An office is first and foremost a place of work and as such a high degree of functionality is an essential element in its design. This is true regardless of whether one is designing an office block for a business with a staff of 200 or a home office for an individual. A well-designed office should enable its user to work freely, to be inspired and creative as well as focused and efficient; it should also be ergonomic with a healthy indoor climate, to avoid workplace injuries or unnecessary sick days.
What makes an office functional?
Whether you’re working from home or designing a whole new administrative floor, it isn’t space that makes an office functional. With home desks that close up when not in use, even the smallest space can be functional. It’s more about having the right tools, so a good filing system and power outlets that can be reached without crawling around in a tangle of cables under the desk are essentials.
Main components to remember are: a good-sized desk that is a comfortable sitting height with enough space for the computer or other gadgets and access to power outlets, the Internet router, and a phone connection. Design a layout with clear lines of sight and the essential gadgets all within arm’s reach. It’s also important to design an office with adequate lighting, sufficient storage, and the option for the user to stamp his or her personality on the room.
What makes an office productive?
All office managers want to increase employee productivity and doing this can actually be as simple as getting rid of the clutter on desks and other work areas. Try to work toward a ‘paperless desk’ policy where documents are scanned and saved digitally rather than automatically printed out, and encourage all staff members to be clean and tidy. Shelves, filing systems, and cabinets will help with this.
Other factors can help with productivity, such as ergonomics (no one works at his or her best if the sitting position is causing a stiff neck) and even color schemes. Moreover, while the open office design may make it easier for employers to keep a close eye on their workforce, closed office designs have proven to be less distracting, as opposed to the idle gossip in an open workplace (a real productivity killer).
Special design features
An office can also benefit from extra design features to help make it more energy efficient, so it saves on both heating and air conditioning costs, as well as protecting the user from glaring sunlight or dark shadows. A good office needs to control excessive as well as a lack of sunlight, as both of these can lead to headaches and other health-related issues. Here, marquees and blinds are essential office furnishings, which can be drawn up on winter mornings, when the visibility is less, and pulled down during the afternoons, when glare from the sun can be an unwelcome distraction. The choice of window treatments available is vast, with wood and faux blinds being a great choice aesthetically.