When designing the office space for your company, you will quickly notice the multitude of aspects to consider. Depending on the company type, the team size, and the office’s primary function, the ideal layout differs from company to company. However, if you only have limited space to work with, some of the decisions at hand can get even trickier. In this article, we will draw an outline of key factors that are implicitly important when planning and designing workstations in a confined office space.
1. Degree of Enclosure
This is one of the first questions you will encounter while planning and designing a small office. The degree of enclosure can be understood as the degree to which the office floor is separated through walls or cubicles. Especially if the office space is already rather small, an open floor can be a sufficient tool for opening up the room and giving each individual more space. This helps create an atmosphere of creativity and interaction while also having designated areas where groups can brainstorm with no disturbance, for example. While this modern approach gives you numerous advantages, flexibility is the one you might treasure the most, as it allows you to react to sudden changes quickly and adequately.
2. Shortage of Organisational Space
Minimalism is of immense importance when designing your small office, because crowded surfaces easily lead to a lack of concentration. Therefore, try to use space vertically rather than horizontally. And furthermore, use the available space most efficiently by utilising the entire ceiling height. This way you will not waste any precious space.
A good way of checking yourself when starting to choose furniture, is to always ask yourself if that piece of furniture offers maximum use of the space available.
To facilitate good organisation, using the following tools is helpful as well:
- Stationary trays help your employees keep an organised and tidy workspace.
- Roller cabinets offer flexibility for the office layout.
- Multifunction printer /scanner /copy machine etc. is a great way to save space and resources.
3. Ergonomic Furniture
There are two main factors in terms of ergonomic furniture that will influence the health and productivity of employees. The correct setting helps enter the workflow and prevents health issues, which will ultimately increase the employees’ productivity and wellbeing.
First of all, you want to look into the placement of each monitor or laptop in relation to the employee using it. The screen should be positioned in such a way that the viewing direction is pointed slightly downwards, while the top line of the screen should be below eye level. Arranging it that way, will take strain off the neck and shoulder muscles. At the same time, the monitor or laptop should be placed high enough to prevent the employee from hunching over. The distance between the eyes and the screen should be at least 50 cm.
One of the most important, although all too often overlooked, factors in the planning process is adequate, ergonomic seating. When designing a small office, you need to choose proper chairs and armchairs. But what is the best option for you — one big comfortable armchair or three ergonomic BLAQ wood chairs? Not only do you want your employees to be comfortable to achieve their full potential, clients entering the office should also get the best first impression possible. You can achieve that quite easily, by making sure to invest in a good mix of both. Stackable chairs are a necessity in the design of a small office. That is if you want to maintain your flexibility and the possibility to easily adjust to new situations, while providing ergonomic seating solutions to your employees as well. Whether you might want a few big armchairs for either relaxation purposes or for important meetings is up to you.
4. Working Climate and Atmosphere
Lighting is one of the many factors that affect the atmosphere in a small office. There is a lot of advantages to having the right lighting. You want to aim for lighting that is bright enough without taxing the eyes. Yellow light helps to increase comfort, creativity, and productivity. Whereas other types of light should be avoided entirely as they are known to produce subliminal noise which creates subconscious stress. The right lighting will also make the limited space seem wider and ceilings higher and help create an open atmosphere.
Especially in a small office, maintaining a good air quality is not always easy. Electrical air filters can be a great way to keep the air fresh; and so can certain types of houseplants. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing and very useful for enclosure purposes, but they will also increase the air quality in your small office significantly.
A final aspect to consider is your branding, which is not related to the office’s size. On the contrary, if you are designing a small office, you must always try to obtain the best possible effect with your limited resources. The same goes for branding. Your office will be the first impression of your company for clients as well as new employees. With the right amount of branding – but avoid overdoing it, your company will seem more reliable, professional and will not be as easily forgotten.
Ultimately, it can be said that by following this guide, you can accomplish great things with very little. Making a few small changes and compromises, like investing in the multipurpose ergonomic BLAQ wood chairs rather than in big unpractical armchairs, will be rewarding for your whole company. Remember that flexibility and multifunctionality are two of the most important aspects to keep in mind when designing a small office.