How to Adjust Your Office Design a Year Later


It seems like the majority of office designs I see are what I like to call '10-year designs' - they are built at huge expense, used for about 10 years without much adjustment, then completely redone. While there is nothing wrong with planning for an office design to last for several years, what happens in between designs might actually be more a important consideration.

Survey the Landscape
You cannot effectively come up with a solution if you do not know the problem. The first step of adjusting your office design is to understand the environment you actually have. Are employees effective? Happy? Well-supplied?

This will mean different things to different companies, but a few items might include:

  • Employee surveys - find out what types of work employees are doing and what they might need
  • Workplace use studies - find out what parts of the office are actually in use
  • Equipment log - see what equipment the office has and how it is distributed

Soem great resources include the Leesman index, Design Case Studies, and company blog posts.

Don't Adjust Simply to Adjust
Before we go further, it should be mentioned that you shouldn't ever change things just to feel like you've done something. The only things employees hate more than changes at work are meaningless changes at work.

So for goodness' sake, don't do it!

Adding and Editing Features
Now that you've spent some time understanding your workplace, you can go about adding or adjusting features as necessary. But again, as mentioned above, only make changes where changes need to be made.

Some common areas you might find to be in need of adjusting:

  • Equipment location - printers and copiers are not centrally located or easily accessible
  • Unused areas - conference rooms might not actually be used, perhaps repurpose them to something useful?
  • Too loud - you might find that employees report higher noise levels than initially thought
  • Department location - perhaps departments that communicate regularly need to be closer

Space Planning
Another great tool to keep in your office redesigning arsenal is the Turnstone iPad App. Using the app can help with the following areas:

  • Space Planning/Layout Tool
  • 3D Product View
  • Inspirational Photos
  • Furniture Shopping 

What small changes have you done to create a better work environment?


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