The layout of an office space can affect many aspects of a company. Whether you work at a small business with only a few employees or a large corporation with hundreds of people working each day, choosing the right design for the workspace can increase productivity and boost employee morale. From the moment people walk through the door until they go home at the end of the day, creating a comfortable and welcoming environment can make a big difference in how employees view and respond to the business.
As we've seen over the course of the pandemic, companies and people have gotten creative with office layouts, and, after more than two years of remote, hybrid, and in-person work, workers have some thoughts. In a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, 34% of respondents indicated a preference for working at a home office while 27% would rather get their jobs done in a company-provided office. A home office setup was more valuable to women (39% vs. 30%) and, overall, regardless of gender, the appeal of the home office increases with age, from Gen Z (20%) to Millennials/Gen X (35%) and Boomers/Seniors (44%).
While you may not always get a say in how and where you work, consider some different office layouts and why they matter.
Having the correct layout for an office space can help you and your co-workers enjoy coming to work, be more productive, and improve efficiency.
Why should you consider office layouts?
Having the correct layout for an office space can help you and your co-workers enjoy coming to work, be more productive, and improve efficiency. Employees can use the area more effectively when an office has a well-organized design. They know where items are, and they can easily accomplish their tasks. The type of company, the company culture, and the company goals can all affect the office space and its design.
You can consider several office layouts, but the right one for your company will depend on how your workplace and its policies for working employees have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Some aspects that can affect the way you lay out the office where you work include:
- Number of employees
- Type of tasks to complete daily
- Communication between co-workers
- Need for collaboration
- Customer visits
- Services provided
Types of office layouts
Every business is different, and it's essential to consider the factors above when creating an office space. Explore some of the various office layouts you might encounter at a workplace:
- Team-based office: When teamwork is the primary function for employees, a team-based approach to the office design can be ideal.
- Home office: Not everyone can work from home, but this office space concept is gaining popularity.
- Cubicle office: This more traditional layout often appears in large companies with many employees.
- Low partition office: Similar to a cubicle office, a low partition office space has partitions to separate employees. These partitions are at a reduced height than those in a cubicle office.
- Open office: In an open office setting, furniture separates workspaces and divides the office into functional areas.
- Private office: A private office lets each employee have dedicated space with four walls, a door, and possibly a window.
- Combination office: The combination approach uses two or more office layouts in this list to create a workspace unique to the business model.
Examples of office layouts
Learn more about office layouts and what makes each design distinctive.
The team-based office layout
Teamwork is integral to many employees' jobs, and a team-based office layout makes it easy for team members to get together. This type of office usually has a more open feel, with tables or desks that allow more than one person to work at them. It may separate spaces so that different teams or departments are in their area working together, independently of other groups.
The home office layout
Choosing an area separate from the other living spaces, such as an extra bedroom, the basement, or another less frequented part of the house, is desired for a home office. When this arrangement isn't possible, setting up the office space to transition to home use can help differentiate work time from home time. Using a bed for a workstation can make sleeping difficult, but not having a computer on the bed after a specific time or changing the lighting can symbolize that work is over for the day.
The cubicle office layout
Many offices use cubicles. Essentially, this layout involves having each employee's space partitioned with thin walls, creating a semiprivate area. These square cubicles usually have enough room for the employee's desk, chair, and one to three people. Sometimes these cubicles may appear in large clusters or only a few at other times. This inexpensive office layout remains popular. Another advantage is that it can allow people to work together closely while still having their own space.
The low partition layout
Like the cubicle design, the low partition office uses walls to separate the workspace. The difference is that the walls in this type of office are low, meaning that all employees can see each other. This office layout is perfect for companies that require their employees to communicate frequently and have individual workstations where they can focus and have their own space. If privacy is occasionally necessary, you can also have closed-off areas to allow for this privacy.
The open office layout
In an open office layout, cubicle walls don't separate employees. You may see rows of desks where all employees face the same direction, but this arrangement is less common now and more reminiscent of the past. Today, most open office layouts place desks or tables so that employees face each other for better communication and a more unified team. This design works well for startups, as it's inexpensive and excellent for small groups. However, large companies may find this office layout too distracting for employees.
The private office layout
Private office layouts provide employees with the most privacy, but they're the most expensive type. It requires having each space built into a structure. Employees get rooms with doors they can close. Often, these offices feature a reception area. An administrative assistant or front-desk attendant may greet people and escort them to the correct office. You'll find this type of layout for business executives and government officials.
The combination office layout
The combination office layout is a hybrid design that combines multiple office styles to create something unique. Thanks to the internet, many people can work from home at least part of the time. This arrangement qualifies as a combination office layout because you'd need a home office and still work some of the time in your standard office. Some offices might combine the cubicle and the open office layouts by leaving some partitions for privacy and opening other sections for teams to collaborate and communicate more effectively.
Benefits of well-designed office layouts
Having a proper office layout can have several benefits for employees, managers, and the company, including:
- Improved morale
- Better sense of team
- Increased productivity
- Reduced expenses
- Better communication
- Increased efficiency
- Improved oversight
- Better organization
- Reduced employee turnover
Working in an office can be an exciting and fulfilling career option for many people, but the office must be where you want it to be. Understanding the different office layouts can help you decide which type might suit you. If you're looking for an office job, get email alerts from CareerBuilder about the ones that may be the right fit for you and your career so that you don't miss out on any opportunities.
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