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Office design whitepaper


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Designing an office space requires careful thought to increase employee satisfaction and create a productive work place. This white paper discusses tips to use a planning tool like PlanEasy2D to interactively design a better space. To download the software visit

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Office design whitepaper

  1. 1. Plan&Visualize Office Design Reinvented White PaperOffice Design Reinvented: How toIncrease Productivity using PlanEasy2D
  2. 2. Plan&Visualize Office Design ReinventedExecutive SummaryDesigning a plan for a brand new office and redesigning for an existingoffice involve different considerations and inputs. The main goal is howeverthe same: maximize productivity and cost efficiency. A well-designed officecan reap the benefits of smart,worker-oriented designs. Simple conceptsapplied in the design/redesign can reduce time and cost immensely. Afloorplanner tool visualizes the solution for you and helps determine thebest options with less effort and within a short period. This paper explainsthe steps involved in planning a new office and the role PlanEasy2D plays inmaking optimal decisions. Also discussed is a case of how a proposedrearrangement of office employees can be examined within a few minutes,again helping in crucial decision-making.Planning a new officeWhen a company decides to go for a new office, it can either construct the buildingfrom scratch or think of renting a building that suits its operations. Although there ismore work and time invested in the former, both require a good amount oforganization and interior decoration effort. Each floor of an office building needs tobe designed according to its purpose and the employees who will be working there.The functionality of the rooms influences the choices made in drawing up a suitableplan. Different types of companies need distinct layouts to fit their operations. If wetake the case of a software design company that would need to accommodate 20computer engineers in one floor along with a group leader, the arrangement wouldbe different from the case where a newspaper publisher looks for an office toaccommodate its employees.A company building requires an assortment of space types. These can include: Core Working Space 1. Individual/joint work space for staff: Two types of organization are possible here – open office and cubicle type 2. Conference rooms Employee/Visitor Support 1. Lobby 2. Atria or Common area 3. Cafeteria or dining hall 4. Physical fitness area Operation and Maintenance 1. General Storage 2. Computer ClosetsAfter the space type, more detailed aspects of interior planning come into thepicture: • Furniture planning – deciding on the type, numbers, dimensions and placement
  3. 3. Plan&Visualize Office Design Reinvented • Windows – In the case where the planning is for the construction of a new building, windows are important for adequate natural lighting. • Lighting Arrangements – To supplement the natural light in the rooms, suitable artificial lights should be provided for. • Flooring – Decisions on what type of tiles to be used for the floors and if full or partial carpeting is needed should be made. • Heating System/Electrical Outlets on Walls – Depending on the climate of the region where the office is located, heaters may be necessary along the walls. Electrical outlets need to be placed at the appropriate points as well.The following points ponder are useful to ponder for making decisions onthe above mentioned facets of planning:  Spatial equity: Do workers have enough space to accomplish tasks?  Flexibility: Can the workplace be rapidly adjusted to respond to industry- related challenges?  Comfort: Can workers adjust light, temperature, furnishings, and acoustic levels to their preferences?  Sense of place: Does the workplace decor and atmosphere mirror the company’s brand or mission? Does the workplace create a culture appropriate to the work done there? Company A wants to start a branch in a new city to expand its operations. An existing office building offeredfor rent is identified as a potential location. One or more of its floors may be neededto house the employees and operations. To confirm its suitability and estimate spacerequirements, a plan needs to be drawn visualizing the office with furniture andother arrangements in place.Requirements for the office: • Number of Employees = 25 (20 developmental + 3 administrative + 2 sales) • Cubicle-type workplace for developmental personnel and open-type for administrative and sales • Conference room required on one or more of the floors • Kitchen /Dining Space • Computer storage spaceUsing PlanEasy2D to create the plan:Floors 2 and 3 of the building are being considered. The best solution for thecompany is accommodating all the employees, conference room, kitchen andcomputer storage room in a single floor. The dimensions and layout of the rooms inthe floors are known.Let’s start with Floor 2:
  4. 4. Plan&Visualize Office Design ReinventedStep 1: Draw the rooms in the floor as per the layout with the appropriatedimensions. The mens/ladies restrooms for the floor are already in the plan. Hereyou can choose between displaying the dimensions in feet or meters according to thestandard used. Fig 1. Layout of the floor with dimensionsStep 2: The workplaces of the staff can now be added to the plan by using thesuitable furniture symbols from the office library. Since the cubicle-style is preferredhere for a portion of the employees, the cubicle symbol is inserted at the appropriateplaces in the main hall. By right-clicking, the dimensions of the cubicle can beadjusted and also rotated to the desired position. Once adjusted, furniture can becopied and pasted in the preferred location in the room. Other furniture such as bookshelves and work desks can also be inserted in place.
  5. 5. Plan&Visualize Office Design Reinvented Fig 2. Plan with cubicles addedStep 3: Deciding on other rooms – As a trial, the lower left-hand corner room isselected as the conference room and the right-hand corner room as the kitchen.Only the computer storage space remains to be allocated. With the correspondingfurniture, you can get an idea of whether the space is adequate.Step 4: Any remaining furniture items can be selected from other libraries (eg.,plant,drawer,etc.) and put in place. Now, you have an exact estimate of how manystaff can be accommodated in the floor and if all the requirements have been met forthe other rooms. Fig 3. Final Plan of Floor 2
  6. 6. Plan&Visualize Office Design ReinventedAs we can see, with the planned estimates of cubicle and table sizes, even with afrugal placement, Floor 2 can accommodate only 20 employees. The remaining 5cannot be comfortably seated in the same floor. Either another arrangementincluding Floor 3 must be considered, or another office building where an optimalarrangement would be possible needs to be found.These steps show you how within a span of one hour at a maximum, you candetermine the suitability of the choice of floors and/or building for your new officeand thus save valuable time and cost using PlanEasy2D.New Ideas in Office DesignArchitects and designers constantly reexamine the changing workplace to solveproblems and accommodate needs. Some of their innovations have played betterthan others. Here’s the latest thinking on what works: • For better worker retention and productivity Executive offices on the interior, workers at the windowsExecutive offices are better placed at the center of each floor. Rank-and-file workerswho spend more time at their desks belong in open spaces by the windows wherethey can benefit more from the views and natural light. • If your goal is spontaneous collaboration Enclosed mini-conference roomsWhen collaborative areas are scattered between clusters of cubes, the noise preventscube-dwellers from getting work done. Instead, allocate small spaces with doors forinformal meetings. Workers can quickly come together without having to leave theirimmediate area or reserve a conference room. • To get a more mobile workforce Satellite and drop-in office spacesEmployees who spend a lot of time at other sites do not need fixed-size office space.Making offices smaller allows for “touch-down” or “hotel” workspaces for visitorsfrom other offices. • If your goal is balancing privacy with collaboration: Lower cube walls
  7. 7. Plan&Visualize Office Design ReinventedTraditional cubes are too isolating, but the “open desk” system can be disturbing anddirectly affect the productivity of employees. Companies can simply lower cube wallsfrom six feet to four, affording just enough privacy and plenty of visibility.Redesigning an existing officeRedesign may be necessary for a variety of reasons – it could be existing spaceissues that need to be solved or simply to improve the motivation of the employees.It is important in keeping up with the current pace and face of the organization. Asthe company grows and changes, newer problems come up which can be tackled byinnovating or reinventing the office space. Feedback from employees and customersplays a major role in the analysis.Assess Current Space Layout and Usage -Study whether the layout of the building is helping or hindering employees in thequest to get work done. Observing workers for a few days will reveal inefficientorganization of space.Bad signs: • Collaborative spaces are bunched at the far end of the building • People whose jobs are highly collaborative do not naturally come into contact with colleagues during the workday • Employees spend a lot of time in transit to meeting rooms, printers, copiers, and fax machinesFind out how often people are using existing spaces by monitoring cubicles andconference rooms periodically.Bad signs: • An area is always empty • An area is overcrowded • Workers are competing for certain furnishings or equipment and not using others Company B has found that a long-term project with a particular customer is proceeding at a slow rate. Uponobserving the process of operations, it has found that the problem lay with thephysical location of workers of three departments that needed to interact with eachother many times a day. Two of the departments needed access to a laboratory thatwas located in another building. The solution is obvious: to reorganize them tominimize time lost in going back and forth between two buildings and also in meetingeach other. But to visualize the new arrangement and confirm its viability, a plan isdrawn with color-coding to indicate how employees in the project are physicallydistributed.
  8. 8. Plan&Visualize Office Design Reinvented Using PlanEasy2D to create the plan: Figure 4 shows a diagram of the buildings, B1 and B2, and the departments in the different floors: Building Floor Department(s) Number of Employees B1 2 1 5 2 2 5 3 8 B2 Ground Laboratory A total of 8 workers from dept. 1 and 3 require access to the lab. B1 B2Floor 5 Dept. 3Floor 2 Dept. 1 Dept. 2 Laboratory Fig. 4. Building Layout Solution: As the laboratory cannot be moved, the proposal is to move the employees who need access to it from building B1 to B2, preferably in the ground floor of B2 where there are a few vacant spaces. The two employees from dept. 2 of B1 and remaining five employees from the other group can be accommodated in the first floor of B2, as illustrated below. Step 1: Draw the rooms in the ground floor of B2 as per the current layout with the appropriate dimensions and work space arrangement. Fig. 5. B2 Ground Floor Layout
  9. 9. Plan&Visualize Office Design ReinventedStep 2: Decide on the seating arrangement for the 8 employees that need access tothe lab. The red squares drawn using the text box indicate that employees belongingto dept. 1 will be seated in the respective desks.Fig.6. Layout with Color-Coding to indicate new Employee DistributionStep 3: Draw the rooms in the first floor of B2 as per the layout similar to how theground floor was drawn. Fig. 7. B2 First Floor LayoutStep 4: Decide on the optimal seating arrangement for the seven employees, suchthat they can collaborate with each other easily.
  10. 10. Plan&Visualize Office Design Reinvented Fig. 8. Layout with Color-CodingIn this example, we have seen how a proposed rearrangement of office employeescan be confirmed and simultaneously documented with an easy color-coding scheme.In the first floor of B2, curved work desks were tried out in place of the rectangulardesks corresponding to the requirements of the respective employees. Thus,flexibility to experiment with the planning is possible using PlanEasy2D.
  11. 11. Plan&Visualize Office Design ReinventedPoints to Take-AwayDesigning a productive office building is a matter of using the right inputs and toolsto experiment with. A software tool like PlanEasy2D that is simple to use, offersflexibility and supports a wide array of applications, can make a big difference in theway design/redesign projects are executed. The following points summarize theadvantages of using PlanEasy2D: 1. Cost vs Feature: For the low investment made in the software, you get all the features needed to plan your space 2. Learn as you draw: The tool has a very small learning curve and can be used by non-CAD people 3. Real-time feedback: With real-time feedback, improvements can be immediately tried out 4. It helps both large and small-sized companies in planning their space 5. Using the software you can communicate your ideas to architects and interior designers. 6. Map of your office space: Use PlanEasy2D to create a current map of the office space and as you grow, modify and visualize new arrangements.
  12. 12. Plan&Visualize Office Design Reinvented Copyright© PlanAndVisualize Url: Email: