No matter the type of business you’re in, unless you’re a one man shop, collaboration is an important part of how you operate. Maybe it’s through your business partners, employees, or consultants that provide outside expertise. Nevertheless, collaboration happens in a business environment. Setting
up your office to enhance that collaboration can increase efficiency of operation and make
for a healthier work environment.
In beginning the design of a new office space, my first steps are to interview and observe. Through interviews with the staff, I gain information regarding their job functions and connections, which helps in deciding personnel location. In other words, who works next to whom. By observing office activity, I make notes as to how staff move around the office. Do they have to walk the length of the office to make a copy, pick up a printed document, or meet with a colleague? Some businesses team personnel up for specific tasks, giving them mobile desks that allow them to change their location as the need arises. Others depend on inter-office connectivity. Then of course, there’s the double loaded corridor with separate offices for each person.
My proposed layout in this sketch creates a central area where employees can gather for team meetings, group discussions, document delivery, or even casual lunch presentations. Located around the central area is space allocated for copiers and office equipment. In addition to private offices there can be a conference room that provides visible connections with acoustic privacy. Staff offices can also have a visible connection through interior glazing. If offices have an exterior wall, interior glazing allows natural light into the inner space, providing a much needed connection to the exterior and also reducing the need for artificial lighting. Creating the cross-communication that develops through this type of open office enhances the team environment. Daily communication times can be shortened through visible links.
If you’re considering a new office space or interested in developing a more efficient work flow, the answer might not always lie with technology. The answer could come through figuring out a more efficient environment.
Ed Garbee can be found at Garbee Architecture, located at 633 Chestnut St., Ste. 600, Chattanooga, TN 37450. Contact him at (423) 364-2830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.