Office layout means the systematic arrangement of departments, personnel and equipments in accordance with a well defined and well thought out plan. It is regarded as one of the most important function of the management. It is primarily concerned with the arrangement of men, departments and equipments within the available floor space. A bad layout plan increases the cost of work and results into wastage. According to Terry “the determination of space requirement and detailed utilization of this space in order to provide a practical arrangement of the physical factors considered necessary for the execution of office work within reasonable cost.” According to Hicks “the problems of layout relates to the arrangement in the space involved so that all equipments, supplies, procedures and personnel can function at maximum efficiently.” Office layout involves the following features :
It is a systematic arrangement of space available
It fixes up correct amount of space for each department and machine.
It facilitate in providing of best possible working conditions.
It ensures steady flow of work.
It ensures better control and morale on workers.
There are two types of layout called group layout and process layout. In group layout persons doing similar activities or machines performing similar operations are grouped together whereas in process layout men and machines are arranged on the basis of sequences of operation. The placing of filing section next to despatch section is the best example of process layout. Though two types of layout are found neither of these two types have exclusive use. Both type of layouts are combined together to attain the desired level of work, Because of this reason we find that typists are placed next to important executive, though typing machines are centralized.
The advantages of office layout systems are :
(a) It makes maximum utilization of floor space and thereby gives economy in the utilization of space.
(b) Good office layout plan assists in increasing the efficiency of the work done as it allows steady and continuous flow of work,
(c) It facilitates better supervision as office layout makes proper h arrangement of desks and equipments.
(d) It ensures better utilization of equipment and machinery.
(e) A good office layout plan brings comfort and morale to its employees.
(f) It speeds-op inter communication among the various departments.
(g) As men and machines are arranged on the basis of sequences of operation, it ensures a forward looking flow of work.
(h) As sequences of operations are clearly defined and placed orderly, it facilitates a better working knowledge on sequences of operation.
(i) A good layout plan assists in the efficiency of getting work done.
(j) Good office layout plan encourages free movement of office personnel because the staff can move freely to their working place.