Office planning guide – tips from the experts
Do you want a modern, efficient and well thought-out working environment in your office? Are you planning a new furnishing or a new building?
Our guidebook offers you an overview of the most important aspects of modern office planning, shows examples of furnishing concepts as well as inspiration for office furnishing.
To ensure that you are satisfied with the result in the long term, the planning should be thought through holistically beforehand. It is also worth considering the topics of New Work and Home Office, as the Corona pandemic has shown. In our guide, we also address these topics and show you how you can establish a flexible and quickly adaptable space structure to new circumstances.
There are many good reasons for professional and competent office space planning. The most important incentives of our customers are usually the following:
Space efficiency: desksharing and home offices allow for efficiently planned spaces that accommodate up to 20% more employees than conventional planning.
Ergonomic aspects: If your employees can work in a way that is easy on their backs and preventative for their health, their willingness to perform increases – this has been scientifically proven.
Motivation & feel-good factor: Winning highly qualified employees is often decided not only by hard factors such as salary, but also by soft factors such as well-planned working environments in which people can feel good. And the motivation of employees who have already been recruited is also increased by an appealing working environment.
Comprehensive interior planning involves more than space utilization concepts and the selection of suitable furniture. You should already be clear about some important fundamental aspects in advance. Do you want a new and modern working environment, but don’t know exactly what the term “New Work” means? Or you don’t know how to involve your employees in the change process?
If you wish, we can provide you with comprehensive support in these areas through our change management and workshop offering.
Before you start the comprehensive planning, you should ask yourself some important questions about your new working environment in advance:
- How can open structures help promote knowledge sharing or team-oriented work in your company?
- To what extent is mobile and hybrid working desirable?
- Are desk sharing and the free choice of work location worthwhile for your company?
- Do you want to establish multiple use of space solutions?
- Should modern communication zones be created to promote social contacts within the company?
- How can you become more attractive as an employer and attract new employees?
Because before the comprehensive planning of a new overall concept, some basic decisions are necessary to define the direction of your desired working environment and the associated work culture. In our goal definition workshop, we can help you clarify these issues.
New Work in your company?
Not only since the Corona pandemic have people, generations and technology been subject to constant change. Everything is evolving and the demands on corporate cultures are also being redefined. Many companies are therefore forced to radically rethink their structures and premises. New Work is thus becoming an important topic of our time. Three factors are at the center of this principle: the organization, the employee as a human being and the space itself.
Work will become increasingly decentralized and at the same time more networked. This also has an impact on spatial structures, because hybrid work in particular requires intelligent zoning of the available space as well as a redefinition of existing work processes. This also raises questions such as
- How can we involve our employees in the change process and minimize their fears?
- How can we design modern working environments to optimally promote success factors such as motivation, performance and satisfaction?
We offer you our support in this area as well. In our workshop on the topic of New Work, we will shed light on these areas and factors and provide answers to the questions you have that are driving your company in the midst of change. You can also read more about New Work in our guidebook on this topic.
Planning new buildings and renovations needs to be well thought out. But it is not only the structure of rooms and the choice of furniture that need to be considered; employees as people must not be forgotten in the change process. A modern working environment has a positive effect on employee satisfaction and motivation. Nevertheless, fears can arise within the workforce in advance, which you should take seriously. After all, major changes often cause people to feel anxious and trigger resentment.
Questions arise such as:
- How does a company succeed in developing “new working worlds” and bringing its employees along with it during the change process?
- What success factors can be identified for the design of working environments?
- How do flexible working environments affect employee satisfaction, motivation and performance?
- How can different ways of working be taken into account in office space planning?
The move to a modern working world opens up many opportunities for companies that need to be exploited.
Space planning – how to plan rooms correctly
Before you can get started with the office design, it is important to get an overview of the spatial conditions.
Classification of premises according to intended use
As a rule, the planning of the premises begins with a room program.
The user determines with the planner which functional areas are to be accommodated in which places in the building.
First of all, the most important thing is the number of workstations. But functional workstations, such as the reception area, the central zones or even retreats for employees are also of great importance. It is essential that the structure of the office workstations is oriented to the workflow of the users, otherwise no practice-oriented work is possible – the more individually the workstation is tailored to the employees, the more effective the work result.
Please pay attention to the following for the following room types:
Reception and waiting area for customers
The reception area always has a representative character – this is where customers, visitors and employees form their first impression of the company. An open, bright, positive area has the same effect on everyone who enters the room. Therefore, it should also be placed centrally at the entrance.
In addition, it is important to know whether a permanent or temporary workstation will be created here, e.g. for a receptionist, so that space can be calculated accordingly.
Conference room / meeting and retreat zones
Thanks to digital progress, meetings can now also take place directly online at the workplace. However, the optimal conditions for an exchange are rarely given here and other employees may be disturbed. It is therefore important to create places of retreat for longer telephone conversations, telephone/video conferences or internal meetings and customer appointments.
It is important to clarify the type of use in advance and to plan both the technical equipment and the furnishings accordingly. Today, there are almost unlimited possibilities, for example, in terms of blackout options, multifunctional office furniture or even spatial separation. In addition to the classic meeting rooms, there are many other possibilities for entering into dialog with employees. Today, for example, we are increasingly planning middle zones for short meetings and informal get-togethers.
Workplaces are the heart of any company. Here, too, various design options are conceivable:
From the classic individual office to the cubicle office and the group office to the open-plan office. The individual work processes should be considered in advance and, as a result, a functional and innovative design of the premises should be undertaken.
However, a large number of legal requirements with regard to minimum working areas, room sizes, room heights, circulation areas and movement areas must be observed during planning. In the event of non-observance, the employer is liable in any case.
It is particularly important to plan workstations parallel to the window so that the screen is at a 90-degree angle to the light. In this way, you avoid direct and indirect glare.
For more information on concrete workplace planning, see Chapter 5 – Planning check for your office workplaces.
Bright and friendly designed room with modern workstations and storage space
Bright and friendly designed room with modern workstations and storage space
As a result of the Corona pandemic, the home office has become even more of a focus and, in some cases, a mandatory measure.
As with workplaces in the company, there are a number of things that need to be taken into account in the home office. Here, too, measures against direct and indirect glare should be taken, as described above. In addition, attention must be paid to a sufficiently large work surface and the right office chair so that employees can sit ergonomically in the home office should not be forgotten. The design of the home office is therefore just as important as that of the workstations in the office. Here, too, we are at your side as a partner and are planning home office workplaces more and more often, and not just because of the Covid-19 situation.
Here the rule is: whatever you like is allowed, since, in comparison to employee workplaces, there are no legal regulations regarding room sizes, colors, arrangement of workplaces or the like. This allows you complete freedom and creativity in planning and furnishing to give the room a personal touch. We will be happy to advise you on style issues and provide appropriate inspiration for design in our showroom.
Idea lab /creative zone
In the creative zone / an idea lab, employees are given the opportunity to develop, collect and write down creative ideas. They should be able to give their thoughts free rein. This creates a space for creative collaboration without disturbing other employees in their daily business.
Such rooms are multifunctional spaces, which is also reflected in the furniture. For example, individual tables can be pushed together and used for group work, and the walls are designed as presentation surfaces for writing down ideas, attaching documents with magnets or drawing sketches on. The seating options should be equally flexible, so the use of sit-stand stools or beanbags is recommended here. Mobile and flexible technology should also not be missing in such rooms. Everything should be individual and changeable according to the needs of the users.
Break room & kitchen
In break zones, employees should feel comfortable and have the opportunity to recharge their batteries. The days of purely functional break rooms, equipped with a kitchen and a corner bench, are over. Today, we plan rooms where employees can communicate, but also rooms where they can retreat and relax. In addition to the furniture, the color scheme, lighting and clever integration of plants play a key role here. The highlight is an outdoor area attached to the break room.
The feel-good factor is the top priority here. In addition to the classic break rooms, more and more work cafés are also finding their place in our plans as a result of the New Work approach. These provide employees with space to work with their laptops or hold short meetings in a relaxed atmosphere over a cup of coffee. This promotes creative ideas and increases motivation and willingness to perform.
Documents & archiving
In addition to workspaces, it is also important to plan rooms where employees do not work, such as the archive. These are usually planned in less attractive locations in the building.
Here, however, a decision should be made in advance as to whether and how much of the building space will be used for data storage. Nowadays, electronic data processing means that this is no longer absolutely necessary.
Special features of open-plan offices (open space offices)
Open space offices, which are divided into individual areas, are particularly popular nowadays. Be it through room dividing or acoustic elements. This creates a pleasant working atmosphere.
However, for employees with an independent work area or employees whose work requires a high level of concentration and who must not be distracted, a single or double workstation may make more sense.
When planning an open-plan office, it is essential to ensure that each employee has sufficient privacy. It is advisable to include employees who come from single or cellular offices in the planning process, as there is often a fear of change. It is also important to use room-in-room solutions such as meeting and telephone boxes to create areas that are suitable for longer telephone calls, video conferences and meetings without disturbing other employees in the office and that provide a retreat for users.
For comprehensive office planning, you need to consider a variety of aspects and make some decisions. This can be overwhelming at first glance, so it is advisable to choose a good partner at your side.