The right office layout is crucial for modern businesses. They way you plan out your office space can either help or hinder productivity and getting it right can improve communication and collaboration among employees. It may sound easy to pick a layout and stick with it, but things are not always so simple considering there are several layouts, each with its pros and cons. To avoid complications, it is always best to pick a layout that has been tested and has become popular because that shows it can benefit your business. To help you out, we will look at some of the best and most popular office layouts and layout designs.
Cubicle Office Layouts
This is a classic design option that became popular in the 1960s. The design has been going out of favor for more modern options like the open office designs. Regardless, it is still in use in many offices and therefore deserves a mention. The cubicle office layout divides up the office into individual cubicle spaces using partition walls. These walls surround the main workstation on three sides, with one side left partially open for access.
The cubicles can be placed in a quad design or a row depending on the business’s preferences. This design is best for offices where each employee requires privacy and a lot of focus or those with lots of detail-oriented work. Cubicle office layouts tend to make employees feel ownership of and pride in their work because they have a private space to work.
The two main downsides of the cubicle office design are that it hinders communication and collaboration between employees and that it requires a lot more space than other designs.
Open Office Layouts
Open office layouts are widely seen as the answer to cubicle office layouts. This design has been widely adopted all over the world as it focuses on providing employees with more open space. This removes the claustrophobia some employees might feel working in a cubicle. It uses one table that is shared by multiple employees. There may be low to no partitions to divide up the table into sections. These partitions allow for easier communication and collaboration among employees.
Open office layouts are best suited for fast-paced office environments. This is why you will usually find them in tech startups, investment firms, creative firms and even growing organizations. The open design allows for faster decision-making as everyone involved in the decisions can be reached easily. They also increase work efficiency without the isolation brought about by cubicles. They are also cost-effective and very easy to implement and maintain.
The main disadvantage of using an open office layout is that employees do not get any privacy. However, businesses can use freestanding office dividers if they want to give some employees privacy or protect their work. There are also fewer opportunities to make a space their own as they would with a cubicle. Additionally, the lack of partitions can introduce distractions that some employees do not like.
Hybrid Office Layouts
These are the most customizable office layouts available today. They include aspects from other layouts to create an office design that meets everyone’s needs. They are a relatively new option, and they combine the best aspects of both cubicle and open office designs, with few to none of their drawbacks. This type of layout is so versatile because there are no hard rules on what designs and design aspects to include, individual businesses have to decide what would work best for their employees.
Because of how they are designed and their inherent characteristics, hybrid office designs are great candidates for activity-based working. This is where there are dedicated spaces and workspaces for different types of work. For example, employees who need a quiet space have access to cubicles that allow this, while those looking for collaboration can pick open spaces where this is possible and easier. With no assigned desks and offices, activity-based working allows for a more fluid office environment which in turn increases output and productivity.
When setting up a hybrid office layout with activity-based working in mind, it is also important to ensure that all spaces are furnished and comfortable regardless of who will be working there. Businesses can work with companies like Branch to finish their office spaces and make them conducive to activity based working. Branch works directly with companies to provide them with the furniture they need for a variety of workspaces. Because they work directly with businesses and with no middlemen, their office and work-from-home furniture is much more affordable.
Team-Cluster Office Layout
The team-cluster office layout is meant for offices where there is a lot of teamwork. These offices are divided into clusters, with each cluster occupying a designated space and having its own furniture, equipment, and so on. The team shares a single table to ensure easier collaboration. The size of the team as well as the table in the middle of the room can vary based on the size of the team and what it is working on.
The main advantage of using a team-cluster layout is to eliminate communication barriers and ensure a smoother flow of information between team members working on a single project. This layout also boosts productivity, streamlines workflows, and fosters team building among members of the same team. Such a layout also saves money as the business does not have to provide individual workstations for all team members, and it saves space too.
Unless a team is working closely together on an important project, this layout is discouraged because there may be noise and distractions that some team members will not like. Additionally, team members who like individual spaces they can call their own will not thrive in such an environment.
Office spaces and layouts have evolved to ensure easier communication and collaboration between employees and team members. This is the reason why cubicle office layouts have gone out of style, although they remain in use in offices where employees still need privacy and focus. Hybrid layouts are the newest option, allowing businesses to offer more flexible and fluid workspaces and environments to ensure employees have a space that aligns with how they work best.