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We create a space plan that is tailored to the needs of your business. The layout of a workspace encourages movement, houses different business activities in a logical and considered way, and helps bring people together for both work and downtime.
Effective office space planning underpins efficient, high-performing workplace design while supporting the people who use the space. The layout of a workplace encourages movement and houses different business activities in a logical and considered way. It ensures that you’ve made the most out of your real estate’s potential whilst adhering to all necessary regulations. But how do you get there? This office space planning guide will explain the factors to consider, and how we can help you configure the perfect space plan for your business’ needs.
Peldon Rose’s office space planning process supports the entire workplace strategy, office interior design and build journey. Working with clients across London to uncover the best workplace solutions for businesses, our team of workplace strategists unlock the potential of your floorplate.
Office space planning brings together a detailed understanding of your business and workplace needs, alongside a thorough analysis of the building you’re moving into, or the place you already call home.
Perhaps you’re toying between a couple of different commercial properties for your office relocation or office refurbishment? Office space planning can act as a tool to test the workability and possibility of different locations via conducting a series of accommodation studies as well as test-fits. Accommodation studies are a numerical breakdown of spaces in the workplace that are assigned to different areas. The details of the accommodation study are then developed into a test-fit, to understand how it can work in practice.
Working together, we’ll guide you through the various elements that you need to consider, in order to plan your workspace layout.
Test fits take your ideas and the information you have, and literally ‘tests’ to see how it could work in practice. Conducting test-fits on a series of buildings provides a helpful way to interrogate whether a building can house your company, before committing to a lease long term.
Space planning and your test-fitting often happen alongside one another to deliver an office layout. It's a collaborative, iterative process that works towards delivering the best solution for your workplace. Each iteration builds on the previous, adding more detail, focusing on delivering the best outcome.
The first step to consider when developing your office layout is your existing space. What elements of the plan are currently working? What could be better? How has your business changed since the floorplan of your existing workplace was put together, and what are your business ambitions for the future? Having a clear understanding of where you’re starting will provide the foundations to guide your next steps.
Here, our Workplace Strategy team can gather qualitative and quantitative insights to build a bigger picture. By conducting pulse surveys, focus groups, and one-to-one interviews with a range of stakeholders, we’ll uncover the sentiments among your team. Then, we’ll spend time observing, monitoring and evaluating your current building, to understand how the pieces of the puzzle currently work together.
Once you have examined your current layout, the next step is to refocus your attention on the goals for your workplace transformation. Whether you’re looking to support business growth, nurture company culture or optimise your business process, the office layout and space plan should be developed with your goals and ambitions in mind.
Engage with the people who will be using the workplace every day, alongside those who may use it less often. An office layout should be designed to support every user, irrespective of job role or function. Gathering direct feedback from your people and asking for their input is not only a way to gain useful insights, but also a powerful tool to bring them along the workplace transformation and change management journey.
Once our team propose an office layout, it’s critical to determine whether it’s achievable in practice. Not only do we pull together the vision, but we interrogate its buildability from a legal and building control perspective. Peldon Rose take full responsibility to examine all CDM regulations to assure that your space will have appropriate access to ventilation, fresh air, fire escapes and that the space plan will be accessible by every visitor to your workplace.
After examining your current space, evaluating your goals, understanding employee needs and analysing the requirements of the new space, it’s time to start developing your office layout. A space plan will evolve as your design develops, and we’ll work with you to ensure that the final plan meets your requirements before freezing the general arrangement, which is the finalised, designed office plan.
Then, we’ll bring in expert insights from our team of, technical designers and mechanical and electrical experts to ensure that factors are considered from every angle before heading to site to begin construction.
The British Council for Offices recommends allocating more space-per-person as we increasingly adopt flexible working structures. Specifically, space guidelines in the UK recommend that 10-12m2 should be allocated per person.
We recommend choosing an office layout with a space to person ratio that’s tailored to your industry, culture and workplace population density. This could be anything from 1:7 to a 1:15 ratio.
Consider how many people will be coming into the office on a full or part-time basis, as well as how this may evolve over time. Additionally, build a space plan that offers flexibility, so you add, remove or alter the position of furniture or other un-fixed furnishings should your business needs change.
By asking these questions we can identify things like whether certain teams need set desks at all, or how your team might use other workstation options that encourage agile or focused work. A simple change in your approach can mean more open space can be created for use in other activities or by other departments.
In the case of Helaba, we designed a stunning, sustainable space that reduced desk space by 50% - meaning they had more open areas available for other usage as well as to free up space for team members. Giving staff more space to breathe can have a big impact on day-to-day work.
An office layout is more than just a floorplan that outlines what features exist in your workplace and where they’re located, but it’s also a reflection of your company culture. The floorplans of different sized companies, industries, and sectors will feature many of the elements outlined below, but the extent to which you adopt them will be entirely unique to you.
It’s useful to use zonal space planning to ensure that elements of your workplace transition seamlessly and logically. Group areas of high energy side by side, then create space and privacy for activities that encourage a lower tempo or quieter volume to create a rational and enjoyable user journey through the space. But what does this look like in practice? Here are some features to include in your space plan.
Open-plan work areas will house most of your typical desk space. Workstations may be grouped in neighbourhoods, bringing together departments who work closely with one another to converse as they complete tasks.
**Top tip: situating your workstations close to natural light helps to boost feelings of wellness and provide your people with light levels that will assist with their work. **
Social hubs will feature tea points, eating areas or hospitality-like spaces. These areas will bring your employees, clients or visitors together in the space to foster social capital and encourage connection between teams.
Top tip: Zone your social spaces away from working areas to avoid noise disruption. Often acting as a ‘beating heart’ of your office layout, consider how social spaces can bring energy to focal points within the workplace.
It’s important to incorporate spaces for rest or time away from your screen into your office space plan. This can include outdoor areas, wellness rooms or spaces that are equipped with acoustic panelling for moments of calm.
Top tip: Tuck your rest spaces away from areas of work, to create a clear distinction between moments of rest, to encourage your people to disconnect both physically and mentally.
For periods of focussed or confidential work, quiet spaces like libraries, individual pods and phone booths create areas for concentration. Not only does it block out the surrounding noise, but it also sends a clear signal to colleagues that you’re engaged in work that requires your focused attention.
Top tip: Position focus or quiet areas alongside other areas of quieter activity, to encourage similar types of behaviour among employees with the same objective, and to remove noise disturbances or distractions.
Collaboration spaces incite and encourage creativity. Highly energised, they should be featured in close proximity to other areas of bustling activity, such as breakout areas or tea points to inspire and delight.
Top tip: Consider how the positioning of collaboration spaces can support impromptu moments of inspiration, by peppering them at regular moments throughout the floorplate.
Meeting spaces bring together your internal teams, and potentially clients too, so should be easily accessible from the entrance of your workplace. Consider what technology may be required for hybrid meetings and position it close to necessary points of access.
Top tip: Position meeting spaces of different sizes close to tea points or your front of house, to create a seamless journey for clients and employees alike.
Property and people are the two greatest costs–and biggest assets–of any organisation. Our Workplace Strategy team helps you optimise the full potential of both, by building a complete, accurate and insight-based picture of the workplace that’s right for you.
Updated: February 2024
Updated by: Nathalie Walls, Workplace Consultant
Next review: February 2025