By Emmeline. Office Design. Published at Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 - 08:27:44 AM.
3. Amenities Rooms The inclusion of yoga or prayer rooms within an office design also seems to be a rising trend. As employees are spending more time at the office, companies are realising that there is a need for areas where they can unwind and just take a few minutes to themselves. These spaces are not always big, quite often designers just allow for a chair or two. This is not a common design choice for small companies. Rather, you will find these kinds of designs in the offices of large corporations or ones that have a high number of staff.
Legal minimum office space per person. There is no prescribed minimum occupancy level for a modern office design. Within the UK Building Regulations the section dealing with Fire Hazards (Part B of the Building Regs.) advises a minimum area of 6 square metres (64 sq feet) for each person in an office premises. This figure can be achieved by equating the total headcount against the overall net internal area (NIA) and so doesnt necessarily limit the space for a single person with a desk. In practice, offices will have a number of factors - mostly relating to Fire Escape but also the provisions of WCs, amount of fresh air available through a ducted system, etc. - that have an impact on the legal maximum number of people accommodated within an office building. The Means of Escape is the key criteria for density of occupation. Once a workstation office design layout is defined the Building Control advisor can determine if there are sufficient escape routes for the staff numbers.
What lies ahead for occupancy ratios? As mobile technology improves, as home working becomes more viable with bandwidth increases, and as part-time working becomes more widespread, so the need for one desk per person diminishes. Increasingly modern office design is moving towards a ratio of 7 or 8 desks for every 10 staff. The next question is then about saving money by reducing the overall office space rental, or to perhaps give some of the space over to social and team purposes? One of the leading adopters of modern office design, incorporating flexible working and shared desk allocation, CISCO Systems, works on a ratio of 160 sq ft per person. Clearly, they havent used unallocated desks and mobile working as a cost-cutting measure.
Depending on an individuals tasks, some employees will need a higher level of privacy to allow for deeper concentration while others will need to be in communication at all times. For example, a tight corner cubicle with high panels would not be suitable for people in a creative role who need to be in constant communication with their team. Sales people, on the other hand, may need to be in quieter, enclosed spaces so that they can carry on confidential phone conversations or conduct meetings in private. Either way, whether the office space is more open-concept or has more private offices, it is always a good idea to designate rooms for coffee breaks and office equipment to an area away from the main workstations. In this way the noise level will not bother other staff members.
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