Mastering the Activity-Based Office Layout

 In Architectural Walls, Decoration, Design, Ergonomics, Industry News, Inspiration, Lounge & Modular Seating, News, Space Planning, Trends, Workstations / Cubicles

What is an Activity-Based Office Layout

To promote a more productive office, steer clear of the traditional and stationary individual work desks.  Instead, try an activity-based office layout — with work zones, collaboration areas, and places to focus.  The activity-based office layout is a variation on an open office floor plan and foster activity-based working.  Activity-based working means that instead of specific one-man desks where a person works all day, employees can access a variety of spaces throughout their work day. Informal areas are a fit for impromptu meetings and personal areas are available for phone calls and a chance to retreat briefly from a workstation.

Office Layout – Workstations

An activity-based office layout lets employees work in areas that are personally comfortable. Sometimes it’s necessary to work closely with other team members, so select workstations with the styles and customizable features that support a team’s needs.  Privacy is often an issue so choose desks and open-plan benching with partitions that can be removed or installed.  There are many quality workstations available today that are designed for the different personalities that make up a team, along with the needs of individuals. The G Series Desk Lounge is a good example, with a layout that can provide room for four workers, and a casual seating space with a sofa-type cushion. The workstation can be configured if people want to work in pairs or if someone needs to work alone, and the desk surfaces are height adjustable.

Office Layout – Joint Areas

What happens if a focused conversation has to take place and others can’t be interrupted? Create an area for collaboration!  When designing an activity-based office layout even with small workspaces, there are plenty of options for creating collaboration areas. Conversation pods, or co-op meeting spaces, and modular lounge furniture that is easily re-configured make it possible to get ideas out in the open without interrupting flow in designated work areas.  Also consider architectural walls that define space but let light filter through the room.  If spaces seem cluttered and tight, consider what furniture can and needs to go.  A design firm in London, Oktra, did an office overhaul so more collaboration among team members could take place. The company tossed 30 percent of its desks and increased the size used for sharing ideas. An area was also created for employees to use their phones.

Office Layout – Concentration Zones

Healthy boundaries are needed in the workspace — and key for the activity-based office layout. Employees are a mix of introverts and extroverts.  A constant barrage of communication indefinitely can wear people down, and introverts especially need to be able to have a chance to pull back from others when necessary.   Create concentration zones with individual pods, like a privacy booth from KI. Its design reduces surrounding noise and restricts peripheral vision.  Also, playing quiet background music like instrumental jazz and using plants to demarcate space can help create areas for taking a personal call or getting into an assignment.

More Office Space Ideas

When considering to revamp the workplace with an activity-based office layout and create a productive setting with a personal touch, then present a concept and ask the employees for their ideas on designs and touches that they’d like.  There are many things that can be done, even if initially it seems like an impossibility.  For example, if the office can’t afford to install a company gym, maybe consider installing a treadmill or two. That gives employees chances to take a walking break during the day.  It’s also a great idea to keep your office happy with food.  You can bring in catered coffee with a barista once or twice a week, depending on the budget, or have a monthly taco bar.  Bottom line: create spaces for these type of activities that encourage your staff and keep them happy.

2010 Office Furniture offers expert ideas for companies in all industries needing furniture that fits available spaces, goals and objectives. Submit your needs here to get input on space planning, ergonomic furniture and the accessories needed to create an office that brings the most out of people while providing a positive office and work experience.

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