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Collaboration & Team Management

Maximize A Small Office Layout

Small Office Layout

What happens when you cram heavy-set desks, over-sized swivel chairs, and massive shelves into a 400 square foot small office layout?

No space for your team, no space to move, and no space to collaborate. Furniture needn’t be your focus when setting up for a team to effectively work together.

The agile office layout incorporates design elements with strategic placement of minimalist furniture.

Basically, less is more; more space to connect teams, and the ability to make the most of even the smallest square footage.

These 3 agile office space savers foster teamwork with a flexible ease and simplicity:

  1. Design & Desk Space

The simple act of strategic desk placement can have the biggest impact on team productivity. Let’s go through the 4 basic set ups…

    • Paired Islands: Desks are scattered in facing pairs like islands within an open-concept room. Rotate the pairs on a monthly basis so that employees build close working relationships with everyone on their team.


    • Assembly Line: Desks are lined up side-by-side along the length of the room in rows. For some spaces, this will feel far too cramped, and perhaps more like a factory than a space for collaboration. Have your rows face each other to at least build a debate-style set up for conversation and ideation.


    • Blocked Seating: Desks are typically arranged in groups of 4, much like the paired island structure. A great set-up for team-based collaboration, but beware of the siloed groups that potentially form. Mitigate any isolation by rotating this formation on a monthly basis so that different groups can take shape.


    • The Bullpen: Desks form an inner-facing circle (or rectangle) so that you can get the most face time with everyone on your team. Think of the bullpen as the campfire or circle of trust for your team. Gather around, throw ideas back and forth, and bask in the creativity that ensues.
  1. Fixtures & Focal Points

Communicative areas of the office that are dedicated to teamwork are essential for small teams. Establish a feature wall with these go-to team-builders:

    • The whiteboard: Shake up the space and get everyone out of their seats for half an hour each day. Having a visual focal point that everyone can focus on together provides a welcome break from solitary desk time.


    • The roundtable: In corporate settings, the boardroom is a typical place for convening and collaborating, so why not bring the boardroom to your office? A small round table situated to the side of the desk area allows teams to share ideas in more intimate and informal setting.


    • The monitor: There’s nothing worse than crowding around someone’s desk to see what they’re working on, especially if space is already tight as it is. A presentation monitor draws everyone’s attention and allows team members to properly showcase their projects for feedback.
  1. Movement & Mobile Furniture

Space may be limited, so making the most of it means maximizing flexibility. You don’t have to switch up the space weekly to keep things fresh; let these functional and forward-thinking solutions do the trick.

    • Moveable desks: Desks on wheels. Who would have guessed that something so simple could transform a team environment? Embraced by business accelerators and start-ups alike, the mobile desk means working with whomever you want, whenever you want.


    • Collapsible meeting space: No room for a roundtable? No problem. Invest in an ergonomic-friendly standing table that can double as a back saver or simply collapse a round table and pull up your chairs for meeting time.


    • Expand your space: If the office is starting to feel stale, head outdoors for a meeting in the park or walk and talk on the way to your local coffee shop. You’ll come back to office ready to embrace the structure and productivity it affords after a welcome space break.

Office space is what you make it. Furniture, seating structures, and focal points can define the room and how it’s used. Embrace change and mix things up.

Try new office layouts and keep re-defining your space until your team finds what works.

Defining the design of your office space will be a naturally collaborative process offering a great chance for everyone to share ideas.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these ultimate office layouts.