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Office space design layout: Types of office layouts in office space design

The office layout isn’t simply a concept around which an office’s aesthetic is built. It’s also a concept from which can be established an atmosphere of productivity – employees that work in comfort, and in a space that affords ease of movement, collaboration and communication, are more efficient in their day to day. How your office space is designed, then, can often be a deciding factor of employee satisfaction.  

So, it stands to reason, then, that a workspace constructed with aesthetics and practical elements working in harmony, can only, in turn, promote a harmonious atmosphere.

But what are those elements? What are the different types of office layouts? 

Let’s address the types of office layouts first.

Types of office layouts

Cubicle office layout

The cubicle office layout is a partially enclosed office workspace that is separated from neighbouring workspaces by partitions that are usually 5–6 feet (1.5–1.8 m) tall. 


Its purpose is to isolate office workers and managers from the sights and noises of an open workspace so that they may concentrate, with fewer distractions.

This type of office layout is ideal for bigger businesses like banks and financial institutions, where employees often work in isolation with sensitive documentation, or take on call centre roles. The cubicle offers a measure of privacy, without the need for individual offices, and the floor space these can encroach upon.

Open-plan office layout

An open-plan office does away with partition walls altogether. Instead, work areas are created and defined using furniture. Desks may be lined-up, side by side to create ‘banks’ or they may be replaced with multi-person worktables called ‘benches’. 

An open-plan arrangement allows for natural light to flow as well as a moderate temperature to be achieved. 

This office space layout is one of high collaboration – perfect for fast-paced environments like start-ups, tech companies or agencies.

Co-working office layout 

A coworking space is an arrangement where workers from different companies share a working area. This allows for convenience as infrastructure is shared. All parties get to enjoy total flexibility – the commitment to a long-term lease agreement isn’t required.  

Again, this office layout promotes collaboration. Even though not necessarily collaborating with each other, an atmosphere where many types of business operate from one space, has been said to promote a somewhat inspired workspace.

This one’s also perfect for the high-paced business – tech companies and agencies.

Private office layout

This layout includes small rooms or cabinets which are separated from the open office by partitions. 

They are usually meant for top executives like directors, general managers, sales department managers and the like. Even though executives should be afforded private office space, as is their prerogative, these spaces will be few and far between. Also, such is the way the modern business world is moving, these executives may simply refuse offices, themselves. This, however, will depend highly on the nature of the business and the sensitivity of the intellectual property.

Private office layouts and their aesthetic, then, may be going the way of the dodo.

Team cluster layout

This layout involves members of the same team or department sitting in ‘clusters’. Perhaps the most collaborative space on the list, a cluster layout is vital for businesses that require team harmony on all projects. No member here will work in isolation, and this frees up much of the office space to do with what you will – perhaps add to ‘chill areas’, establish breakaway points, even put in a coffee station, here or there.

Lastly, in office layout design, consider your greatest asset

That asset obviously being your workforce. 

Employees that look forward to being in the office, and that can almost be as comfortable there as they would be in their own homes, have been seen to easily lend more focus to their assigned tasks. 

However, it may not merely be a matter of adding a lick of paint here and a bean bag there. The success of an employee-friendly office layout will hinge on the nature of the business and the collaborative requirements of the teams. 

Deciding which office layout is suitable for your team can be challenging. However, the productivity and collaboration spikes that come with a happy office space are worth the time and money spent.  if you are considering designing a new office layout, or even a redesigning your existing space, here are two factors that must be considered.

    • Privacy: Do your employees need privacy? Employee productivity, morale and satisfaction can suffer if employees who are required to do sensitive work behind closed doors are subjected to an open layout. Such a case would obviously warrant you move away from an open plan structure.


  • Collaboration: Opposite to the above is a need for teams to be entirely collaborative for project success. This case could call for an open working space, where even cubicles are disregarded. Just remember, even though restrictions are lifting, and people are slowly starting to get back to the office, social distancing is still very much the directive – protocols must still be baked into every collaborative office scenario.   


In summation, these are just a few points to consider when establishing the look and feel of your office space layout. The overall aesthetic will depend on your taste, your employees’ preferences, and the nature of your business. As detailed here, though, the type of office layout is your starting point and must be established to suit your business and the requirements of your greater workforce. From there, the office layout design world is your oyster.

At Giant Leap, we can help you craft office layouts that inspire. 

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