Our team of experts got together and created a list of tips on designing your office space both effectively and functionally.
Your office design is vital to the success of your company. No matter the size of your company, a poorly designed space can affect productivity and employee wellbeing. As a team, we’ve been creating unique, functional offices spaces in South Africa for 75 years and have learnt some tricks and tips along the way.
“When you’re required to redesign your existing office space or are moving to a new space, it’s often the items you don’t think of that will have the greatest impact on the overall outcome of the space.” – Stefan Ruperto, time&space COO
Whether you’re moving to a completely new office or you want to make a change to your current space, we’ve got some expert tips to help you design the best space possible for your business.
1. Make the most of being in South Africa
Nature is naturally a part of our country to such an extent that, unlike big cities like New York, even the most office heavy areas are surrounded by nature. South Africa has a lot of fantastic natural light year round, so design your space to take advantage of that. If you look at the eight pillars of design, the right light is an essential element when designing any space – both from an employee health and cost perspective. Try situating your employees near windows and bring some greenery into the office. This will help people feel more comfortable in the space and increase productivity, especially as South Africans are so used to being in nature.
2. Think about the most affected workflow
When you start a business and the majority of your clients are in Pretoria, you wouldn’t choose an office space in the centre of Joburg CBD. The same applies to where people sit in an office. Design the space so departments and people who will be working closely together sit near one another. This will limit walking distances between teams who need to collaborate and communicate, and will help encourage this behaviour.
3. Plan for breakaway areas, and put them away from work areas
Position breakaway areas (lounges, coffee stations, canteens) in a space that allows people to remove themselves from their work area. This will encourage staff to take a break and get some exercise, which will promote wellbeing and renewed energy to work. This also encourages communication with teams outside of their usual circles… encouraging better overall company team building.
4. Design your spaces so you only ever need to move people… not furniture
Moving furniture is a costly and time-consuming exercise, so rather create a layout that allows you to simply move people or teams as required, instead of moving furniture. This will prevent downtime when a churn (relocation of work teams) must occur and prevents furniture from being damaged.
5. Reduce your need for space where ever you can
Office space is becoming more and more expensive, and even though we still have an advantage over other countries because we do have more space in general, office spaces are being more scarce. So we recommend you utilise these tips to ensure you’re using your space effectively:
- Create hot desks where you can.
- Look at adapting a remote work culture.
- Move to the cloud and limit your need for storage space.
Remember, the more space you have, the more you use. Archive all filing and keep only the necessary daily documentation at hand. If you do this, you’ll need less storage furniture which means you’ll need less office space.
6. Don’t put employees in an uncomfortable position
Studies show that the average employee spends a third of their lives at work, so it’s important that they feel comfortable at work. It may seem like something small but where you position workstations can have a huge impact on comfort. Our advice is that you don’t position workstations in a way where the employee’s back is to passageways – nobody likes to sit with their back exposed to an thoroughfare. This takes away all sense of privacy and if they’re in an open plan with their back to a manager’s office they’ll feel even more uncomfortable.
7. Make sure you know what you need before you make a move or change
Have a professional Space Pairing™ report and Needs Analysis drawn up outlining your companies office space needs before choosing a new space, investing in new office furniture or before making any radical interior space changes.