A common workplace layout is not an uncommon business facilities strategy. There continues to be a steady incline of organizations embracing its rewards as well as its challenges — including how it may affect productivity. As you continue to tweak your strategy, look to this checklist to help you achieve a productive office layout.

Find all the open area in your business.

Take a walk around your business and decide where would a workplace change be best engineered. Ask yourself questions, such as:

  • Do areas in your business exist where productivity is lacking?
  • How can surroundings enhance employee attitude and productivity?

After having an internal conversation and narrowing down what it is you would like to achieve in your common workplace, decide why there are open areas in your business and begin to understand that in successful workplaces, there is always reasoning behind setup. After determining which areas in your workplace are lacking, make the decision to collaborate with a workplace change expert to make the most of your workplace.

Choosing from different types of open office layouts.

As a business manager, it is your responsibility and duty to your employees to choose the workplace configuration that fits best and being aware of the most adopted trends will get you off to the right start! Hoteling, hub and spoke method, neighborhoods and circular workstations are just a few common workspace configurations.

  • Hoteling is a method where employees reserve a desk prior to the workday, but are not permanently assigned one place and, without the notion that the desk belongs to the individual, clutter is decreased because the employees treat the space as communal property.
  • Hub and Spoke Method is a method which employs a hub desk in the center and stemming from it are spokes of other desks. Use a smaller workspace to create this model and eliminate assigned seating on the spokes.
  • Neighborhoods in an open workspace is simply to place the desks of teams who work well together or, must collaborate for productivity, roughly in the same “neighborhood” of the floor plan.
  • Circular Workstations are excellent for encouraging interaction. Traditional rows of desks make it too easy for employees to keep their eyes on their screens and never interact with one another, at a circular workstation, employees literally must face one another.

Pick out your furniture.

After landing on a configuration for your productive office layout, it’s time to furnish it. Here are some things to think about while you make your office furniture decisions:

  • Some cubicles may have demi-walls for a little privacy, and others may have none for a full open office feeling. With almost 100 cubicles and workstations to choose from, there is certainly something for everyone.
  • Investing in bright storage cubes and cubbies is an excellent way to give employees a personal place to store personal items while remaining organized and under control. Take into account, how it will complement your chosen desks and ask yourself what employees really require.
  • Adjustable beam benches is fresh choice for hoteling
  • Modular office workstations allow you to easily make the switch from private offices to an open office plan when the need fits
  • For small spaces, consider a circular workstation configured to fit three people in a space typically used for one workstation.
  • Make sure to take comfort and ergonomics into consideration along with productivity and morale.
  • Choose breakroom furniture that is unique to create a visual and visceral difference for employees.

Manage and eliminate noise.

American businesses continue to lose more than $650 billion annually in output because of workplace distractions. With an open office layout especially, it’s important for facilities managers to consider that not everyone is able to function with background noise. Here are some ideas:

  • Offer noise canceling headphones to all employees, or create an organized station where employees can check them out for a specified amount of time — like the library.
  • Build in spaces that make meeting face-to-face fun, and unique. One idea is to have a theme for each area, and most importantly it should be spaced away from workstations.
  • Phone booths — it’s a thing. These are just like from the 2002 movie phone booth, without the phone, but maybe still with some of the drama. The point is it’s a breakaway acoustically-sound space for anyone to take a chat. It gives the caller privacy and keeps the noise level down
  • Modern employee break rooms. Create a breakroom that employees are motivated to visit when having a casual, non-work related conversation, where they can grab a latte and a healthy snack.

See beyond workspace configuration

Although the configuration and furnishing are the main elements of your productive office layout, there is always room to think about small changes that make a big impact.

Consider eliminating vending machines that sell primarily sugar-based snacks and provide bowls of fresh fruit and granola bars instead. It’s a small cost with a healthy payback that your employees will appreciate.

Now — in that new found space where the vending machines used to be — you can add communal seating for two where employees can sit and chat. Additionally, water filters are great to have in offices, employees will start to bring in glasses and bottles to fill, instead of buying a new bottle of water daily and throwing it away—water filters in the office will cut down on waste and cut down on employee responsibility to recycle or dispose of said waste.

Are cell phones a distraction to employee productivity? Create a charging station with cubbies on a wall. This will encourage employees to place their phones there to charge and eliminates the temptation of using their phone at their desks.

You have all the tools you need.

The only thing left to do is take everything you have learned, collaborate, and create. Corovan provides 24-hour chat for its customers on its website so it is easier than ever to have questions answered. Now that you have the tools you need, along with expert advice and guidance— get creative and bring your unique vision to life for your business! You will be amazed at how soon you begin to see the results of your open office layout in your common workplace.