Are you trying to design an office space? If you are, or if you’re even thinking about it, you know what a tough job it can be. Somehow, you must come up with a design that combines both aesthetic and function. It must look great, but it also must be a place where people can work, think and create.
When people think about designing an office space, they may focus more on the aesthetic aspect of the design. Make no mistake — this is an important part of any plan. No one wants to go to work in a space that gives off a drab, uninspired and uninviting vibe. It makes them feel boxed-in and unhappy. An area that looks dull and boring is not going to be a space where ideas flow and people work to their highest potential. It doesn’t make people say “wow” the minute they walk through the door.
Equally as important, if not more important, is the functionality of a design. A design needs to establish a space where workers can interact with one another but are not so close that there is no privacy or room to think.
By combining these two elements of look and function, the perfect open office space is born. Today, we’re going to walk through some principles of open plan office solutions. By looking at a few of these tips and perhaps drawing some information from these modern office designs, you will be one step closer to designing your office’s perfect and most functional space.
General Design Tips for Open Office Floor Plans
Everybody wants an open floor plan in their office. It’s undeniably the most popular modern design, as it creates a feeling of open airiness. It keeps employees from feeling like they’re trapped in cubicles and instead encourages a sense of freedom and connectivity.
However, switching to an open office floor plan can be tricky, especially if you’ve never done it before. Here are a few general tips to get you started thinking in this direction before we dive into some of the more specific categories.
1. Everyone Needs a Work Space
The first and foremost thing on your mind needs to be everyone’s individual workspace. No matter how open and friendly you want your office to be, each employee still needs space where they can go to sit quietly and get their personal work done.
As you’re probably aware, cubicles are the exact opposite of an open floor plan. But having everyone sit together to work might not be the best solution, either. To make your open-concept office work, you’ll need to strike a balance between these two extremes:
- You might create small clusters of desks where people can work close enough that conversation is possible, but it’s also possible to avoid it.
- You might also develop desks and workspaces that are spread around the room — close enough that you could get up to stretch and ask your neighbor a question, but far enough that you wouldn’t be bothered by a conversation your neighbor is having.
- You might also get a few office Pods and spread them around the room for people to use at their discretion.
However you decide to arrange your employees’ workspaces, start here. Build everything else around this core design element.
2. Design Break-Out Spaces in Your Office
Everyone knows you shouldn’t relax and work in the same place. Creating separate spaces for these two different activities help our brains perform better at each one. We won’t be able to feel truly relaxed if we’re trying to do it in a workspace. Similarly, we aren’t going to feel like working if we try to do it in a relaxation space.
In your office, create areas where your employees can step away from their desks and take a breath, maybe have a conversation and get a snack or a drink. Our office Pods, private booths you can place to the side of any room, offer the perfect solution. After a few minutes, they can return to their desks feeling refreshed after their break in a private space.
If you only have space for a designated break room, that’s fine. Ideally, however, these breakout spaces would be separate from the lunch room. These spaces could instead function as gathering places where ideas can flow, conversations can happen, and creativity is sparked.
3. Create Quiet Spaces Throughout the Office
This might be difficult if you’re short on space, but it’s a great idea if you have the room for it. Sometimes, a project requires particularly intense conversation. Or sometimes the rest of the team is having a loud discussion and one employee is really struggling to stay on task in the midst of the commotion. In times like these, having small office privacy rooms is extremely valuable.
These private spaces help employees sequester themselves for as long as they need while they buckle down and focus. Then, when they’re working on a more casual project, they can rejoin the rest of the team. They might even act as office “telephone booths,” where people can go to make calls without worrying about outside noise.
These spaces are also great for introverts or those who have a difficult time focusing unless they’re on their own. Our private office Pods make a great quiet getaway space of this nature. We’ll talk more about those later.
4. Choose Movable Furniture for Your Office Space
Your office is always going to be a multi-purpose space. Some days, it will need to be a quiet place where everyone sits at their desk and works by themselves. Other days, it might need to be a place where small groups of people work together, or the entire team spends the entire day collaborating on a single project.
By opting for moveable furniture, you make it easier for these transitions to happen seamlessly. More than this, though, you’re also communicating to your employees and guests that you encourage creativity, movement and change. You’re not committed to remaining in rigid patterns. Creating this type of mindset in your employees can go a long way, and it can start with something as simple as moveable furniture.
5. Create Collaborative Spaces Across Your Office
Many people who have flexible work arrangements such as work-from-home jobs enjoy taking their work to places like coffee shops. Part of this is due to the availability of coffee, but a lot of it also has to do with the atmosphere. Coffee shops are well-known for having diverse seating arrangements, from small private tables to comfy couches and large tables that promote conversation.
You can mimic this atmosphere in your workspace by creating areas where people can gather together to discuss ideas and exchange good conversation. Take inspiration from these shops by adding:
- Small lounge areas, such as our office Pods
- Long benches at tables
- Wide window seats
- Multi-media, without being overwhelming
These spaces are great for working together and letting the creativity flow, instead of feeling cramped in at a desk.
6. Get Rid of Assigned Seating in the Office
Did you know getting rid of assigned seating in your office has the potential to boost your workplace’s productivity levels? That’s right. Instead of assigning every employee a desk or a seat, why not allow them to choose their own? This lets everyone experiment and discover where they work best — whether that might be next to a window, far away from any windows, or in a corner by themselves.
Even better, let employees continue to play musical chairs throughout their time with you. Have them sit at one desk and then switch after a few months. These changes of scenery are great ways for people to stay inspired, spontaneous and creative.
Selecting Furniture for Your Office
Open-concept office furniture should become a huge part of your design. The same principle applies to your furniture as applies to designing your office in general — function and aesthetic are the key two ingredients. With that in mind, let’s talk more about how to choose furniture for your office.
Don’t Get Cheap Office Furniture
Designing an office is expensive. There’s just no way you’re going to have the money to afford everything you want to include in your new space. Some things are going to have to get cut. But if there’s one place you can’t afford to cut corners, it’s with furniture.
Your office workers sit in their desk chairs for eight hours every day. That means they better be comfortable. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with an office full of workers with back pain. That’s bad for them, but it’s also bad for you since it means lower productivity and lower worker satisfaction levels. Instead, just pay a little extra for the nice chairs. It’ll save you money and hassle in the long run.
The same goes for things like desks:
- If you buy desks well suited to your employees and the tasks they perform, it will pay off.
- If every desk has ample storage space, employees won’t be forced to spread out into the area around them, creating clutter and decreasing the general productivity of the office.
- Utilizing desk that offer adaptable heights or the ability to sit or stand is great for employee health and comfort
Break room furniture should also be comfortable. This allows workers to relax on their lunch breaks and return to work refreshed and ready to be productive.
Match the Look and Feel of the Room
If your office aesthetic is all about large blocky shapes, then maybe you don’t want to choose more delicate furniture designs. If, instead, you’re trying for a more modern and minimalist look, you’ll probably want to steer clear of traditional-looking office furniture that will stick out like a sore thumb.
Your goal here is to try to recognize the themes and looks that are already established in your office and carry them through the furniture. This will help tie the whole space together and make it feel comfortable, welcoming and inspiring. Modern-looking design matches the open office concept. Our office Pods and Wall Panels help create that look.
Hiding Wires: Make Your Office Space Look Neat
Nothing makes a space feel more cluttered than masses of tangled wires crawling along baseboards or stuffed down behind computers. It looks unpolished and unprofessional, but there’s more to it than just the looks. This type of clutter is a known contributor to lost productivity and low levels of motivation. When you design a new office space, spend a little bit of time thinking about how you’re going to hide these wires.
Think of things like purchasing tables and desks that have wire organizers or holes in them where the wires can be tucked neatly away out of sight. While organized wires are the ideal situation, it ultimately doesn’t matter if the wires are tangled if they are out of sight and out of people’s work areas. If your office is going to have any major hotspots of electronics, start planning right away for where the wires will go.
Consider the Lighting for Your Office Design
Lighting is a huge part of your office space. If you have too little lighting, everyone will have to squint to see what they’re doing. If you have too much, however, your space suddenly feels sterile and hospital-like. Here are some tips for striking a happy medium in your lighting design.
1. Maximize Your Office’s Natural Light
We can’t emphasize the importance of natural lighting enough. Since most traditional work days last from 9 in the morning until 5 in the evening, you shouldn’t realistically have to use much artificial lighting except perhaps during the winter and on rainy days. Instead of relying on indoor lighting, install large windows to let in as much sunlight as possible.
If installing windows isn’t an option, due to your office being on the dark side of the building or perhaps not having a long exterior wall at all, consider installing a skylight. Any way you can devise to get natural light into your office space is a positive solution.
2. Stick to LED Lights for Your Office
Although you should rely on sunlight as much as possible, it’s only realistic to install lights in your space as well. For these, we recommend choosing LED lights. The light they emit is as close to natural sunlight as possible. While these bulbs will cost slightly more up front than regular bulbs, they will pay off in the long run.
Keeping the Noise Down Around the Office
Of course, it should go without saying that it’s important for your office to be a relatively quiet space where your employees can work without disturbances. That means that you’ll have to implement some open office sound reduction techniques. Here are some of our best noise solutions for your open office plan.
1. Try Noise-Friendly Flooring and Panels in Your Office
Walls are an obvious way to block sound, but walls are also the last thing you want in an open concept office. Instead, why not give noise-friendly flooring a try? Carpet is one ideal option when it comes to open office noise reduction and acoustics solutions, but vinyl is also a suitable alternative if you’re not interested in carpet.
You can also incorporate our interior panels, which offer double the benefits. They make your walls appear sleek and sophisticated, and they also absorb sound.
2. Add White Noise to Drown Out the Background Noise
This might seem counterintuitive, but one effective way to hide noise is to fight it with more noise. Try playing ambient noise quietly in the background of your office. This can be generic white noise, or it can be more specific sounds like waves or rainfall recordings. Not only will this help mask unwanted sounds, but it can also help create a calm and stress-reducing environment.
3. Optimize Your Office Layout to Reduce Noise
You can control some of the sound flow in your space by carefully placing your furniture. Leave the floor plan open but create smaller centers within the open floor plan. Within these centers, have the furniture pointing in instead of out. Consider opting for high-back chairs and couches that will keep the noise contained. Consider placing an office Pod in the middle, where people can go to get away from noise entirely.
Utilizing numerous pods also gives you the ability create separation or separate nooks by arranging the pods to act as additional walls. Moveable pods make it easy to change your configuration as often as you would like. If your company grows or your needs change you don’t have to invest in regular construction that requires significant time to complete.
4. Incorporate Nature to Dull Noise in Your Office
Plants have consistently proved effective at reducing noise levels in open spaces. This alone would make it worth your while to introduce a little greenery into your office, but it isn’t the only reason. Plants also have a positive effect on employees working near them, increasing productivity, general happiness and contentment.
Establishing Your Office Ambiance
Once you’ve gotten the bare bones of your office set up, including things such as walls, doors, windows and furniture, it’s time to start tying things together with the finishing touches. This means spending some time thinking about the overall ambiance you’re creating. Here are a few things to keep in mind during this stage of your planning.
1. Consider the Colors You Include in Your Office
Color is a huge part of any design. It can send a message about what kind of company you are and create an instant impression as soon as a visitor or potential employee walks in the door. It helps set the mood and tone for the whole office.
However, you don’t want to overwhelm your office space with clashing colors. For the most part, you’ll want to stick to neutrals like grays, whites and so on. But don’t be afraid to pick one or two complementary accent colors. Use these to add tasteful pops of colors around the office.
You can also add our wall panels over your painted walls, to make your office look more professional. Gorilla Glass® interior wall panels provide the ultimate in office sophistication.
2. Add a Dose of Company Culture to Your Office Layout
As you’re decorating your open office, think about how to add in a little bit of your company spirit. You might think of this to keep your team inspired and focused. However, you want to be careful not to go overboard with this. A giant company logo painted on the wall may not be the best idea.
Instead, consider adding in design elements that are relevant to the industry you work in. Maybe paint a tasteful and inspiring quote on the wall that’s of particular significance to your company or workers. You can also create instant atmosphere with images such as captivating landscapes. However, you choose to do it, this can be a brilliant design element that makes your employees feel a sense of pride in the work that they do, the company they do it for and the place they do it in.
3. Remember to Design for the Future of Your Company
As a company, your goal is growth and success. And while you can never see the future, you can certainly plan for it. You should leave room in your design for future expansion.
This means things like not bothering to put up walls that you’ll only have to tear down later. It means that maybe an empty space is a lounge area now, but later you can fill it with employee desks. Whatever this looks like in your office, remember to leave space in your open office for the future ahead of you.
Keep Productivity High With the Right Open Office Layout
When you incorporate the right solutions into your office, you will improve your employees’ productivity, which is the biggest motivator of all for redoing your space. Having places for employees to work undisturbed or collaborate on a project will pay dividends with better quality of work. Your staff will stay motivated when they know you look out for their best interests, whether that means investing in coworking office furniture solutions and products or investigating open concept office cubes.
Implement SnapCab®’s Innovative Solutions Into Your Open Office Design
Your company needs an office design that’s just as new, exciting and forward-thinking as you are. That’s why we think you should check out SnapCab’s design solutions.
Among the many designs we offer, we think our office Pods are the perfect solution to any modern open concept office. These portable office booths strike the balance between an open space and privacy. They’re simple to assemble, easy to transport and provide the perfect space for all your needs. These small, enclosed spaces feature one glass wall so employees working in a Pod don’t feel cut-off from the world but will still have the benefit of a private and quiet space.
Our Pods also come in three different sizes, featuring one size that’s perfect for one or two people, another that fits two to four people and our largest format, designed for four to six people. You can hold office meetings in our bigger Pods, too.
Here at SnapCab, our office privacy Pods aren’t the only thing we offer. While all our designs could easily fit into your new office space, we think you might be particularly interested in our Portals.
Our Portals are a large wall that incorporates a 4K HD television where you can show videos, PowerPoints and more. They also feature wall space you can write on, letting the ideas and conversations flow. We see this Portal as the perfect supplement to any conference room or meeting space in your office. Not only is it highly functional, but it also has a modern and minimalist appearance that will look fantastic in any open office space.
Make your office more productive and efficient. To learn more about the office solutions SnapCab can offer you, browse our selection today.