Office Design/Layout

  • Are you troubled with deciphering the exact needs required when planning & designing your office space?
  • How do you distinguish what office furniture is needed?
  • Which would suit your needs best: a desk, work-station, or portable desk unit?
  • Are you under estimating or over estimating the amount of space you will require?
  • What is your working style?
  • Do you have a tendency to "spread out" when you work?
  • Do you like things out of sight?
  • Are you more of a visual person?
  • Are you currently juggling space for your computer & papers all in the same work area?
  • How much lighting is needed to work more efficiently & effectively?
  • What type of lighting do you prefer?
  • How much space will be needed for storing surplus supplies?
  • How extensive a file system will you need?
  • Do you invest in lateral or vertical file cabinets?
  • How do you calculate future growth & space needs when planning your office?

    These topics & much more will become incorporated into this section as the 1,2,3, SORT IT website expands. Check back monthly to gain a better perspective on what planning your office really entails.

    In the meantime we are providing a checklist to assist you with many of the concerns that need your attention when you invest the time & money in creating, planning & designing your work space.

    Planning for an office involves many details including these key concerns:

  • Spatial Design and Layout
  • Electrical Requirements
  • Lighting
  • Ergonomics
  • Spatial Design and Layout:

    How you use your space is critical in determining how to structure the layout of your office. When setting up your office consider these issues:

  • Establish primary and secondary work areas for these tasks:

  • Plan for accessible file systems:
  • Allocate space for storage of office supplies:

    Electrical Requirements:

    Plan for these electrical needs:

  • Outlets:

  • Telephone lines:


    Lighting is critical. Consider these three key sources:

  • Ambient light (overhead)
  • Task light (on work stations)
  • Natural light (sunlight/moonlight)



    "The science that seeks to adapt work or working conditions to suit the worker; the study of the problems of people adjusting to their environment."

    Ergonomics is a key component when planning any office. With the rise of work related injuries involved directly from office layout, this topic is becoming more of a critical factor than ever before as technological advances expand.

    What's Your Ergonomic Quotient?
    by Ergonomist Sally Longyear

    If you answered "yes" to even one of the questions, your work-stations and work habits need improvement. If you answered "no" to all of the questions on the test, congratulations! You are probably comfortable while working at your desk.

  • Following is a list of considerations that can be addressed when establishing a work-station or area for employees.

    1. The eyes need to be approximately 24 - 36 inches away from the screen, where the neck is bent within a 15 degree angle, up or down. The top of the screen should be just below the eye level.

    2. The back and shoulders need to be relaxed and in a natural position, with the worker sitting firmly against the back of their chair.

    3. Elbows need to rest comfortably on arm rests, yet closely to the sides of the body, in a 90 degree angle. Wrists need to extend from the arms at this angle as well. Fingers are slightly curved upward, where the keying motion is gentle and comfortable.

    4. Knees need to also be at a 90 degree angle with the feet securely on the floor or a footrest.

    In order to give you a better idea of all the components involved in addressing ergonomics please feel free to refer to the Healthy Home Office.

    Building and Office Layout...
    Source: Office World News - March, '97

    Some Statistics...
    Source: Corporate Real Estate Executive - October, '96

    Source: Business Week - December, '96

    Studies show:
    A 1% improvement in productivity...

    Effective ventilation, adequate lighting good acoustics and superior or indoor air quality....

    Computer programmers with larger workspaces and less acoustic and visual disruption...

    The installation of new high performance lighting ballasts...

    Equals 10% of the facility operating cost, or the entire utility bill.

    Can increase productivity by 6-16%

    Performed 2.6 times better than other programmers in the company.

    Has shown a dramatic reduction in The incidence of headaches and eyestrain.

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