The Top-Secret, Essential Geography of the Office
If you’ve ever walked into an office, you probably noticed the layout of the furniture seemed… different from every other office you’ve ever walked into. If this has happened to you, there’s a good reason for it! The layout of an office can be very important in terms of its productivity and even its appearance, so it’s not something companies just leave up to chance.
Determining Your Core Competencies
What are your core competencies? In other words, what do you do that gives you a competitive advantage over everyone else? Once you determine this and take it into account when designing your office space, you’ll be on the right track to making sure your employees are as productive as possible. For example, if you’re an accounting firm with clients all over the country who need their tax documents expedited and accounted for immediately, not three weeks from now (we’re looking at you traditional brick-and-mortar firms), then investing in a state-of-the art interactive virtual reality (VR) system might make sense.
Making Sense of Metrics
Metrics are just one tool among many that can be used to measure progress and understanding. They give data and form to questions, but they are not truth. To go beyond metrics, it is important to think about what we hope to achieve. We should ask ourselves: What’s at stake? What does success look like? What does failure look like? Then we should begin constructing metrics with these questions in mind. Remember, there are no wrong answers—only better ones.
Understanding Team Structure
Certain characteristics define different types of teams and how they should be organized. Every company will have a mixture of these different types depending on the demands at hand. The team can be broken down into four different structures that are all unique in their own way: product-based, project-based, functional, and matrix.
The most common team structure that you’ll see in companies is a product-based team. This means that one or more individuals are working on multiple projects at once and might be compensated differently depending on their role within each project. Product teams require strong leadership to stay on track because everyone works towards a shared goal. If you’re thinking about implementing product based structure, then it’s highly recommended to keep people cross trained so they can work in different areas without losing efficiency.
Your location in an office environment may say a lot about your career. Taking advantage of those relationships can go a long way. Below are some pointers to help you navigate the invisible geography of offices.
A desk on an outer wall could have its advantages. If you need to meet with people who visit your office or call in from time to time, they’ll find you more easily than if you’re hidden away. However, that same location can be seen as disadvantageous because it limits visibility to leadership. An inner wall spot is typically seen as a safe choice for upward mobility because you can always see who’s coming and going without being noticed yourself. It may also be a good place for someone who needs quiet and doesn’t mind not being on top of every conversation that happens in their company.
Zooming In on Locations
You’ll need a space where you can work efficiently and comfortably. It’s important to have an area for talking on the phone or chatting with coworkers, as well as one for sitting down to think or type out thoughts for projects. Set up your office in an area that’s away from distractions like appliances and other people so you can stay focused on what you’re doing. Bring a desk to your workspace and install cubbies or shelves with all your materials and supplies in one place, preferably within reach while sitting at your desk. Lay out all of your reference books before beginning work each day so you’ll always have them right at hand when you need them.
Putting It All Together
Feeling stuck and unsatisfied with your current job or workplace? The key to a better work experience may lie in making a change in where you sit. But before you pick up your phone to dial HR, read this list for the most common ways to transform your 9-to-5:
- Get Outside. Look for an office with natural light and plenty of windows that offer sweeping views, even if it means being on an upper floor. Bring in greenery like potted plants, live plants or hanging succulents to help create more green space indoors–studies show employees who work near living greenery are more alert and productive.
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