Hot Desking & Desk Booking

FM tips: 6 critical factors when creating an office layout

Darin Herle
January 31st, 2017
industrial-style office

Developing a new office layout may seem like a daunting task. Here we’ll consider six common factors you need to pay attention to when creating an office layout. Fortunately, there are basic resources that can serve as a good starting point for facility managers. But what about the fundamental features that make the biggest difference?


Proper amount of space

An important part of designing an office layout is making sure you’ve placed enough room between equipment and other assets for easy mobility. Staff, clients and visitors should be able to move freely around, whether they’re entering the office, walking between desks or going to a meeting room. Additionally, even after the COVID-19 pandemic, workplaces are expected to maintain workplace distancing for some time.

Identifying an optimal floor plan for the available space is critical when ordering and placing furniture and equipment.

With a space management tool, you can gain a clear overview of your office layout so you can plan your space usage effectively.

Consider centralizing large equipment like copiers, which can take up lots of floor space if improperly placed.

Fluid navigation

rows of desks in office

Aside from evacuation plans and fire code safety, designing an effective floor plan is necessary for productive workflow. Think about which team members collaborate most often, and how you can make regularly used equipment accessible to everyone. The strongest layout minimizes the need for excess movement of people and assets.

You’ll also need to consider other visitors: is the main boardroom easily reachable from the reception desk? Can clients find the CEO’s office without any trouble? Use wayfinding principles to ensure your visitor’s path through the office is efficient.

Strong communication

A good office layout maintains inter- and intra-departmental communication by placing related departments in a relevant sequence. Providing dedicated meeting rooms or implementing an open office design can help improve the flow of communication, as long as there are set volume levels and private spaces available for confidential meetings.

Keep in mind that different departments within your organization may require more or less collaboration, so you’ll need to consider how layout changes will affect your company culture.

Remote workers

group of office employees in a meeting

In many companies, more employees are performing remote work or telecommuting. You’ll need to take these arrangements into account for your workplace.

Updating your layout to accommodate mobile employees can involve many tactics.

You may find implementing a hot desking system to be useful during busier periods when remote workers are in the office.

Or you can re-purpose any unused space as private meeting areas for teams to hold video conferences with those who are working from home or in another location.

Resource expenses

According to a GSA report, 35–50% of the average office remains unoccupied during work hours. Even though your organization may have a fixed cost, it’s up to you as the facility manager to make sure the whole team is using the space to its max capacity. You’ll also have to take into account lighting, cooling and heating costs, so you can prepare a plan that will efficiently use those resources.

A space management solution can help you identify cost-saving opportunities by allowing you to view occupancy rates and map out move plan scenarios.

Office amenities

office employee reading in a break area

A University of Warwick study found that employee happiness can improve productivity by at least 12%. One way to boost morale is to include office amenities, such as fitness centers or recreation rooms.

Many offices are adding nap rooms or spaces specifically for breaks or relaxation.

Check in with employees about which amenities they’d prefer, so you’ll ensure that these spaces don’t end up unused. By incorporating these design elements into your office layout, you can help your team feel more comfortable at work.

There are many factors to consider when creating an effective office layout, and some may end up overlooked during the process. Keep these six critical elements in mind, and you’ll help boost employee satisfaction, reduce unnecessary costs and develop an office space that will work to your company’s advantage.

Photos: bezikus /, Monkey Business Images /, ESB Professional /, Tran Mau Tri Tam