Commercial architecture determines the way people use a space and the way they feel while they’re in the space, so when designing an open plan office it’s important to get it right. Large and small companies across the country have embraced open plan office design, getting rid cubicles, individual offices, and other partitioned areas. So how can you design an open plan office that’s functional, aesthetically pleasing, and maximizes the use of the space? Here are a few tips:
- Incorporate as much natural light as possible. Many open plan offices have floor to ceiling windows because it reduces the need for artificial lighting, it eases eye strain while looking at a computer screen all day, and it gives staff a nice view. But don’t forget to include sun shades on all the windows for those extra bright days.
- Make sure the space is multi-purpose. Flexibility is key when designing an open plan office, especially when space is limited. For example, a room to hold training sessions is most likely necessary, but it won’t be used on a daily basis so you don’t want this space to sit unused most of the year. By adding some reconfigurable furniture, this room can easily be turned into a breakout space or additional desks for staff to use.
- Use glass for partitions and doors so you don’t reduce the amount of natural light in the space. If a bit of privacy is needed, frosted glass is a great option.
- Be mindful of the acoustics because noise can carry easily in open plan offices, and it can be very disruptive. Your space will need several acoustic barriers to prevent it from getting too loud, like smaller break-out rooms.
Using a commercial architect to design your office
Randstad USA’s Chief Digital Officer Alan Stukalsky, who managed his company’s transition to open plan offices, has some valuable advice on designing spaces that work for everyone. The most important thing to keep in mind is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and what works for one team may not work for another. Open plan offices should suit the needs of everyone who will be using them, so it’s recommended to design each space on a team-by-team basis, and ask for each team’s input every step of the way. When staff are involved in the process it boosts morale and encourages buy-in to the new design.
Whether you’re designing an open plan office or some other commercial space, our architectural design experts are here to help. To learn more about commercial building design, please contact us today and discover why so many people partner with us for commercial architecture projects. We look forward to hearing from you.