This is the arrangement of furniture and equipment within a given floor space. It should be designed so that staff can work effectively and safely.
The partitioned (conventional or traditional) office is a formal arrangement, which provides privacy and minimizes noise and other distractions. Separate offices lead off a corridor or a larger open office and are usually allocated to management and supervisory staff.
This is relatively inflexible and costly arrangement and is becoming less popular. Initial construction costs are high and communication may be hindered. This type of office arrangement also requires individual furniture, fitting, air conditioning and lighting.
The open plan office (landscape design), has no fixed dividing walls or partitions but may have a number of free standing screens which do not go right to the ceiling. These are used to form individual workstations. Filing or storage cabinets may also be used as space dividers, and sometimes the desks are grouped to form clustered workstations.
This is a very flexible arrangement as partitions, filing cabinets and/or desks may be moved to allow for changing needs. Designers have developed modular furniture to meet the requirements of this layout, maximizing the use of work and aisle space. Communications flow more freely and there is greater interaction of employees. It is easier to share facilities such as photocopiers, facsimile machines and printers.
There can be some disadvantages to an open plan office. Noise and other distractions may hinder concentration and reduce productivity. It can also be difficult to organize private or confidential discussions, although there are usually rooms set aside for meetings.
Organizing your work area
Plan your work area so that you can work comfortably and efficiently. The computer is usually for central item on your desk. Put the information and materials for whatever you are currently working on and place items you use only occasionally at the right position on your desk.
Draw a floor plan of an office and make a list of the equipment in use. You can do this by observing an office to which you have access, for example at your training institution. Using the office where you work part-time or have has work experience. Referring to the illustration of offices you have collected. Discussing functional office layout with your friends who are in office employment.