General principles of office layout

The office manager should proceed to draw out office layout by considering objectives of office layout. Hence, the manager should adopt the following principles.

Principles of Office Layout

Image: General Principles of Office Layout

Principles of Office Layout

1. Inter – department Relationship

While allocating areas to various departments, the degree of relationship of one department to another department is taken into consideration.

For example, production department has close relationship with purchase department and sales department. So, the area allotted to production department is very close to both purchase department and sales department. The office renders service to all departments. So, the office must be located centrally.

Departments and individuals dealings with outsiders (customers and public) must be located very nearness to entrance. Noise proof walls or partitions should be arranged for typewriters, duplicators, computers, generators etc.

2. Flow of Work

The manager has to make the flow of work as regular as possible; a straight line, circle or U-shape. Regular flow of work minimizes the bottlenecks and easily performance of work also.

3. Maximum Utilization of Floor Space

Space is very costly particularly in urban areas and metropolitan cities. Hence, the available space should be properly utilized. However, every employee should be given adequate space to ensure his health and efficiency.

4. Space Requirements for Staff and Equipment

Congestion in the office may reduce the efficiency of the staff. Adequate space is provided in between the desks and to allow free movement. Number of windows, its size and its nature are also taken into consideration. Files and stationery items are properly stored. The need of maintaining number of private offices for management executives. Furniture and equipment must be positioned for ease in cleaning and servicing.

5. Effective Supervision

As far as possible, employees should face the supervisor whose seat should be placed towards the near of the working group.

6. Flexibility and Uniform Appearance of Office

The furniture and equipment used in the office should be of uniform type to ensure greater flexibility and more uniform appearance of office.

7. Office Systems and Procedures

Efficient performance of work is based on the office system and procedures. This can be attained only when the placement of employees and equipment is in such a way that they are fit in with the office system and procedures in operation.

8. Proper Lighting

Placement of desks and chairs should be in such a way that no employee faces an objectionable light source. Normally, an employee should receive light from his left hand downwards on to his work.

9. Employee Morale

Office layout should ensure job satisfaction and morale of employees. Employees whose work requires close concentration should be provided with partitions. Cloak rooms and toilets should be within the easy reach of employees.

10. Number of Private offices

Private offices are separate rooms, cabins or cubicles which are partitioned off from the other parts of the office. A private office requires two to five times more than generally required for an employee and increase the expense on lighting, ventilation, heating etc. Hence, private office should be discouraged and restricted. Private offices are generally provided for high officials or executives.

11. Ventilation

Fresh air is necessary for efficient performance of work. Special attention should be devoted when the office is not air conditioned and there is a mixed staff of male and female.

12. Expansion

The future expansion of the department must be allowed for. The additional equipment need to cope with the additional staff members and the expanded activity may be accommodated within the concerned department with a little adjustment.

13. Service Facilities

Drinking water, wash rooms, canteen, lifts, rest rooms, telephone, fax, computer and internet are the service facilities of an office. Proper provision should be made in office layout for the physical comfort and well being of the office employees.

14. Balance

Balancing gives a sense of responsibility. Pleasing appearance improves the image of the office in the eyes of the customers and the general public.

15. Special Purpose Rooms

All good offices provide a space for reception room and a conference room. A reception room should be attractive and well decorated and should be allotted a space very nearness to entrance. A conference room is necessary for conducting Board Meeting, Group Discussion, conducting interview and the like. The conference room is located far away from the entrance and general office and preferable on the top floor.

16. Safety

An office should provide an adequate number of exists. Space is allotted for maintaining old records and files. Office stationery items are used only and kept in a separate place.

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