Space planning is an important, yet often overlooked, part of business success for offices. Creating a safe, functional and efficient space can increase productivity, save money and even limit your liabilities. There are three main factors that space planning for commercial offices addresses:
1. Health & Safety
The most important aspect of space planning is the health and safety of the persons working in the office space. Commercial office interiors need to be planned in regulation with building and fire codes in case of fire, emergency or evacuation. Is the layout of your office designed to be easy for people to enter and exit? Are the aisles clear or obstructed by furniture or supplies? Are there areas of congestion, or cables and other tripping hazards present, or sharp corners where people may injure themselves? A space planning assessment can identify and eliminate these day to day hazards and make a huge different in an emergency situation.
Other factors that may affect the overall health and well being of employees include ventilation and lighting conditions, ergonomically designed furniture, workspace layout, and aesthetic design. Space planning organized around proper ventilation can reduce employee sick days due to airborne illness or allergens. Poor lighting conditions can also cause absences due to headache and eyestrain. Pain and injury can occur from workspaces that aren’t ergonomically designed or inefficient layouts that create repetitive movements or strain. Aesthetic design can create an atmosphere where employees feel uplifted, inspired and motivated, resulting in healthy, happy and productive staff. The wrong aesthetic can do the opposite; leaving people feeling negative and drained, leading to loss in productivity and even increased turnover.
Health and safety also includes social issues such as accessibility. Could there be aspects of your office space that may be discriminatory against persons with limited mobility, different size persons, or even genders? A critical space planning assessment will address the numerous factors affecting the health and safety of a work place.
The purpose of space planning for offices is to align the function of the space with the work being done there. For example, acoustics will play a critical role in an office with a call centre or where lively boardroom meetings are occurring. You don’t want the noise levels to interrupt other business operations and space planning can manage this. Perhaps traffic flow and maneuverability are important for your business if a lot of people are coming and going for meetings or deliveries. In a collaborative work environment, the planning and organization needs to reflect the requirement for interaction and also be accessible to all those sharing the space. Not only does the space planning need to be functional for the work being done in the space, but it also has to suit the needs of the persons doing the work.
Efficiency is fundamental to the bottom line of a business. Factors of space planning such as layout, organization, and design can affect productivity and also the budget. Creating an efficient layout allows people to do more in less space, which could save on lease space costs. If the goal is to grow the business without the hassle and cost of moving to a larger space, proper organization can make the most of an existing location. Design can allow for flexibility, space saving and storage, all of which can save money.
For more information on space planning for your particular office, please give us a call. We are always happy to share our insight and offer a full assessment to determine your specific needs and areas of improvement.