Guide to Office Layout Design

Employee satisfaction and productivity can excite people about being in an office. Multiple factors can create a happy or negative workspace, like your office layout and design. So, you should think about your office design and layout’s effects on your employees when building or furnishing your office space.

Why Designing Your Office Is Important

If you work in any office space, you know how the layout and design of your workspace can affect your productivity, mood and overall work experience. Sitting at a desk or in a cubicle all day can be challenging, especially if you have to deal with factors like a noisy workspace, unorganized desk space, up-and-down temperatures and a lack of privacy. Whether you’re an employer or employee, you must have a healthy and comfortable workspace to perform at your best.

Many employees want an office space that allows freedom of movement and prioritizes their mental and physical well-being. Designing an office space helps you consider factors like lighting, privacy, noise, flexibility and ergonomics so you can create an office layout that is functional, comfortable and enjoyable for employees. A well-designed office layout can promote employee productivity, positive work culture, and physical and mental health.

Your office space can influence how you and your employees feel about going to work in the morning. Plus, your office reflects you and how you think about your workers. An office space that supports team members can show that you care and value your staff. So, developing an office that excites everyone about work and helps them perform efficiently throughout the day is essential.

Principles of an Office Floor Layout

Your office floor layout is one of the first aspects to consider when planning your office space. Whether you choose a traditional or open-plan floor layout, you need to ensure your floor layout aligns with the size and shape of your office space. Here are some office floor layout principles to help you plan and design your office space:

  • Floorspace: Utilize your office space properly to get the most out of the room. That’ll maximize how much space you can practically use, which means you can spend your office building budget efficiently.
  • Workflow: The office floor layout you choose should be functional and align with the shape of your office space and your company’s organizational structure to enhance and promote the flow of work between employees. 
  • Lighting: Ensure there is enough natural and artificial lighting in your office to support productivity and efficiency. Task lighting reduces eye strain as employees work, while ambient lighting makes your office feel more comfortable and inviting.
  • Ergonomics: Create a comfortable and safe office layout and workspace to support employees’ physical and mental well-being, allowing them to work without any strain or frustration.
  • Office uniformity: Aligning the styles, colors and designs of office equipment like desks, chairs, filing cabinets and technology can promote harmony throughout your office and make it more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Coordination: Structure your office layout for smooth inter-department collaboration and communication. Placing departments that work closely together, like human resources and legal, can foster better workflow.
  • Storage space: Allocating designated rooms and space to store office equipment can create a neat and clutter-free office space. Factor in space for a supply room
  • Compatible office procedures: Place electrical outlets for computers, screens and plugs in various areas of your office that are easy to access. Consider office factors like noise and privacy, as well. Place departments that require quiet conditions, like pause areas or breakrooms, in separate office areas. You could also space departments that are often busy or handling calls in their own area. You may need to divide your open-plan office space to accommodate legal and finance departments that need more private workspaces to handle sensitive information.
  • Safety: Every office floor must have exits and fire escapes placed in several areas of the office to make them easily accessible in an emergency.


Factors Affecting Your Office Layout

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It’s important to consider all the factors affecting your office layout when designing or upgrading your workspace. Factors like noise, distractions and workplace ergonomics can affect office spaces in various ways. Here are some factors that could be affecting your office layout.


If you work in an open-plan office space, you know that maintaining your privacy during working hours can be tricky. Workplace privacy is essential for many employees and employers, especially when handling personal information or confidential work. Departments like human resources may require a private space within an office to deal with sensitive employee matters.

Workers may find dealing with a sensitive matter in an open-plan office challenging and can make their work environment unpleasant. Dividing your open-plan workspace with office partitions, privacy panels and soundproofing can provide audio and visual privacy.


Office equipment that is impractical or has poor lighting can cause strain on employees and lead to discomfort and frustration. Office layouts should support employees’ physical well-being by providing a comfortable and functional work environment. Uncomfortable work chairs that cause employees to slouch at their desks can lead to employees experiencing back pain and other physical injuries.

Poor lighting, office temperatures and too much noise can affect employee productivity and efficiency. Consider an office layout that can accommodate items like adjustable workstations and workspace dividers to ensure privacy and limit noise. You can also consider an office layout where you can place desks near windows to provide natural lighting, but you should also include artificial lighting to account for overcast days.

Space and Navigation

Office space that is too cramped may make navigating through work aisles and space challenging, while offices with too much space can make employees feel isolated from the rest of the office. Your office layout should have adequate space and promote inclusion and freedom of movement.

Think about an office space that can accommodate employees with disabilities, like wider aisles for a person who uses a wheelchair. Consider an office layout with enough space to accommodate more employees if you expand your offices or want to make space for hot desks and flexible workspaces for hybrid or rotating workers, as well. Your office layout should have pathways and aisles that make it easy for employees to reach areas like reception desks, kitchens and boardrooms.


Excess office chairs, computer cables, files and stationery scattered across office space areas can make an office feel cluttered and unorganized for employees and visitors. Excess clutter in office walkways or desks can be a safety hazard for employees.

Multiple cables on a desk can also be overwhelming and make it hard for employees to concentrate. An office storage space is essential for storing spare equipment like stationery and chairs. Storage areas can also make it easier for employees to navigate the office.


The price of office layouts varies depending on the space for unique rooms, workstations and storage. Office layouts requiring more space for employees and individual rooms can be costly, so it’s essential to structure your office layout to maximize your space.

Aligning your office layout with your floor plan design can help you maximize your office space and save on extra costs. Consider an open-plan layout for your office space — customize and divide your open-plan layout with partitions and desk panels, or use a variety of desk shapes and sizes to maximize your office space.

Include Your Employees When Planning Your Office Space

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Think about your employees’ time in your office and how you can make their time at work more comfortable and enjoyable. Asking for your employee input when designing your office layout and space can help you build a comfortable and healthy working environment. Here’s how you can include your employees when planning your office space:

Consider Comfort

A comfortable workspace can make all the difference in an office setting. Create a working environment that enhances your employees’ movement in the workplace. Employ workplace ergonomics by purchasing adjustable chairs and desks so employees can sit comfortably without slouching or reaching for their mouse or keyboard, which can cause back and wrist pain.

Ensure that employees’ computers and screens are at eye level so they can sit upright and maintain a good posture. Think about footrests for shorter employees and headsets for employees who have to be on calls all day.

Remember, the type of flooring you install can also impact your work experience. Soft and comfortable flooring can be a lot easier on feet, especially if your employees stand for a large portion of the day. Soft flooring and other fabric features throughout your office can also reduce echo and keep noise levels comfortable.

Prioritize Seating and Movement

Many employees might sit at their desks, while others might need to be on their feet for most of their workday. Finding a balance between sitting and moving at work can help employees get much movement and relaxation during the day. Consider sit-stand chairs and walk pads to help employees work while moving or create a balance between standing, walking and sitting throughout the day. You can also set meetings in breakrooms or pause areas across the office to encourage movement.

Think About Lighting

Lighting in your office space that is too bright or dim can create an unpleasant working experience for employees. Some artificial lights can cause headaches, eye strain or drowsiness. Situating workstations near windows is a great way to offer employees natural lighting. Consider artificial lighting like LEDs that are energy efficient and controllable.

Install Air Conditioning

An office space that is too hot can feel stuffy and may lead to drowsiness, while an office that is too cold can make it challenging to concentrate. People feel hot or cold at different times of the day, and finding an office space that is warm or cool enough to suit everyone is challenging. With air conditioning, you can regulate and set your thermostat to an optimal office temperature for all employees.

Think of Office Decor

Sitting in the same office space for most of the day might feel unstimulating. Office decor can help create an exciting and energetic work environment. Consider decorating your office with plants and artwork to help liven up the workspace. Various decor colors can affect employees — some wall colors may promote creativity, like a soft yellow, and others drowsiness, like bright, harsh colors. Choose office colors that are uplifting and boost happiness and productivity.

Anticipate Growth

Expanding your company in the future can be challenging if you have limited office space. Consider an office layout that helps you optimize your workspace in the future, like an open plan with space for more desks and dividers. A furniture consultant company can help plan and manage your office space to maximize the area of your office layout now and for the future.

How to Design an Office

You want to create the right workplace environment for your employees, which requires some thought and planning. Follow these design tips for your office layout:

Assess Space and Needs

Consider your various departments and the number of employees before designing your office. Get a good idea of your space for all your essential office elements and consider all your aesthetic and functional requirements. Consulting with a professional furniture project management company and your employees can also give you insight into improving your office space.

Create a Design Brief

Write your design brief once you know how much office space you have for all your elements like employees, departments and unique rooms. Your design brief can include the following points:

  • Goals and needs for your office: List the goals that you want your office design to meet and requirements, like comfortable workspaces, natural lighting, air conditioning and freedom of movement.
  • Vision for your office design: Detail how you want your office to look and feel at completion and include specifications like the location, walkway, breakroom and reception areas.
  • Criteria for aligning your office design and brand values: Highlight ways to align your office design with your brand. For instance, if your organization has sustainability goals, you can look for eco-friendly options, like efficient lighting or smart power strips.

Choose the Right People

Enlist help from people with previous experience in designing offices, like project managers, designers and architects. Hire and appoint professionals who can offer expert design and office layout tips, help you assess your design goals, and make informed decisions on furniture design, construction schedules and installations.

Set the Budget

Work with your designers and project managers to help you decide on a budget. Your office design team can help create a detailed budget for all your design expenses like office furniture, lighting, dividers, construction and installation, air conditioning and decor.

Let WB Wood Help With the Management of Your Office Design Project.