The workplace and its overall environment play a huge role in the productivity of each employee involved in an organization, which is why making the necessary changes to turn it into a more functional and aesthetically pleasing place to practice one’s profession is crucial for the company’s performance as a whole.
In a fast-paced and hectic environment like a BPO office, having each employee strategically placed all throughout the floor in a specific layout can spell the difference between a company full of unproductive workers and one that functions like a well-oiled machine.
But with the current state of the BPO sector, many employees are suffering from stressful working conditions. Employees are faced with heavy workloads, strict procedures that are electronically monitored, and clients who are difficult to handle. These factors pose a problem and affect an employee’s productivity, so changes should definitely be done to improve working conditions.
The industry, in general, has much to do to make improvements, and companies can do their part by switching things up starting with the office layout, which is key to increased employee productivity. The most efficient BPO office layouts and designs are aimed to boost performance while maximizing office space since the work environment can positively impact an employee’s work quality.
But before we jump into some of the best office layouts, you should first consider the space. The whole production floor should be large enough to comfortably accommodate the number of employees working at any given time while making sure each has ample space to sit, move freely, and be far enough from each other to avoid distracting noise.
The design and facilities should also be aesthetically pleasing to make them enthusiastic enough to go to work every day without compromising its overall function.
Best Office Layouts
Workstations or cubicles lined up in a row is the traditional and most common arrangement for call centers. This is preferred by many BPO companies since it is easy to set up, relatively inexpensive, and doesn’t require a lot of planning for the entire floor space.
The rows of cubicles normally have high dividing walls, which reduce noise, prevent distractions from others who are taking calls, and give employees a little privacy. These walls may also hinder conversations and interactions between employees who need to seek information or professional advice from one another.
This layout also makes efficient use of the floor area by conserving space and making the arrangement of cubicles ideal for laying down the cables. Overall, it is the most cost-effective floor layout for its relatively cheap acquisition cost and simple setup.
While this is all fine and dandy, this arrangement is not the most cheerful and appealing to the eye, making it look more like a manufacturing production line than an office.
Some BPO companies have workstations grouped in fours, which are tables put together to form workspaces where two employees seated next to each other are also directly across two others. This setup typically uses low dividers so that employees have an easier way to collaborate and interact on projects, creating a more open environment with better aesthetics.
The layout may break the monotony of the traditional row of stations, but the downside is that there is a high chance of productivity dropping due to the low dividers and their positions where they face each other, which may tempt employees to dabble into non-work related conversations than focusing on the job at hand.
The zigzag or honeycomb layout strongly resembles the edge of an unfolded fan, where the corners of the cubicles stick out, giving employees more room to move around than the standard square or rectangular workstations. It combines the best features of both the traditional and new plans, which save space while maximizing productivity. It looks good, too.
This type of office layout usually includes high partitions, but the larger space provided by this setup gives less of an enclosed boxed-in environment compared to the traditional office arrangement. The partitions may also be made of translucent glass or plastic to let in more light and give a brighter feel across the whole floor.
While this is one of the most ideal layouts, a zigzag office arrangement is a more expensive and complex option, requiring more in-depth planning to maximize the BPO company’s office space.
The open layout offers no distinct rooms or enclosed spaces, but instead, employees are positioned together, usually sharing long tables with the absence of partitions.
This setup is relatively cheap and saves a lot of space compared to cubicles since long tables are commonly used. It opens up the whole office floor area for a more collaborative and interactive working environment where employees are also free to move without the restrictions of dividers and cubicles. And since the tables are easy to move, switching up the layout plan is going to be a breeze.
However, this kind of open environment comes with a series of problems. At a BPO company, noise is going to be the main issue due to the absence of segregation panels. There will be a lot of background noise across the whole floor from all the employees’ chatter while they attend to calls.
Wires and cables are also going to be tough to deal with, which can nullify the benefits you get from being able to move the tables around to change the floor arrangement. Unless the employees are using laptops, the cabling is going to be a nightmare to fix.
This layout is more suited to smaller office setups and BPO operations that don’t involve voice calls. It can establish a sense of camaraderie among personnel and boost productivity in projects that need a collaborative effort.
This involves a group of desks forming a circle or hexagon-shaped workstation that are divided by panels looking like pizza slices.
The layout gives a more open feel environment as opposed to the traditional square workstations, which can make employees feel boxed in. The pods make them freer to move around, and the inward facing arrangement encourages a collaborative atmosphere.
The circular shapes of the workstations are certainly more aesthetically pleasing than squares or rows, with the center working as a space for any decorative piece.
The triangular or trapezium shape of each employee’s workstation actually makes good use of desk space by giving them more elbow room while having everything within arm’s reach.
Having a pod layout may look pretty, but this can pose a few problems. For one, this is going to be difficult to plan since it doesn’t maximize office space. It’s hard to imagine this kind of layout in office floor spaces that are mostly rectangular. The effect is going to be expensive once you require more space to accommodate more employees.
BPO companies, as with any other firm, would always aim to find cost-effective solutions when looking for an office space to run their operations, including optimizing the office interior fit-out and floor layout to boost employee productivity. And since the working environment plays a pivotal role in this, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to make this work.
The whole production floor area must be big enough to house the number of employees you have at any given shift while making sure each of them is not distracted by the noise from all the phone conversations going on. They should also be able to sit comfortably and have ample space to stretch and move freely to lessen the stress they experience from their jobs.
Your office facilities, including the equipment used in everyday operations, should be well-maintained and working at all times. Technical issues should also be attended immediately to avoid bigger problems in the future. This is crucial in the performance of all your employees since anything that is faulty impedes their productivity.
The overall interior look of your production floor can have a huge impact on your employees. Avoid dreary designs that would drain the enthusiasm out of your employees. Use attractive colors that inspire creativity, with uplifting decors that can improve their mood.
If you are looking for cost-effective office space solutions in prime central business district areas, Figari can help you with everything you need. The company offers facilities leasing services that can assist you in gaining access to sought-after office locations even on a restricted budget. The company’s experienced professionals deliver world-class office space solutions while managing your facilities, support services, and IT needs.
Jen spent six years in real estate, with three years in commercial leasing and facility management. She is now the leasing director of Figari handling leasing and business development. Her charisma and dynamic attitude certainly make her the life of the party. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach and getting a tan.