Any space planner worth their salt will tell you that a well-designed space starts with a concrete plan which is executed properly. Fiddle with it, and without the help of an expert, things will go awry.
An ergonomically optimal workspace starts with a comprehensive brief from the client and the ability of the expert space planner to translate this brief accurately into a solution that answers all of the client’s requirements. As with any project, it’s not a one-way process, but rather a partnership between the client and space planner.
Common self-planner mistakes
When this partnership and process is ignored it becomes immediately evident in the layout of the designated space. The most common mistakes clients make when they take on certain aspects of the brief without consulting an expert include:
- Underestimating the amount of space required for teams and departments, as well as neglecting access space.
- Acoustics are an important consideration and loud and boisterous teams are often seated near a focus area, which can lead to all kinds of disruption in the work space.
- A good space planner will always recommend the best furniture for the desired function, which is often overlooked by self-planners.
The entire plan must be clearly stipulated from the beginning, with realistic deadlines and deliverables set out even before the project kicks off. The client and space planner need to meet deadlines and adhere to the plan, as any delays in the decision-making process or sudden changes in the layout will bring a halt to the entire project.
Before briefing the planner, be sure to do your homework on the needs and nature of your office environment, and be clear on the objectives and the outcome you envision. It’s also key for the space planner to ask for your input at certain crucial times in the process.
5 layout considerations your space planner will help execute
- Easy navigation through the space without any obstacles hindering movement. A state of constant flow is desired, where employees have easy access to all areas, including the entrances and exits.
- Teams must be seated close to the relevant facilities and departments to achieve their work goals.
- Employees must be comfortable in their workspace.
- The space must allow for growth and change. The ideal environment allows teams to relocate without moving furniture around.
- The space must be in line with the company culture and the work style. Essentially, your space must support your business function. A good space planner will conduct an in-depth needs analysis to familiarise themself with company culture and workstyle, communications, reporting lines, and paper flow, which will all influence the layout.
The planning and design of an optimal workspace is not a DIY project that people assume can be figured out ‘on the fly’, or done with some quick Googling. An expert space planner knows, through many years of experience, what works for various types of companies and company cultures. Even when calling in the help of these experts, trust and rely on the process. Call in their help when you think something needs to change in the design of the office. One shift of a crucial cog in the machinery can be the undoing of the entire system.
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