“The determination of the space requirements and of the detailed utilization of this space in order to provide a practical arrangement of the physical factors considered necessary for the execution of the office work within reasonable cost.”
“The problem of layout relates to the arrangement in the space involved so that all the equipment, supplies, procedures and personnel can function at maximum efficiency.
Systematic and scientific arrangement of different departments and equipments on a well defined plan, so as to get the maximum benefit from the space available can be called as office layout. In an average firm, it is not possible for the management to do all the jobs.
In many cases division of labour has to be applied. When the division of labour is applied, the job of an entire office is divided into as many sections or departments as necessary. It may also be not possible to accommodate all the sections in one room or on the same floor. While making the office arrangement, the following objectives are to be noted:
1. Office layout should ensure an effective, steady and smooth flow of work. A straight line flow of work is preferred for the work will move forward from the beginning to the end. It will increase the speed of work. There is less danger of losing papers due to regularity. It will keep clerks and executives at their desks and check unnecessary movement of papers and enable maximum control.
2. Arrangement of the department must facilitate speed and smoothness of the flow of work. A proper and constant flow of work means that the work moves from one operation to the other through a system which will fetch high result. This must borne in mind and facilities should be made for regular flow of work which adds to efficiency,
3. The receptionist section should be near the main gate or entrance, so that the customers may feel convenient and easy.
4. Preferably the different sections or departments of the office must be nearer to each other, because the sections may be interconnected and one section cannot work without seeking or referring to the other department. If the interlinked departments are located far apart, much time is wasted to go over and come back.
5. The office of the Secretary or the General Manager or section-heads that outsiders have to visit, may be placed near the receptionist’s room, so as to provide easy approach.
6. While dividing the whole space, each department may be given adequate space so as to enable the clerks to work freely and move freely during the course of work. As far as possible, any space of the floor should not be left out.
7. The office records, equipments, machines, etc., may as far as possible be kept in their respective sections. This will facilitate to speed up the work. If the files or machines are kept at a place, which is far off from his seat, the employee will have to waste his time.
8. Certain sections such as interview section, enquiry section dealing with the progress report of the staff, etc., require privacy. These departments or sections will be provided with privacy by allotting separate rooms.
9. The position of the supervisors must be so adjusted that they can easily observe the activities of their staff and watch whether they are engaged in work or chitchat.
10. The equipments or machines which make noise in their operations should be placed away from the clerks, who do paper work. If space is not available, sound proof walls or partitions must be erected to reduce the noise.
11. There will also be noise from external sources. If there is much disturbance, double- glazed windows and doors may be fixed.
12. Adequate facilities must be provided to the executives and the staff to work in comfort. The facility may also refer to systematic arrangement of furniture and good atmosphere.
13. There must be sufficient, natural or artificial light.
14. As mentioned in 8 and 9, let it be remembered that most of the office work is done mentally. If there is much disturbance it will be an obstruction to the clerks to do their jobs. There will be delay in doing the work. Clerks may feel irritated. This must be avoided to maximize efficiency.