. Like most projects, the process will begin with communication and discussion between the client and contractor/designer. Before designing or organising the space, it’s a good idea to highlight specific goals, wants and needs, budgets and interior preferences to make sure all these features are included in design work. Each step is considered with employers, employees, customers and visitors in mind.
Thanks to advances in technology and softwares, designing an office and planning the space is done efficiently, accurately and with great detail. Through online platforms, 3D design and automated systems, office space planning includes detailed sketches and ideas which are easily communicated from the designer to the customer. These designs are easily accessed, meaning the process can be adapted and altered at any point. Space planning designs typically include features such as measurements, ergonomics, infrastructure, electrical appliances, hardware, facilities, windows and doors and furniture.
Once both the business and contractor are happy with the designs, the office will undergo the refurbishment or fit out process. This will be carried out according to the plans made in the design process and will highlight any specific materials, health and safety procedures, furnishings and ergonomics. Depending on whether the work is being done to an existing office or new building, the surrounding area will also be taken into consideration as work may need to be done on existing groundwork or walls. The fit out process will be where plans and vision come to life and the space will begin to transform.
Once a space is planned and executed, the business can now make the space their own with interior design work and finishing accessories. Many of these features can also be included in the initial space plans such as furniture choice, kitchen wear, desk space and artwork. Some space planners will include interior design in their initial plans to ensure they have the right materials and finishings for the space, but as space planning is all about getting positioning correct, this can typically come last in the process.
Tips for successful space planning
Every workspace should be designed to suit the specific needs of the user, meaning that every office will look different and operate in its own way according to how the business uses it. However, when it comes to planning and designing an office space, there are certain steps and procedures that should always be considered. To ensure that your office is planned efficiently and maximises the available space, you should investigate your current workspace, specify your needs and understand your desired results!
Analyse your current workspace
Start by analysing how you use your current space and what’s working and what’s not. This is an opportunity to find out what needs changing and take inspiration from strategies that are already in place. This is also a good time to speak to employees or customers about their preferences and whether or not they think the office space needs any specific improvement or feature. Whether it’s an office refurbishment or fit-out, analyse how much time is spent in each location as well as how many people use it. If you’re looking to reduce your space or optimise how you use your office, you will need to use the results of the workplace analysis.
Define your needs
Before any planning or design work can commence, defining your needs is a must. This can include business objectives, employee requirements, health and safety, budgets, future goals and growth plus environmental factors. Without set expectations or goals, the space planning process will have nothing to work towards or accomplish. Do you want to introduce more collaborative workspaces? Are you needing more desktop areas? Where do you see your company in 5 years’ time?
Having a clear vision as to what you want the office to look like will ensure that the whole process runs smoothly, with no blank spaces along the way. Planning aspects such as what rooms you want to create, furniture placements and working with available space will lead to a successful design process. The planning phase is about investigating how your new space will look and feel plus how your workplace can support your business. Once you get to this stage, it is a good time to contact a specialist so they can help you execute your visions.
Advancements and Technologies in Office Space Planning
The space planning process is now much sharper and easier in terms of quality due to modern advancements and technology. This not only makes the design element easier for the designers but also improves communication between contractors and clients. Offices can now be planned digitally through artistic softwares and apps, using 3D features, annotations, collaborative sharing, automation and special effects.
Office Space Planning Services by ACI
Our team of designers and installers understand the modern need for a collaborative workplace and will work with you to create a space you and your staff love and excel in! Your space planning process can incorporate specific requirements such as breakout areas, meeting rooms, kitchen spots or partitioning to ensure your new or refurbished office is exactly how you envisioned.
Whether you’re looking for a brand new office fit out or refurbishing an existing space, our space planning services will ensure your utilising the area given and your employees can meet their full potential. Get in touch on 0115 697 1943 or fill in our contact form to get started!