News & Research Archive

Laying Out your Offices

Aug 20, 2007


Office space comes in many sizes and shapes. You have rectangular looking spaces and more squared looking spaces. In addition, many office spaces have columns that can either add or take away efficiency to a space. What space works best for you is really based on what you are trying to accomplish in terms of the efficiency of your work environment.


If you need more private offices then open area, a more rectangular type of space works best. Rectangular type spaces typically allow more window line to place more offices against. However if you need private offices but you are consistently communicating with employees in workstations then a squared office where you can surround the workstations with private offices is best suited. This allows for not only better communications but also better work performance because everyone is more or less watched by their fellow employees during the workday.


Rectangular offices usually mean more window line for offices and less workstation space, but it also means that you probably have less file room and server areas. You also possibly will have less conference room area. Where as squared off offices can be more useful because these areas can be created into more interior type spaces that tend to be larger and wider.


Columns and column spacing can also create or take away efficiencies to a space. Some newer buildings have little or no columns, which allows for total flexibility in terms of sizes of private offices, conference rooms and layout of workstations. Buildings with columns can have spacing that allows development of workstations around a column. This allows for cheaper costs to install electrical and data which can be installed off the column versus in a column free space off the ceiling or sides of space. Power poles seen from the ceiling to the floor can make the space look less appealing.


With rental rates going up, knowing the best layout of space is critical not only for the efficiency of your day-to-day operations, but also in terms of paying the least amount of rent for that efficiency.


If you are not familiar with what layout works best for you, an experienced real estate broker can help but most will also recommend bringing in an experienced architect on board before a search begins as well. Remember that in both cases you want professionals that work strictly in commercial type properties. Residential and commercial are two different disciplines in real estate and you want consultants that do commercial only.


Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 22 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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