Offices are collaborative spaces. They’re where ideas are formed, shared, contributed to and worked on by teams.
They can be a hive of productivity, every inch of their space dedicated to making sure that workflow and interpersonal communications are harmonious.
Yet, there are some who work in their own individual offices, away from the rest of the team. And while these distinguished few may, by necessity, work apart from their colleagues, that doesn’t mean that their productivity is any less important.
And it certainly doesn’t mean that choosing the right layout for their office doesn’t matter.
Indeed, those with their own offices are often senior executives making the kinds of key strategic decisions that can affect the fate of the whole organisation.
As such, their office layout takes on a whole new level of important. It needs to not only be becoming of their position and seniority but conducive to good communication, collaboration and relationships with other employees.
With that in mind, let’s look at some tips on choosing the perfect layout for an office…
Choose high-quality executive furniture
Your office is more than just a space in which you work. It’s a statement about you, your position within the company and even the company itself.
While you may get full autonomy over choosing the layout for your office, it’s still a good idea to keep these factors in mind when making design choices.
As such, choose high-end executive office furniture that you feel reflects your status as an executive and the contribution you make to your workplace. Where possible, try and keep the design elements congruous with what the rest of your employees use.
If it’s too ostentatious or different it may subliminally imply that you’re not on the same side as everyone else.
Keep your desk fairly central with a good amount of space all around for ease of access. Ideally, your desk should be facing the door to demonstrate approachability. Be wary of overly large desks as these can dwarf smaller offices and become a barrier to communications.
You should also keep ergonomic considerations in mind when choosing your desk and chair. Your eyes should be 24-36 inches from the computer screen with the top of your monitor at eye level or below. Your chair should allow you a slight recline to ease pressure on your spine and internal organs.
Make sure that both feet are flat on the floor or use a foot rest. Avoid stooping forward to peer at your monitor as this can exacerbate the inherent health risks of spending too much time sitting.
Ensure that you have easy access to natural light (and a view if possible)
They say that natural light is the ultimate office perk- ensuring good productivity while keeping you in a positive mindset. Thus, ensure that your office layout gives you as much of it as possible.
If you can get easy access to a view outside without needing to turn your head too much this is perfect, as a view of trees, grass and the sky have also been proven a great mood booster.
Of course, where there is natural light, there is also glare which can hamper your productivity on sunny days (unless your office windows have been built with UV filters to keep glare away from your screen). If this is an issue, ask your facilities manager if you can get an anti-glare cover or hood for your screen.
Use natural materials wherever possible
While this is easier said than done, especially if you have a limited supplied budget, always use natural materials in your office wherever possible. These are not only aesthetically pleasing but can make us feel more harmonious in the workplace.
Opt for an office layout that means you can see something natural wherever you look even if it’s just a plant or a view of the trees outside.
Fill the space… but avoid clutter
An executive’s office faces something of a balancing act when it comes to the use of space. They need to work with whatever space is available, of course, but they also need to consider the semiotics of their office layout – what is being communicated to employees by the space?
For example, a generously sized but sparsely decorated office may come across as too ostentatious.
What’s more, the occupant may seem dwarfed by the size of the space if they and their equipment and belongings only take up a tiny portion of it. This can subliminally imply that you’re unable to adequately fill your senior position.
On the other hand, fill your office with too much furniture and other belongings and it can quickly become cluttered. And clutter can be visually distracting, diminish your productivity and even affect your mental health and detract from the humble pleasure of a job well done.
Thus, when choosing a layout for your office space, start small and gradually fill up space as required. This is much easier than filling the space and paring your furniture, equipment, and belongings back.
Your office should have a good sense of ‘flow’ with ample space for you to get out of your desk and move around the space. Experts believe that you should get up and move around for a few minutes at least once an hour to mitigate the health effects of too much sitting.
Install something that inspires you
Your office should be a representation of who you are, and that includes what inspires and motivates you…so make sure you incorporate something inspirational like a painting or sculpture in your office layout. Something which can give your eyes a reprieve from the screen and stimulate your mind.
Glass or wooden door?
One final consideration when it comes to the right layout for your office is the door to your office. Will you choose a glass or wooden door? Will your layout favour privacy or transparency?
There are no right or wrong answers, but many executives find that a glass door helps to make them more accessible to the rest of the team while also allowing them to see everything that’s going on within the workplace at a glance.
Bear the above in mind and you’ll find the perfect office layout that allows you to express yourself while keeping you happy, motivated and productive.