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Entries Tagged as 'Office Space Design'

What Makes a Great Workplace?

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Ask any professional who spends lots of time inside an office space to describe exactly what makes a workplace great rather than simply average and you will hear some very interesting answers. Some of the responses refer to the people in the office workplace while others focus on the attributes of the commercial office space.

 A few of the issues that consistently come up when discussing “people issues” of a great workplace include:

  • The luxury of performing work that is personally satisfying
  • Working for a great boss who believes in empowerment
  • Respect for varying work styles, and
  • Freedom and flexibility

 Rachel Permuth-Levine, PhD, MSPH is Sr. Director and Health Behavior Theorist at Sodexo, an office supply firm in the Washington, DC area.  She moderates a LinkedIn.com group about workplace experience where she posed this Question of the Day (QotD) recently: “What attributes make a workplace FANTASTIC instead of just "average"?” We found two of the respondents have extremely revealing and valuable input.

Jose Luis Sanchez-Concha, Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Management Consultant working in Spain said, “There is one commercial statement from my company that I have taken and changed a bit: "Is not about the workplace, is about what you can do in it.” His input incorporated three important factors that help make a workplace great:

  1. DESIGN - not just some colors here and there and some kinky/funny stuff around... design need to say something about the company culture, needs to reflect its identity and make people feel that they are part of something greater. A known example is Google; it is fair to say that they have actually reflected who they are in their spaces.
  2. SERVICES - "If it is not going to be great, then please don't do it"... that is the feedback from one user when we were defining some of the services for a new office in Germany (in the particular case, a fitness centre). We call it "first-choice" services: people drinking their coffee in the company cafeteria because (it) is much better than that fancy cafeteria across the street.
  3. TECHNOLOGY - Seamless connectivity  where people can access to information in real time, without worrying about firewalls and protections, true wireless environments, not the usual minimum range, and technology that truly enables people to make the best work possible.

 Tim Springer, Chicago metro area researcher and consultant for high performance workplaces provided these seven criteria:

  1. SPATIAL EQUITY: Workspace provides adequate privacy, daylight, and access to views for all.
  2. HEALTHFULNESS: The workplace is free of harmful contaminants and excessive noise.
  3. FLEXIBILITY: Workspace (that) can be quickly and inexpensively reconfigured to accommodate organization, work process, and technological changes.
  4. COMFORT: People can adequately adjust their personal working environment – including temperature, lighting, acoustics, and furniture – to meet their needs.
  5. TECHNOLOGICAL CONNECTIVITY: There is good communication and information access among distributed co-workers.
  6. RELIABILITY: Building, security, computer, and telecommunication systems provide reliable service with minimal disruptions.
  7. SENSE OF PLACE: The workplace has a unique character, enabling a sense of pride, purpose, and dedication for both the individual and the workplace community. 
Office Space , Office Space Design

Refurbished Cubicles: a Green Choice

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The use of cubicles in office space can allow more people to work comfortably in a smaller space — 75 square feet, at last count, for the average American office cubicle user.  Using less floor space automatically reduces the resources required for each individual worker, since energy use increases in larger spaces. The lack of walls reduces energy use further, since all the workers in the larger space can share light and heat or air conditioning. Consider the raw materials needed for those walls in the first place, and cubicles are clearly a greener choice.

If you’re thinking of using cubicles in your office for the sake of reducing your carbon footprint, you should take the next logical step and go with used cubicles. Certainly, any time you can reuse rather than buying new, you’re conserving resources. If you can make use of something that would otherwise have to be disposed of, you’ve doubled the benefits: fewer natural resources consumed, and less waste ending up in the landfill.

For cubicles, though, there’s an extra layer, because good quality cubicles are made of steel. Mark Miller, COO of EthoSource, a used furniture company in the Northeast, says that his company chooses Herman Miller cubicles for their refurbished cubicles. “Those things are built like tanks,” says Miller. “They last forever.”

The strength of the steel is matched by the environmental impact of producing new steel:

  • Steel manufacturing is always one of the highest energy consumers in countries with a steel industry. In the United States, even with our much smaller steel industry, steel still represents a full 8% of the energy consumption in the manufacturing sector.
  • Steel requires iron ore and often scrap metal for recycled steel. While recycling is of course a good thing, recycling scrap metal to produce steel involves extensive processing and creates greenhouse gases – both through the process of producing steel in furnaces and the high energy use required to do so.
  • Some of the scrap steel is used up in the production of recycled steel. A single steel cubicle reclaimed for scrap metal will not produce enough new steel to make a new steel cubicle. Considering the loss of raw materials in the process, emissions, and energy use, reuse of steel is unquestionably a more earth friendly choice than recycling.

Fortunately, recovering a used cubicle creates a cubicle that is essentially new: the only parts of the cubicle that are visible to the users are in fact new.

With the substantial savings that used cubicles offer, there is no reason to hesitate to make the green choice when it comes to cubicles.

This post is courtesy of EthoSource

Green Office , Office Space Design

Choosing the Right Size for Your Leased Office Space

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When you contact an office finder service to locate a new or different space for your business home, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is,” What size office are you seeking?” Knowing how to respond to that query will make all the difference in the effectiveness of your search for commercial space to lease and your satisfaction with the office that you’ll spend many hours inside conducting business.

Leasing an office which is too small can make you and your employees feel cramped, increase ambient noise levels to near-intolerable, and reduce productivity and employee satisfaction. On the other hand, a space which is significantly too large, beyond predicted near-term growth factors, will result in many extra footsteps during each workday, excessive rent for unused square footage, and give the employees in the workspace a feeling of loneliness rather than the comfort of feeling part of a team.

To select the right office size for your business, consider at these factors:

  •  Executive Offices: These offices are those which need doors that close for executive privacy, usually those which house upper management. Determine how many executive offices you need based on the number of people who require this type of space. As a general yardstick, between 150-300+ square feet should be allocated to each of these offices.
     
  • Reception Area: Depending on the type of business you operate, you may need a lobby or waiting area in the front reception space. To determine the size of this area, consider the average number of people who may be waiting and allow space for seating, tables, lamps, and green plants. You’ll want your front office employee to have plenty of space to provide a professional first impression to those entering your office space. If you plan to place equipment such as copier, fax, and other items needing space for both the hardware and the person operating it, take this into consideration. Provide plenty of walking space around any equipment, furniture, and seating to prevent a feeling of crowding.
     
  • Meeting Space: Do you hold small meetings in your office frequently and conduct large meetings rarely? If so, consider saving money by locating nearby meeting facilities which can be rented only as needed. If, however, you hold large meetings frequently, it may be more cost effective to choose to lease an office space with at least one very large meeting room. Also, consider how many meetings may commonly be scheduled simultaneously. If necessary, select a space with several meeting spaces, but you can save rental charge if you can schedule meetings so that fewer meeting areas are needed. Since the square footage taken up by conference rooms is calculated into your lease fees yet the space may be used infrequently, it can be wise to avoid excessive conference spaces.
     
  • Useable Square Feet per Person: If your employee workspace is open plan using minimal partitions or desks separated by space only, you should plan for 90-125 square feet per employee for desks, filing cabinets, and other necessary furnishings. A closed plan requires more square footage of useable space per person for comfort, on average 125-200 square feet is needed for comfort. Take into account that you also need traffic areas for personnel and client circulation. Crowded walkways can lead to a sense of walking over one another and even result in accidents.
     
  • Community Areas: Every office space needs a space which can be used as a break area or lunch room so that employees can safely store bag lunches in a refrigerator, provide a place for coffee service, and allow those who like to save money by avoiding restaurant lunches have a space to eat. Estimate the size of this area based on what conveniences you plan to provide such as microwave, water cooler, coffee machine, sink, tables, and chairs. You may also need a common area for shared equipment such as copiers, paper shredders, and other common office hardware.
     
  • Sanitary Facilities: You’ll need to take into account restrooms if those are inside your leased space.
     
  • Growth Factor: Look at your company’s plan for future grow and the lease period. Do you expect to grow significantly during the lease lifespan? If so, you’ll want to allow for space in which to grow since there can be stiff penalties if you need to relocate before you lease period has expired. Keep in mind that moving is an expensive proposition since business cards, letterhead, signage, advertising, and other associated costs really add up and if proper planning can prevent an unnecessary relocation, it is well worth the time to carefully consider the future.
     
  • Seek Professional Advice: Choosing a qualified, experienced office locating service and seeking the advice of seasoned commercial real estate professionals can ensure that you choose the perfect office that is right-sized. Each business is unique and a trained professional can best assess your specific requirements. While you should use guidelines to do pre-planning, listen to the advice provide by your professional leasing advisor.

We also have some Online Tools you can use in evaluating how much office space you should rent:

The OfficeFinder Office Space Calculator will give you a fairly accurate idea of the square footage you need.

Our Conventional Office Space Rental vs Executive Suite Offices Rent Calculator will give you a price comparison between renting conventional office space compared to executive Suite Office space.

"How Much Office Space for This? How Much Office Space for That?" will show you the itemized sizes of different areas you may need.

To learn about how your office space should be measured to make sure you get all of the square footage you are paying for CLICK HERE.

Finally there is a lot of other good information related to office space design in other OfficeFinder Blog posts.

If you need office space, we can help! Just CLICK HERE.

Office Leasing Tips , Office Relocation , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Design

Positive Workplace = Productive Employees

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Here is a list of resources I found of the Workplace Experience Group on LinkedIn. One of the keys to a productive workforce is happy employees and a positive workspace not only helps productivity, but also reduces the number of employees leaving.

http://www.phwa.org/ - American Psychological Association - Psychologically Healthy Workplaces - Organizations of all types, large and small, for-profit and not-for-profit, from across the U.S. and Canada, are implementing programs and policies that foster employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance.

http://www.greatplacetowork.com/ - Great Place To Work Institute  - We has been listening to employees and evaluating employers since 1980 in order to understand what makes a workplace great. We know that the foundation of every great workplace is trust between employees and management. Our employee survey, culture assessment tools, research, and advisory services have made us leaders in helping organizations build high-trust workplaces.

http://www.grahamlowe.ca/subject.php?subject=26 - Creating Healthy Organizations - The Graham Lowe Group (Canada)

The Graham Lowe Group offers research, consulting, and learning and development in these areas of expertise:

  • Healthy organizations
  • Work environments
  • Human capital strategies
  • Employee research (e.g., surveys, focus groups, interviews)
  • Performance indicators
  • Organizational change strategies
  • Workforce analysis and planning

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Office Space Design

Employee Office Space Allocation is Shrinking

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According to Buildings Magazine reporting on a recent IFMA study, the  allocation of office space per employee is shrinking thanks to new technology, cost saving efforts and cultural changes in the way business is done to satisfy a younger workforce. The chart shows  the the average square feet per employee based upon job position.

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Office Leasing Tips , Office Space Design