As your teams grow and change or when you move office, you’ll come across this unpopular fact of office life – having to change seats. For whatever reason, people just don’t like changing seats; maybe they have their desk set up exactly how they like it, perhaps they are sitting at the part of the office with the exact right amount of sunlight and warmth, or maybe it’s just the effort of moving every few months – you’ll often find great resistance when there is a big seating change.
It can be hard when you’re the person who has to come up with a great seating plan. You want to break people out of their habits, get them out of their comfort zone a little bit and remove them from their silos. Don’t worry, although you might never have the perfect seating plan – you can never please everyone after all – there are loads of benefits to having a routine change to your office seating plan.
Ensuring That the Right Teams & People Are Sat Next to Each Other
There are two things to take into account when it comes to making sure that the right people are sitting next to each other – you need to consider teams that would benefit from sitting next to each other, as well as the people in the teams. Consider teams that work closely to one another – you’ll often find that accounting and the operations team end up working side-by-side, so it makes sense to seat them together. Likewise, the IT team often ends up working closely with data teams, so it’s worth putting them together too. Understand the make-up of your various teams, figure out how they work together and then set your seating plan appropriately.
Once you have considered how your teams are seated, it’s worth figuring out who should sit beside each other and who that will benefit. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this. In some companies, it may be beneficial to sit some of the most experienced members of the team beside some of the newer employees, so that they can share wisdom and advice, as well as company processes with them. This will help bring your new team members up to speed much quicker, helping them to become efficient and allowing you to get value out of them much sooner. It’s also worth considering how the personalities on each of your teams will mesh together. You won’t get any benefit if the team members you seat beside each other don’t get along, and spend their time antagonising each other instead.
Identify the Good Parts of the Office
It’s always true that there are better parts of an office than others. Maybe not everyone in the company will be aware of this, but some areas end up being preferable to others. When moving people around, it’s important to do this in a way that causes the least amount of unhappiness in the various teams. Sometimes, the best areas of the office can be left for the executives – as a kind of reminder of the pecking order and hierarchy – or it can be used to allow teams to intermingle more in companies that have a flatter structure.
Sharing the Office Resources
Another thing to consider are the office resources. Being practical, each desk will require power, an internet connection, a phone connection, and access to other amenities. This means that your office plan also depends on the layout of your resources – your IT team can normally help you with this, moving around power outlets and ensuring that everyone has access to wired or wireless internet etc. So be sure to liaise with them before deciding on the office seating plan.
What an Office Seating Plan Means
Overall, the main thing to consider is having an office environment that satisfies the modern workforce. Rows upon rows of an impersonal cubicle farm no longer cut it. Open floor plans are what the modern workforce expect as they are more flexible, more open and better enable communication and collaboration.
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