Department seating – where should you place each facet of business

Determining who should sit where in your office may seem like a small detail, but it can actually be an incredibly impactful decision. Whether you choose to group people by department, day-to-day tasks or personal preference – the layout of your office can affect the productivity and energy throughout your workplace. Before determining if this is the right fit for your group, consider what type of organization you are. Businesses can be service-based or product-based or a mix of the two. Although each organization will be different in this area, let’s explore some different options when it comes to the facts of the seating chart in your organization.

Department Grouping:
Seating departments together seems like an obvious choice for many organizations and has proven to be a popular way to format your office. Depending on how your department works together, this can help to increase productivity and build team morale. This structure will work best for organizations where each member of the department works on the same type of work, collaborates on projects, and/or must create solutions together. People find it easier to communicate the closer they sit to their team, so by placing them all together, you are encouraging a high level of communication, creative problem solving, and collaboration amongst the group. Organizations that operate on a more project-based level or are not large enough to have entire departments will likely want to stray from this option and explore other seating options. This option will be best for product-based organizations and singular service-based organizations where a singular type of service is sold.

Day-to-Day Tasks/Projects:
Smaller organizations that operate as a business from project to project will find this approach the best for productivity and organized work. If your organization is service-based in any capacity and the services are not grouped by department, then this option will be an appealing one for your organization. Seating people with their project teams will be helpful for them to keep up to date with tasks, easily communicate, and eliminate the need for constant touch base meetings. If your team operates where each person on the team handles a different piece of the project, then this will also be a helpful seating tactic and eliminate the need for department-based seating.

Start Date Seating:
Grouping people by their start date can be incredibly effective for large organizations with a singular service. This can also be helpful for larger organizations that have organized programs for new hires. This will help the new people in your organization feel welcomed, supported, and part of the bigger picture. This is a great way to streamline training and can help build strong relationships amongst the group.

Personal Preference:
Letting people choose their desks is not as common as you may think in the business world. Sure, we have seen this approach become more popular in education, but professional organizations like to have a strategy behind their choices, including seating. Although not popular, this seating method does have a time and place in the business world. In small organizations or at a smaller level of a mid-sized to large organization, this can be used to give employees freedom within their space. This freedom can help increase creativity, comfort, and ownership within the office environment. Often used by letting someone choose out of predetermined options, this method can be successful for organizations that want to make it work.

At the end of the day, seating will not completely alter the culture of your organization, but it can certainly help shape it. There are many different factors that go into the seating of your organization like personalities and working hours, but you know your people best and how they will work at the highest level. 

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