Office-Planning And Layout Introduction


Office-Planning And Layout Introduction

When planning an office, a number of considerations have to be taken into account, such as the space into which furniture and equipment can be accommodated, the placing of work stations to facilitate the flow of work safety and design factors controlled by legislation, that is, Health and Safety at Work


In order to achieve the objectives spell out above, the following Act, and Offices, Slops and Railway Premises Act. general appearance, ease of communication, and so on. In order to achieve this, a plan can be drawn to scale, preferably on squared paper, showing the outline of the area, with doors and windows marked in and other fixed features. Templates can be used, that is, representation, often cardboard of furniture and fittings, cut out to scale from a stencil. Miniature drawings can also be made, or three-dimensional models are sometimes available from furniture manufacturers. For an approximate impression of a finished  desiccate easily movable symbols can be placed on a magnetic planning board. Sampled carpeting and curtain materials mounted on boards help to give a good idea
of the completed office.


Office planning and layout could be described as the physical arrangers-ck that is provided for a working place. It has something to do with the a read location and the manner by which the departments of an office and its equip are set out physically


Office planning is not undertaken for the form of it but to achieve some objectives. Below are the basic objectives of office planning.
a. To increase the productivity of an office. This means to carry out to office activities with less cost.
b. To give employee a comfortable and good working environment in order boost staff morale.

c.To encourage an easy flow of work.
d. To provide room for future expansion

How to Achieve The Objective of an office Planning

In order to achieve the objective spell out above the following must be put in place

1. Orderly flow of work: The passing of work from one employee to another should be arranged in an orderly fashion. Work should not be passed forward in procedures. In other words, there should be no “crisis-crossing” or  “back- or backward, so that there would be no omissions of any activities of  conflict

2. Effective Supervision: The supervision’s desk must be placed in such a manner that the will be able to carry out an effective supervision. His desk may face those of his staff either directly or angularity.

3. Staff’s comfort and convenience: The office environment must provide sample comfort and convenience through the use of suitable furniture. The requirements of the Offices and Factory Acts must be met by providing adequate lightening, ventilation and sanitary conveniences. In addition,
office environment must be beautiful and sightly.

4. Flexibility of Office Arrangement: The office arrangement must be flexible to give room for a likely future additional staff. Therefore, use of  screwing or concreting of equipment to the office space might be avoided.

5.No Distractions: An office environment must be free from any noise both All the departments that work together could be located adjacent to one another for instance, the accounts, the audit and  the
Departments offering common services should be centrally placed e.g the registry for records fiting, the mail dispatch departments and the reference traeking” within and without. Noisy machines should be removed from clerical staff and put in separate rooms with doors always kept shut. Furniture and
equipment, when moved, should be lifted and not dragged to avoid any noise making

6. Reasonable Cost: Office furniture, equipment and decoration must be at reasonable cost


a. The location of the various departments and sections must follow a pattern that would help in the realization of the objectives for which the office is set up. For instance, some departments are better placed in the ground floor apartment. Such departments include:
Those using heavy equipment like photocopying machines and the production department.
The department that receives visitors and customers, the reception room.
The display department that puts “on show” the products of the firm.
(ii) and (ii) above could occupy the same and first room of call of the organisation with a receptionist in attendance.
b. All the department that work together could be located adjacent to one another for instance, the account, the audit and the cashier’ s department.

c. Department offerings common service should be centrally placed e.g the
registry for records filing, the mail dispatch department and the reference

d. For reasons of least possible interruptions, conference and board rooms should be tucked away in the remotest parts of the office building. possibly on the last floor and very close to the Managing Director’s office. In fact, all senior management staff should be kept away from noise as far as possible.

e. In like manner, documents demanding “top secrecy” and “confidentiality
should be separately kept, far away from the generality of common files.

f. Department handling jobs needing good light could be located on the last flood of the building

g. Each department should be close to “convenience” facilities like toilets and hand washing basins

h. Above all, the arrangements must give room for possible expansion in the future is also required. The Office Manager in collaboration and in co-operation with the architect should ensure that the types and amount of space are provided for efficient performance of work.

Denyer (1977) held the view that layout is an important aspect of an office manager’s duties because (a) a properly planned office assists in the  efficiency of in which the workers would perform should take cognizance of physical
i. Personnel are hired in order to perform some specified duties as them. The job of one staff is complementary to the other staff in the etting work done, (b) economics arise from the proper utilisation of floor space (©) supervision can be facilitated, (d) intercommunication can be speeded
up, better use can be made of office equipment and machinery, and (f) from the worker
viewpoint, a well-planned office should be conducive to his comfort and morale whereas cramped, badly planned layout can have the opposite effect. Duties of the staff establishment;


A well-planned office layout will no doubt, contribute to the achievement of maximum office efficiency, but the planning must take into consideration  equally important factors:
(i) Personnel in relation to recruitment methods and source; selection and places of staff, using some of the more scientific methods now available. Also,
training  including the provision of training facilities for personnel at all levels  in add to promotion-the maintenance of adequate personnel records and the instate of some adequate system of promotion. Staff appraisal should be carried to order that workers can be rated on the basis of their performance. The
environment psychological factors.

Office Equipment; Staff should be provided with the necessary tools, such as furniture,
stationery and machines with which to work. Staff who are not provided with
sufficient and relevant equipment should not be blamed for non-performance,
In assigning space to various departments, it is important to consider the various departmental flow of paper work and channels of communication. That means that the departments that work together should be contiguous. This need not always apply, because personal contact can often be replaced by
telephone. Similarly, departments with heavy traffic from outside the business, such as
personnel, purchasing, etc, should be located close to the reception area, and have The influencing factors in the choice of an office site will include the followingndirect access from outside.
Objectives of space management
Space management in the office, according to Osuala (1982) entails:
i. The working environment which encompasses lighting, air conditioning and colour design.
ii. The needs of the organisation which embrace departmental location, special work centres, services areas, and executive office requirements.
iii. The work being performed which involves providing space allowances for employees and flow of work.
iv Provision of adequate space for furniture and equipment in the most economical arrangement.
v. The provision of adequate space for future expansion.


The person responsible for the planning and layout of the office must aim to secure maximum efficiency combined with economy. In order to achieve the objectives spell out, the organizer of the business must direct his  attention to the
Site location of the office
Floor space and layout
Staff required.
Duties of the staff.
Office equipment
2. Site Location of the Office:

The influencing factors in the choice of an office site will include the following

i. Effective cost: It is a known fact that building or rent costs are lower in some areas than others. Certain areas may be attractive because of the availability of Government grants.

ii. Labour Availability of the required bypes: Bifficulties will be experienced if the produce uses a type of pour already in short supply in the area. The predominant requirement may be, for example, for part-
time women workers, for unskilled workers, for technicians of a particular

iii. Labour Cost. Related to (ii) above will be the effect of shortage of
iv Transport Facilities: Access to a motorway would be an obvious
advantage, proximity to ports would be beneficial to exporters.
v. Local bye-laws: Some local bye-laws concerning building restrictions,
vi. Housing and Social Facilities: A shortage of these will affect the labour
vii. Possibility of Expansion: Expanding the site may be a consideration
viii. Proximity of commercial Service:

b. Floor space and layout:
Office layout is the arrangement of personnel and equipment within available floor space in an office building. The design of the office  building according to thimekpen (1996), affects its interior space and its effective  use. Office layout should be constructed scientifically, and this obviously calls for a
knowledge of the flow of work, of individual requirements, of what might be required


The following factors should be borne in mind in office planning and layout
1. Present and future needs of personnel and equipment should be considered
2. . Private offices should be located where they may not interfere with the flow of work
3. Suitable lights, and if possible, air-conditioning should be located away from the public view.
4. Units which make much contact with the public should be located, as fare
possible, near the entrance.
a private office.
7. No employee should face direct sunlight.
8. Employees ordinarily should face the same direction.
9. furniture and equipment should be of uniform size.

12. Departments and divisions which have similar and related functions should be placed tear each other to reduce travel time.
· When arranging furniture and equipment in a small office, it is rarely to achieve the ideal but you can make the best use of the available space and facilities. Make a scale plan of the room and scale cutout for the  furniture and equipment. Various arrangements can then be tried to find the best  solution. Shaw
(1978) listed the following points which should be borne in mind.
(a) Equipment or other items which have to be used frequently should be  near an
(b) An accounting machine operator should be placed near the records storage
© People who have to work together in one way or another should be located
1. The office controls the factors of production, namely land, labour,
capital and
2. The office is central to personnel administration, purchasing and sales
c) Telephones should be placed on the left-hand side of the desk (if the person
e) There should be adequate space for opening doors, moving between desks, for movement of equipment such as record card trolleys and for movement around equipment such as duplicating machines and filing cabinets.  If ventilation is by opening windows avoid placing desks whore the users
are likely to be in a drought or where papers will get blown about. Locate machines such as telephone switchboard, teker machine and duplicating machines where the noise of operation will not distratt other people from working and where the operators will not be disturbed.
(b) Space is very often at a premium but no one can achieve maximum  productivity
in cramped conditions. Allocate space according to the requirements of the work to be done even if this means a more senior person having smaller office than his subordinates.  Ensure that there are no electric cables trailing across the floor. Either insta}} ·
plug sockets in suitable places – they can be placed in the floor if  necessary -or have the flex stapled firmly to the floor or skirting.


The functions of the office in business are;

  1. The office controls the factors of production, namely land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship
  2. The office is central to personnel administration, purchasing and sales activities
  3. the office is used in the production and distribution of goods and services.


In West Africa, over half of the offices in use are conventional four-wall type However, many office buildings are being built or remodelled.  the office landscape concept are adopted in designing the layout


Private offices are provided by using partitions. The partitions are usualy less than the ceiling height or at a ceiling height. The partitions are  made of plastic, metal, wood or glass. Another method of providing privacy is by means of a barrier made with file cabinets or other standard pieces of office
equipmeze Office workers who need visual and limited privacy use file cabinets to
obtain to effect. This arrangement makes it easy for supervisors and their assistants manage the office effectively


The following are the reasons for installing private offices:
1. They create prestige in the eyes of employees and visitors because they are partitioned
2 The nature of work being done is usually confidential.
3. The work requires a high degree of concentration.

Limitations of private offices

Private offices have the following limitations:
1. Most private offices are not fully utilized because the officers are rarely on seat.
2. There is less efficient supervision because of the separation of the
supervision from the employees
3. There is occasional interference with light and ventilating conditions in the office.
4 Private offices are expensive to maintain
5. Alterations in private offices cannot easily be made without tearing down walls or structures

Tulis would be largely confined to separate floors except where gravity It does allow for a smoother flow of work and brings planning more flow
Documents which are processed by a series of clerks in a single transaction Office processing, planning, execution and control of work are  simplified in Single-storey buildings are more convenient for accommodating heavy machinery and for the movement of materials. Modern building of this son can be of simple but the relative cost of land capable of alteration and tension than a multi-storey building.
Multi-storey building should be cheaper to heat because of less heat-loss theorgh the roof but more artificial lighting would probably be required. will pass easily forward from one clerical operation to the next.

The open office; Staff can locate one another more readily than if in separate rooms and less
time is spent in walking about to find co-workers.

1,  Where the need for rearrangement arises, structural alterations can be  kept
The task of the supervisor is lightened because he has an instant view of how staff are occupied in his section.
There is a saving of lighting costs and floor space.

Limitations of the “Open Plan Office:
1. Clerks in large open offices are often subjected to too many  distractions.
2. Open offices tend to affect the esprit de corps and discipline of  supervisors.
3. The factory-like appearance of the open office is not conducive to  optimum performance
4 Managers tend to be drawn into routine matter while the morale of the more ambitious employees is lowered by their being submerged in the  unidentifiable mass surrounding them.
5. The open plan office becomes untidy too soon.
6. Some functions cannot be handled in an open office, for example,  confidential
duties, typewriting and wage preparation. rely on perviser
A custom-built factory would be specific to the production requirement. It
would also probably have better lighting, heating and ventilation than one
which had to be converted,
2. Single- storey building are more convenient for accommodating heavy machinery and for the movement of materials. Modern building of this sort can be of simple but the relative cost of land capable of alteration and extension than a multi storey building.

3. Multi-storey building should be cheaper to hear because of less heat-loss through the roof but more artificial lighting would probably be required. Traffic would be largely confined to separate floors except where gravity chutes and lifts were used.




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