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Office layouts - How to plan your office space without a design firm

When it comes to office interiors, we are in a new era of innovation, colour and collaboration that have banished the old cubicles and sterile offices to the past. No matter what your business is, it's important to create a working environment that enables you and your employees to work efficiently and effectively – and feel good while they're doing it. Not sure where to start with your office fitout? Here are some tips to help you with your office fitout to make the most of your space and keep conversation and creativity flowing freely.

1. Keep it in the open

Instead of an old traditional closed off layout, try lowering walls between desks and having breakout areas for people to relax, get their creative juices flowing, or simply just to get out of their desks and move around the office. Having an open plan layout will help introduce more collaboration and promote social interaction between your staff, helping not only your staff's well-being but your business'. To accomplish this, try adding modular furniture that can be moved around, or glass partitions to reduce noise and introduce an element of privacy without sacrificing an open plan office layout.

2. Bring the outside in

Don't just add some potted plants – the offices of today and the future are all about living walls, plant installations and earthy designs throughout the office space. Research shows that employees are happier and are physically and psychologically healthier when they have plants around. Plants also have the added benefit of cleaning the air and reducing noise within the office space. They can also look quite impressive and will make a positive impact on anyone entering the office if done correctly.

3. Embrace informality

Shrinking down workstations and adding more casual areas as social spaces, even games rooms, is something that even conservative corporate offices are beginning to embrace because of the great positive effect it has on employees. By having these informal spaces where people can relax, move around freely and take breaks from their work, they are actually more productive in their work. Embracing informality will also help to improve the overall culture in your office space. Some offices are even going so far as making their space feel like a home away from home by including beanbag chairs and comfortable sofas.

4. Consider the cables

With workplaces moving towards becoming more mobile, cable management will become an issue that needs to be addressed when you do your office fitout. Mobile desks that have the attachments to enable quick plugging and unplugging from power points are a great option that is quickly becoming a necessity for many offices. With the move away from desktop computers to laptops and tablets, docking stations may also be necessary. Don't forget about internet access cables as well – these will also be a key consideration. This move towards being more mobile also works with our other suggestions of open offices and informal spaces – staff can choose where they want to work and move around the office to easily collaborate with other members of the company.

5. Go natural

Having natural light is an important part of a productive office for many reasons. First off, people can see better in natural lighting than they can in fluorescent lighting, which can cause eye strain, headaches and the feeling of being couped up. Second, natural light helps us to feel more awake and focused since sunlight affects our melatonin levels and tell us that it's daytime, whereas fluorescent lighting doesn't and can make us feel drowsy.

No matter your office layout needs, the most important thing to consider is whether there's enough space for your business. Plan the layout of your office before you start moving things around or purchasing furniture so that you can ensure everyone can move around freely, or in the case of emergency, there is enough space for people to exit the building safely and quickly.

Office Layouts - How to Plan Your Office Space without a Design Firm

When it comes to office interiors, we are in a new era of innovation, colour and collaboration that have banished the old cubicles and sterile offices to the past. No matter what your business is, it's important to create a working environment that enables you and your employees to work efficiently and effectively – and feel good while they're doing it. Not sure where to start with your office fitout? Here are some tips to help you with your office fitout to make the most of your space and keep conversation and creativity flowing freely.

1. Keep it in the open

Instead of an old traditional closed off layout, try lowering walls between desks and having breakout areas for people to relax, get their creative juices flowing, or simply just to get out of their desks and move around the office. Having an open plan layout will help introduce more collaboration and promote social interaction between your staff, helping not only your staff's well-being but your business'. To accomplish this, try adding modular furniture that can be moved around, or glass partitions to reduce noise and introduce an element of privacy without sacrificing an open plan office layout.

2. Bring the outside in

Don't just add some potted plants – the offices of today and the future are all about living walls, plant installations and earthy designs throughout the office space. Research shows that employees are happier and are physically and psychologically healthier when they have plants around. Plants also have the added benefit of cleaning the air and reducing noise within the office space. They can also look quite impressive and will make a positive impact on anyone entering the office if done correctly.

3. Embrace informality

Shrinking down workstations and adding more casual areas as social spaces, even games rooms, is something that even conservative corporate offices are beginning to embrace because of the great positive effect it has on employees. By having these informal spaces where people can relax, move around freely and take breaks from their work, they are actually more productive in their work. Embracing informality will also help to improve the overall culture in your office space. Some offices are even going so far as making their space feel like a home away from home by including beanbag chairs and comfortable sofas.

4. Consider the cables

With workplaces moving towards becoming more mobile, cable management will become an issue that needs to be addressed when you do your office fitout. Mobile desks that have the attachments to enable quick plugging and unplugging from power points are a great option that is quickly becoming a necessity for many offices. With the move away from desktop computers to laptops and tablets, docking stations may also be necessary. Don't forget about internet access cables as well – these will also be a key consideration. This move towards being more mobile also works with our other suggestions of open offices and informal spaces – staff can choose where they want to work and move around the office to easily collaborate with other members of the company.

5. Go natural

Having natural light is an important part of a productive office for many reasons. First off, people can see better in natural lighting than they can in fluorescent lighting, which can cause eye strain, headaches and the feeling of being couped up. Second, natural light helps us to feel more awake and focused since sunlight affects our melatonin levels and tell us that it's daytime, whereas fluorescent lighting doesn't and can make us feel drowsy.

No matter your office layout needs, the most important thing to consider is whether there's enough space for your business. Plan the layout of your office before you start moving things around or purchasing furniture so that you can ensure everyone can move around freely, or in the case of emergency, there is enough space for people to exit the building safely and quickly.

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