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How to set up and arrange your office space

Office managers have many questions to answer and challenges to overcome, particularly when setting up in a new location or redesigning the workspace.

When it comes to establishing an office for the first time, there are key issues to consider such as getting the right utilities and services in place to ensure the workplace can function properly.

One primary consideration for many office managers is security. Choosing and implementing the most effective security measures is crucial for businesses that want to be sure their people and assets are fully protected.

This will help provide peace of mind for staff and clients alike, which will benefit the business in the long term through improved productivity, employee engagement and customer loyalty.

Other issues to think about when setting up or revamping an office include health and safety checks, furniture requirements, phone line installations and the various IT applications and services you will require.

Once these basics have been ticked off your checklist, you can start thinking about exactly how you want your office to be laid out.

Among the questions to answer is whether you want to have an open, shared workspace to encourage communication and collaboration between staff, or if a more formal arrangement with enclosed, separate working areas would be more suitable.

Research firm Oxford Economics recently conducted a study examining the importance of these issues, teaming up with Plantronics to survey more than 1,200 senior executives and non-executive employees from various industries around the world.

One of the key findings from the project was that "workers want to work". Employees suggested that being able to focus without interruptions is one of their top priorities when it comes to office design.

This raises one of the potential issues with open-plan office layouts - whether they could result in too much noise and distraction for people to work effectively.

Oxford Economics spoke to one senior figure from an unnamed online retailer, who revealed that staff at the company were encouraged to interact with each other, rather than "hide in their cubicle".

However, the executive added: "I'd be lying if I said noise wasn't an issue from time to time. It's a trade-off."

Jeff Lowe, vice-president of marketing at Smart Technologies, said: "Ambient noise and lack of personal space can make it hard for employees to concentrate and get things done.

"This has led us to reimagine the workspace and productivity."

One of the important things for managers to do if they are concerned about this issue is to consider it as early as possible, to prevent any problems arising too late for anything to be done about them.

Around seven out of ten business leaders (69 per cent) surveyed by Oxford Economics said minimising distraction from noise inside the office was one of their concerns when they first designed the space.

That compares to 85 per cent that focused on enabling employee interaction and 81 per cent that prioritised maximum staff productivity.

Mr Lowe advised: "Designing for today's workplace means building spaces that help employees be as productive as possible and do their best work."

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock Fastrum


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