The office is where all the work takes place. It’s where employees produce results, make ideas, and collaborate. It makes sense that the physical characteristics of an office have a direct impact on employees’ productivity, behavior, and performance.

That’s why you should learn how to set up an office wherein your employees can function properly. It should inspire them to work to the best of their skills and knowledge. At the same time, you should provide a safe environment that takes care of their health.

Check out our tips for setting up your office below.

1. Decide on the Office Layout

First, you need to consider the space you’re working with. How much commercial office space do you have? What are you planning to put in that space?

This will dictate what types of furniture you need to buy and if you need to make some partitions. There are many ways to divide a space into functional clusters. But, we’ll look into the most popular types, which are as follows.

Open Floor Plan

Open floor plans have been on-trend for the past years. In particular, they’re popular for start-up offices and small businesses.

In this type of layout, there are no partitions – only rows of desks and chairs. The advantage of this set-up is that it maximizes the use of space. It’s more affordable, too, as you don’t need to build partitions and rooms.

The idea of this floor plan is to encourage collaboration. By being able to talk face-to-face with everyone at all times, the employees can have more effective communication.

However, it can be challenging and it may not be as effective as you think. It can interfere with focus and in turn, productivity.

Some people working in this kind of set-up note the pressure they feel. They feel like all eyes are on them, so they must always look busy. This can take a toll on their mental health.

Numerous studies are making a case against an open floor plan, so you may have to consider other options. Some studies even found that people become more withdrawn in this environment.

The problem could be that it forces social interaction at all times of the day. And so, people tend to take a step back and communicate via chats and emails instead. This gives them a sense of personal space that an open floor plan doesn’t provide.

Private Rooms

The pressure of having to look busy at all times won’t be an issue with private rooms. In this type of layout, each employee (or most of them) has a room all to themselves. They don’t have to worry that they look like they’re slacking when they’re thinking.

This is a good idea if your employees have a lot of need for one-to-one meetings with clients. They’ll be able to have privacy and peace, allowing them to focus on the task at hand.

A disadvantage is that they’ll be in isolation for most of the time. Collaboration is going to take a lot more effort as you’ll have to go to other rooms.

This can still work if you put other spaces where your employees can gravitate toward and hang out. You’ll need to think of other ways to enable interaction, like setting up a lounge area.

Team Clusters

An effective middle ground between an open floor plan and private rooms is a team cluster. Each team would have a separate room for themselves, complete with productivity tools. They can have a whiteboard of their own in there and even a table for the team.

This way, the noise is minimal because they’re still isolated from the other groups. There are fewer distractions, allowing them to focus.

At the same time, they’ll be able to interact with their team members as soon as the need arises. Communications are more effective, leading to improved productivity.

The problem with this is that you might think meeting rooms aren’t necessary anymore. You still need them; individual teams aren’t the only ones who need to convene.


Cubicles are still a popular design choice in offices even today. It’s a good middle ground, as well. It offers more privacy but has fewer collaboration features.

It can replace individual rooms as each cubicle can still provide adequate privacy even for one-on-one meetings with clients. Partitions reduce distractions and pressure. The employees can also still work on sensitive documents and make phone calls.

The partitions don’t inhibit quick and efficient communications, either.

You’ll need more space for the cubicles, though. Putting them too close together might remove its advantages. Fitting too many cubicles in a tight space may result in narrow walkways and a noisy environment.

Other Considerations

When designing the floor plan, you need to account for the movement of the people. For instance, having the printers close by will result in less time wasted by walking.

If you want to encourage your employees to walk more, however, it’s more beneficial to have them on the other end of the room. You’ll have healthier employees this way as they won’t spend the whole day sitting.

2. Make a List of What You Need

Have you decided on a floor plan yet? You’ll then need to make a list of everything you’ll need to achieve that.

First, however, make a list of all the spaces you plan to incorporate into your office. It shouldn’t only have desks and chairs, right?

Bathrooms are a must, and they must be proportional to the number of people in the immediate area. When planning the bathroom area, bear in mind that public bathroom stalls need to be made with specific dimensions in mind, to be up to the ADA code.

Then, determine how many private rooms you’ll need. You still need meeting rooms of different sizes, no matter what kind of floor plan you have.

Some offices like giving employees a separate room for tasks like photocopying. You might even consider a lounge area wherein your people can take breaks or work with their laptops.

Do you expect visitors to come often into your office? You’ll need a reception area; even a small one will do.

If your employees’ job entails getting dirty, provide a dressing area of sorts where they can clean up. If you’re in the industry of commercial cleaning services, you need room for the supplies.

Lactation rooms, a gym, and such are also good ideas.

3. Consider the Safety of the Office

Aside from function, you also need to account for the safety of your office. You want to reduce the risks of injuries, which will also reduces leaves and absences.

Take a look at fire hazards in the office, like electrical appliances. Remove fire hazards by looking at the possible causes and taking steps to prevent them.

Make sure you have enough power and electrical sockets for all the equipment you plan to put in the office. Put designated smoking spaces so that you don’t run the risk of having an employee hide their smoking.

All walkways and fire escapes should be clear, too. Never put furniture near or in front of the fire doors. Employees should have easy access to these at all times.

The floor surface can be a hazard, too, especially if it’s made of marble or tiles. Use carpeting or other skid-resistant materials to reduce the risks of slipping.

You also have to think of the furniture and equipment, such as chairs and monitor stands. All equipment should be adjustable to prevent ergonomic injuries.

Don’t put them too close together to give the employees enough breadth. Tight spaces can increase the risks of falling due to clutter.

Taking Care of Your Employees’ Health

Healthier employees are more engaged and more productive. That’s why many companies put gyms in their office, as well.

On that note, it’s worth investing in their health, too. Create an office wherein your employees have proper ventilation.

Put enough personal storage space to reduce the clutter on their desks. Providing recreational areas allow them to unwind and reduce stress.

These are only a few ideas on how to take care of your employees. After all, the whole business will benefit from people that are in their physical and mental best.

4. Buy Furniture and Equipment for Your Chosen Floor Plan

The types of furniture and equipment you’ll need to buy depend on many factors, such as the floor plan, available space, and nature of your work.

Desks and Chairs

The desks and chairs, for instance, are dependent on the space and layout. Large tables that can seat multiple people are great for open floor plans. However, they may not have drawers or other storage.

For cubicles, an L-shaped desk might work better. Tables with partitions are great for call centers, while a simple desk will do for private offices.

Keep in mind the other tables you’ll need, such as in meeting rooms, the lounge, and the pantry. The same goes for chairs.

For the working areas, you need office chairs. The default choice for most companies is the revolving chair. Some, however, opt for the ones without wheels whether for aesthetic or functional purposes.

In lounging areas, you’ll need comfortable ones, like sofas and armchairs. Modular chairs are a popular choice for modern offices. Some even have custom-made ones.

Then, when you go to the pantry, you need a different set. They’re also different in meeting rooms, reception, and private offices.

Office Computers

The nature of your work will dictate the equipment. What OS and hardware do you need for computers?

If you offer IT services, for instance, you’ll need state-of-the-art computers. Businesses that deal with graphics and videos might prefer Apple computers more. In some industries, employees need them all, even tablets and mobile phones.

You might also consider giving your employees laptops instead. These are more portable, although they’re not as powerful as desktop computers.

Aside from computers, you also need to think about the other equipment you’ll need. Printers, photocopiers, and such are all must-haves in an office. Projectors, phones, and fax machines are a given.

Storage Solutions

You need to have enough storage for all your files, and your employees must have storage of their own, too. Each cubicle or desk must have some sort of storage, whether it’s built-in in the desk or a separate pedestal.

You’ll also need storage space for your office supplies, such as copy papers and pens. Brochures and other marketing items also need permanent space.


Aside from the function, you also have to consider the design. This is where your branding comes alive. Having a cohesive design will inspire unity and a sense of camaraderie.

It will also show the company culture, so you have to choose with care. If you’re planning on attracting the new generation of employees, having a well-designed office matters.

Bland and lifeless offices are going out of style; the younger generation is more drawn to offices that will make them want to come to the office.

Take note that the colors and design elements might also impact productivity. For example, blue improves focus and efficiency. Yellow inspires creativity, while green provides a sense of balance.

A good trick to level up your office in an instant is to bring in plants. Bringing in nature to the office is a good way to improve the feel of a room as having greens gives a sense of calmness.

They have the bonus of improving your employees’ health. They give out fresh oxygen and the mere sight of them can reduce stress. They can lift people’s spirits and promote wellbeing.

Make sure everyone has a plant in their view, wherever they’re seating. You’ll have to research what plants do well in an office setting, though. Having dead plants around might reverse the effects.

Learn How to Set Up an Office the Right Way

Learning how to set up an office comes with many considerations. It has a lot of impact on employee productivity, efficiency, and health.

It’s best if you take the time to learn more about a proper office set-up. Pick up more décor and design tips right here. Feel free to read more from our blog posts for more tips today.

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