Plan your office layout and space

Deciding who sits where and which area will be used for what activity needs to be carefully thought through if you want to maximise your space. This is a great time to think about team proximity (who works near who) and which teams may be expanding in the near future, and what shared facilities each team will require. For example, IT may require permanent desks with access to server facilities, while a marketing team would be happier to hot-desk and embrace activity based working. 

With space planning you'll need to think about:

  • Accommodation standards: There are standard measurements for corridor widths, tea point sizes, copy areas, meeting rooms, receptions and the amount of square footage someone needs to work comfortably. You'll find an experienced office design company will often have its own space planning accommodation standards developed through years of experience
  • Legal requirements:
    • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations
    • Building Regulations - Part B Fire Safety Volume 2
    • Part M Access to and use of Buildings
    • Part E (Resistance to sound)
    • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order
    • Disability Discrimination Act (now replaced by the Equality Act of 2010)
    • Part L - Conservation of Fuel and Power
  • IT and telecoms: For your space plan to work, it must take into consideration access to IT, telecoms and small power. For example, does your office have raised flooring to make running cables easier? If so, you'll have a lot more flexibility with your office layout. If not, you'll have to space plan your workstations with access to a wall or ceiling with power and data
  • Flexibility and growth: A well considered space plan accommodates the changing needs of your business. For example, a flexible space that can be used for either break-out or workstations will save you time and money in the future if your business needs change
  • Consider dilapidations: Most office leases require you to restore the office to the condition in which you found it. That means you'll most likely be ripping out everything you put in. So consider this from the outset and save yourself hassle in the future
  • Get your landlord's approval: Any changes within your space need to be approved by your landlord. A design package needs to be put together showing all changes, construction activity, workman access and disruptions. Make sure you plan enough time for landlord approvals, as they always take longer than you would expect