So you’ve been asked to sort out your office – part 4

Here is part 4 in our guide to improving your office accommodation

Efficiency of your furniture.

The first thing to decide when looking at your office furniture is are you looking to keep all, some, or none of it? If you are looking to re-use your existing furniture is it used in the most efficient layout, or do you have pockets of wasted space? Is it possible to re-use old furniture in a new way; for example , the big old corner (L-shaped) desks that were the standard 20 years ago often used a desk high pedestal drawer unit to make up the return.  This gave the desk a very large, and very deep footprint, but with some pedestals you can remove the wheels to re-use as under desk pedestals. This then gives you a reduced footprint allowing you to fit in more desks at no extra expense.

The latest trend in office design is for bench desking, where you have a run of straight desks together that can be used by more people when required (as no-one has a fixed amount of that bench space). On a quiet day the bench could be used by 6 staff (3 down each side), but then on a busy day it could be used by 10 (5 each side).  The key to getting bench desking that works is ensuring that there aren’t desk legs or fixed pedestals that  limit where people can sit. If you have old straight desks that are all at the same height and have recessed legs then you may be able to put together as a cut price bench system.

Office storage is another area where you can look to improve your efficiency. You will tend to find that staff will expand to fill whatever storage is available and often will store paper for years without accessing it. Wherever possible we advise scanning and remote storage; this maximises the amount of space in the office for staff. If you do have a lot of storage cabinets see if you can use them instead of screening, they make excellent sound barriers due to the density of the paper within.

The first step however should always be an audit of what you have and where it is; we would recommend producing an “as existing” CAD plan so you know exactly what you have and then you can determine how efficient your layout and furniture is.