Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

Office Location & Layout



Every   business   organization   wants   the   best   suitably location to use, operate in or run for its office. Where to locate office for any human endeavour is not an easy task. This account for the reason where many areas are thickly populated and termed urban centers, cities or towns while many other areas with vast expanse of unused land and sparsely   populated   are   referred   to   as   rural   or   less developed areas.

In order to choose the bet suitable location that will serves! as office for a particular business venture or endeavour, many things must be into consideration and thoroughly I analyzed vis-a-vis the situation at hand. This chapter w consider some of the factors that are germane and of] interest to location of an office.


Offices are designed with an eye toward managing the’ efficient flow of work and maximizing the use of office space   impact   office   productivity’s,   and   ultimately   the profitability of the organization.

The location of an office depends primarily on the primarily activity of the undertaking in question. The location of an office depends primarily on the sitting of the firm. It is the siting of the firm which must take preference and it is important to take into account certain factors.

Nearness to public transport and accessibility to other means of transport.
Nearness to shops, bank, post offices, cafes and restaurants.
Nearness to  firms or establishments of a  similar nature
Allocation and provision of adequate parking space.
The planning   authority   will   refuse   to   allow   the construction of office buildings without a provision of parking facilities.
Within an office building a number of considerations must taken when allocating space for offices.

Reception area: This must be easily accessible from the outside and is normally located at the main entrance and will therefore be visible on entering the premises.
Personnel office: In large firms with a personnel department it is wise to place the personnel office close as possible   to the   main entrance.   This is specially a requisite for firms with a high level of staff turnover or recruitment.
Purchasing office: Since suppliers will often need to meet with personnel     from the purchasing department, this office is often placed close to the main entrance.
Reprographic office: This is best placed in an area which is most easily accessible to all departments this is normally at ground floor.
Centralized office:   (Mail room, filing, messenger and accounts) should be central and convenient to other departments.

Office design, encompass many trends, which change as business theories change. For example, office spaces arc designed in some cases to encourage teamwork; in others, to reinforce new corporate values with less status-laden] private offices.

Effective office design and layout are based on the interrelationship among equipment, workflow and employees. In general, office layout is described as the] arrangement of facilities and workstations.

Traditional Office Layout

Cellular office: This is an office which has fixed walls and a door where a person would normally work on their own. It is usually furnished with traditional furniture e.g. a desk and chair. One or 2 people  work  in   a  cellular  office  and   leave   their ? Working material there because they use the same office everyday.
Permanent desks: Permanent desks are used by the same person every day and all the materials that they need to work with are kept in the desk. These desks belong to someone while they are at work and the same member of staff will usually occupy this desk everyday.
Modern Office Layout

a. Flexible work environment: A flexible workspace creates a very different working environment from the traditional office. In this type of office, some staff will work in the office full time and have permanent desks, while others will only come into the office during certain times that suit their needs.

b. Teleworking (Home working): ertain staff may work from home, outside the office or while traveling on business. Previously, it was necessary to telephones and photocopies. New technology allows staff to work from their own home or while on the more and keep in contact with the office using up-to-date telecommunications equipment e.g. laptop computers, mobile phones (e.g. communicator) and voice mail.

c. Hot desks: Hot desks are allocated to the staff who do not come into the office on a daily basis. Staff will book in advance for the amount of time they might need to use it. The desk will not be theirs, but one that is shared by other members of staff. The terms used to describe this type of working arrangement is hot desking.

Hot offices: can also be booked out in the same way allowing staff privacy if necessary without      them      occupying      can      office permanently.
Carrels: Are small booths, which allows a bit more privacy and freedom from distractions if required.
Touchdown: Areas  are  specifically for staffs who may need a place to plug in their laptop to check some figures for a meeting.
d. Workstations: The term workstation includes a screen, keyboard, desk, chair, software and systems, which the worker may use. In addition, health and safety factors such as lighting, noise, humidity and working conditions are important in the design of the workstation.


i. Cost/Finance: The cost of getting an office place in urban centres where we have densely population is much costlier than the cost of getting the same office in sparsely populated areas or rural areas. Toward this end, choosing a particular location for the sitting of office will depend to large extent the financial capability and resource at the disposal of the concerned organization (rent, overhead cost etc.)

ii. Infrastructural facilities: In urban centres and cities, infrastructural facilities such as access roads, banking services insurance services, postal/courier services, connected to national grids for electricity, nearness to sea & air ports: all these will help facilitate business activities, ensure effective and conducive environment for the business operation.

iii. Types of business desired: The nature if business desired is also at importance in location of office. There are certain enterprises’ that are concentrated in a particular area or location while other can be located anywhere.

If a business man is into such a highly concentrated business in a location, it is imperative to locate one’s office in such a designated areas to enjoy patronage and economy of scale e.g. motor Spare parts at Owode Onirin and Matori (both in Lagos State), Nnewi spares market at Anambra, Agodi Gate (Oyo state) computer sales and services-at computer village in Ikeja, Lagos; Video/VCD cassettes marketing at Alaba International Market and Idumota (both in Lagos state); Electronics markets (Alaba IntT Mkt, Lagos & Onitsha Bridge market ^Anambra); clothing materials at Ariara Market, Aba, Abia state etc.

However, all these items could be gotten or bought in other areas but sold at the aforementioned locations at cheaper rates and in bulks.


There are different forms of business organizations. The sizes of business organization will determine the location of the office of such business organization. There are some offices that are good for one man business called sole trader who run a chemist/patent shop but may not be suitable for a pharmaceutical/Dispenser stores owned by private limited company (i.e. 2-50 people) though both business offices are dealing in drugs.

Communication flow: The level and volume of communication involved in business must be given a deserved attention when considering where to locate an office. As the nature, form or structure of different business vary, likewise, the communication involved do vary. Where the business involved required high/low volume of communication, attention and consideration must be given to it as much.

Government policy/intervention: This is another useful factor to be considered. Government at all levels (be local, state or federal) may passed laws as to location of particular business in certain areas either for political, economical or social reasons hence, this a lots of effect on location of business offices.

Expansion/Future Desire: The desire of every business organization is to grow bigger, larger and better than what it was at the beginning or starting point in the nearest future. The viability and success of the business is determined by the level of growth and expansion should be nurturing how to expand hence put into consideration the future expansion plan when trying to locate his office ‘ (either to relocate with its’ attendant costs or bear the cost now and enjoy it later on).

Essential services: It is pertinent for a consummate business magnate to put into consideration the essential facilitating services that will be of benefit to staff, customers and associates such as parking space for cars/vehicles, telecommunication facilities, accessibility etc. All these essential facilities enhance business patronage and increase sales volume.

Availability of Suitably Qualify Staff: The availability of sufficient number of suitable would be employees in very important factor for office location in any given area at any point in time.

Convenience for Customer: Convenient or customers, workers and business contracts must be given prominent consideration when trying to “locate office for business venture. Many offices lack ladies/gents, good elevators, lifts, proper lighting to aid movement etc and this is not good for the image and prospect of the business.

Accessibility of the Office: This is another notable reason why many offices are largely concentrated in one location compared to other areas. The relative e ease with which to access or contact the office either through road, sea or air as the case may be play significant role in location of office. Business offices in Lagos Island, Ikoyi or Ikeja can easily be linked or accessed compared to those located around Alagbado, Ikotun or Ketu etc (all suburbs of Lagos).


The trouble or problem of locating office in a particular area  is  a  challenging  phase   but  are not  be  as  much challenging as planning,  the office to actually suit the objective of the organization, conducive for the staffers and pleasing as well as inviting to business associates and contacts.

Office planning involves consideration of the present volume of business and the trend in the future with minimum discomfort. Planning is one of the major functions of management. An office that is not properly planned may end up being hapzardly run or organized.

Anderson (1980) stated that office planning is paramount in any organization because it enhances the . smooth running of the business.

Nwakanobi (2003) defined office planning as the arrangement of office sin a building as well as the arrangement of furniture and equipment an office. However, office planning can be defined as systematic way of organizing an office in order to achieve the set aims and objectives of a business organization, i.e. the arrangement and placement of necessary tools and equipment to the benefit of workers and customers toward achieving organizational goal.

Objectives of Office Planning

To ensure effectiveness of workflow
To ensure comfort and satisfaction of the customers, employees, visitors etc.
It allows for ease of supervision at minimum cost.
It improves inter-communication system.
It will enhance flexibility of change.
It  can  be  used  to  create  positive  image  for the organization.
Space available is used to the bet advantage of the organization.


Aromolaran (1998) office layout can be defined as the arrangement of office furniture, fitting and equipment within the space available. Therefore, office layout is concerned with optimum utilization of available useable office space, i.e. arrangement machine, equipment, material and personnel so as to ensure free flow of operation in an organization at a particular period of time. The office layout is dynamic in nature; as what the layout look like today may give way to another in the nearest future or time to come.

Office layout is a function of many factors; they are:

i.       The available office space

ii.       Change in technology and production level

iii.      The work environment

iv.      The individual requirements (e.g. handicap people).

v.       Future needs and uses

vi.      The size of the business.

vii.     Workflow or sequence of operation

viii.    The organizational objectives.

All these factors must be considered adequately by office manager to enable the organization have a perfect type of office layout.

Types of Office Layout

There are two major types namely;

a.       Open office layout

b.       Enclosed office layout

However, in-between the two, ad-ho office layout or contingent approach may come up to suit a particular situation at hand.

Open Office Layout

This is also known as general office layout. It is a large open floor space where all categories of officials operate. There is no separate office for each staff. The space floor is not partitioned and no one enjoy luxury of privacy or immunity. Though, there may be different sections within it with each performing their tasks with managers, supervisors and subordinates all working together under one roof e.g. banking hall, stock exchange floor etc.

Advantages of Open Office

It saves cost as much money is not spent in partitioning, providing different facilities and lighting for different offices.
Available space is maximally used.
Overhead costs are reduced; as cost of maintenance, decorations, clearing and other services are avoided.
Supervision is easier and well enhanced, since the managers/supervisors are right there in the office with his subordinates.
The man-hour time is “saved as the movement or lay about of staff is minimized.
There is flexibility in the system as layout can easily be changed to suit any organizational changes or as situation dictates.
Good work flow and communication are maintained and easily facilitated.
Equipment and machine could be shared by different units and sections under the same roof.
Disadvantages of Open Office

Infectious diseases can easily be spread.
ii.       Gossiping and idle talk of less busy workers may affect the other workers that are busy with their work    especially    where    mental    and    maximum concentration are involved,
There is’ no privacy for confidential discussion or important documents,
iv.      The  superior  officers  may  not  be  psychologically comfortable   working   under   same   roof  with   his subordinate thereby lower his morale.
The atmospheric condition may not be’conducive in a crowded office with many officials, visitors and clienteles.
Lighting, cooling system and passage route may not be to every worker’s taste or comfort e.g. an albino working under heavily lit open office or a cripple working in an open office without consideration for his mobility; both may not fit comfortable.
Enclosed Office Layout

This is also known as private office. They are the types of offices demarcated or partitioned into small size or large {depending on the caliber of officers) for an official to use as office in order to perform his official duties. They can be in form of cubicle or partitioned with blocks or ply woods depending on the available of space and cash.

Advantages of Enclosed Office

i.         It encourages high concentration on the part of the occupant    a    noises,    gossiping,    idle    talks    are eliminated,
ii.       It   ensures   privacy   especially   when   confidential
matters and strategies are involved,
Lighting, ventilation, furnishing etc are made to suit the taste of the officer concerned (based on his and purse of the organization).
It boosts morale of the officers and thereby increases his commitment and hopefully productivity.
v.  Contagious    disease    or    infectious    diseases    are
reduced to bearest minimum.
It serves as a symbol of status and privileges to officers.
It provides better security for equipment and vital documents.
Disadvantages of Enclosed Office

The cost of setting up and enclosed office is quite expensive (cost of fitting, furnishing, partitioning, lighting etc).
ii. It is undemocratic in nature as class concept in introduced   i.e.   officers   in   comforts  and   luxuries while subordinates are packed in one office.
iii. It   makes   supervision   to   be   a   bit   difficult   as subordinate   and   their   superiors   are   in   different offices (this leads to eye service syndrome in offices) Enclosed office may become bore down when the officer is  less  busy  or  have   no  visitor  or  client around.

The guidelines for office layout from Keelong et al (1978) in Aromolaran (1998) are as followings:

Table should face the same direction, unless the workers are clustered in the pool.
The width of major traffic aisles should vary 5 to 8 feet. Less traveled aisle should be 3.5 to 5.5 feet wide.
Aisle space between tables should not be less than 36 inches.
Space should be between desk facing same direction; that is, the space occupied by chairs should not be less than 28 inches preferably 36 inches.
In the open layout, plants should grow to between 3.5 to 5.0 feet unless they are to be used as visual banners; in which case. 7 feet plants would be more desirable for their fullness and breadth.
Not more than two tables should be placed side by side in other to permit easy flow of human traffic.
Tables should be arranged in such a way as will permit easy flow of work.
It is desirable for file cabinets to be placed against walls for railings.
Staff on  the  closest work  should  have   the   best lighting. No staff should face the light.
However, Onasanya (1990) stated that before embarking on an office layout, the following guidelines should be considered.

Total labour fore that will occupy the office,
The duties to be performed by these workers, which will help determine those workers who will occupy the open office and those who will occupy private offices.
Office equipment to be installed,
Social and welfare facilities available to staff,
Total office space available,
Position    of    the    office    in    relation    to    other departments.
In Nigeria, the factories Decree Act 1987, requires a space of 400 cubic feet per person and this may be taken as applicable to the office worker.

Someone You Know May Need This, Share On Facebook or Whatsapp


  1. Yusuf dauda says

    I’m very impress with the work.thanks

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WANT TO CALL US? ClickHere!Business Plan Nigeria