Office Design Influences Workflow

Office Design Influences Workflow

Office Design Influences Workflow

Research shows us that your office interior design can have a dramatic effect on workflow, productivity and efficiency within the office. In fact, those offices which have been designed specifically with the tasks they complete in mind are likely to be much more efficient than those that weren’t. That’s why it’s so important that the fit and design team working on your office refurbishment project have a strong sense of how your in-office tasks and projects are delegated and completed.

 This is one of those considerations that can make or break an office fit out and design team. Those that keep workflow in mind are able to create much more productive workspaces for their clients       . 

 What is Workflow?

Workflow is, at its core, the series of activities that are required for the completion of a task. A company or organisation can utilise workflow to coordinate tasks between employees – as well as to synchronise data between systems. In every case, the goal of intentionally designed workflow is to improve organisational efficiency.

An efficient workflow will automate the flow of the tasks and activities that your employees undertake. It serves to reduce the time required to complete a specific task, and can also serve to limit the potential for human error.

Here are a few ways that workflow operates in different industries:

  • Customer service – As various tasks (customer calls, enquiries, etc.) enter the office, they are delegated to agents who are free to handle them.
  • Manufacturing – Protocol are set in place to perform QA checks on parts or components as they proceed down the line.
  • Human resources – Files and forms needed for various HR tasks are stored in grouped logically, so that one task naturally way to a subsequent task.
  • Banking and finance – Approved cycles are pre-established for determining which investments to make or to decide whether or not to approve a mortgage.

In each case, the actual workflow is going to be complex. We’ve simplified it in the above examples just to illustrate how far-reaching the need for workflow is.

How Office Layout Affects Workflow

A well-designed office space can actually help to facilitate better workflow – especially as it pertains to how the workstations are organised and laid out. This is particularly important when there is limited space to work, in which case careful organisation of workstations can facilitate more efficient workflow. 

As an example, let’s consider an imaginary marketing agency that works with clients to develop marketing strategies and advertising collateral. You might expect to see the following departments in this office:

  • Strategy department – for creating and communicating new brand strategies for clients
  • Design department – for creating visual ads that will appear in print or online, as well as branded collateral such as letterhead, notepads, etc.
  • Editorial department – for writing all of the copy that appears on the above-mentioned ads and collateral

There are several ways to approach office layout and design in the above example. To begin with, certain employees are going to require more desk space in order to complete their tasks. For example, the design team may require space in which to draw by hand or spread out visual references whilst working on a new logo. This team would also benefit from convenient access to light boards, high-resolution colour printers and other equipment.

Each department would have specific needs similar to the above. There will also be a need for certain departments to collaborate frequently. For example, designers and copywriters may work closely together on the same pieces of collateral. With that in mind, it makes sense for their departments to be physically close to one another – or even integrated, depending on the extent to which collaboration takes place.

Of course, this is only an example, but these principles should be applied to any office design plan. That’s why it’s so important to work with an office fit out and design team that has a strong understanding of your organisational needs and desired workflow.

Office Workflow and Storage

Storage is another important consideration in terms of office design and workflow. Different departments require different types of storage space, which in turn affects how the office is laid out.

Take, for example, the client services or human resources departments. Both of these are likely to require extra storage space for hard copies of files. Arranging their departments so that they have convenient access to centralised, in-office storage means that they’ll spend less time crossing the entire floor space just to retrieve, update and return the files they need.

By minimising the amount of time that they spend moving from one physical location to the next, you are effectively optimising the workflow of their prescribed tasks. A competent office fit out and design team is going to create spaces that promote this level of efficiency.

Aesthetics and Workflow

There is also plenty of research to suggest that aesthetic considerations in the office can have a profound effect upon productivity – which is linked to workflow. This is actually something that we’ve written extensively in the past (see here and here), so we won’t spend too much time on in it this post.

Suffice it to say that aesthetic considerations in your office – everything from the colour of the walls to the amount of natural light or plant life in the office – can be viewed in the context of workflow, too. Making strategic decisions in this department can help to keep employees on task and satisfied with their work, which goes a long way toward reinforcing stronger workflow systems.

Allow Saracen to Make your Workplace More Efficient

Saracen Interiors is a leader in office refurbishments, office fit out and office design for the UK. Whether you’re on the market for a new office or are simply looking to refurbish an existing one, let us help create a space that promotes productivity and efficiency within the workplace.

We’ll work with you regarding your existing workflows to help create a new office layout and design scheme that encourages greater productivity and efficiency within the workplace. Contact us today to learn more.

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