The best office layout – linear v radial v organic
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The best office layout – linear v radial v organic

Office layout plays a pivotal role in productivity and collaboration. Selecting the right design can be a complex task, with various factors to consider. This comprehensive guide aims to explore three prominent office layouts: linear, radial, and organic. By understanding the unique characteristics and benefits of each, businesses can create a workspace that fosters innovation, efficiency, and a cohesive work culture.

Linear office layout: Definition and Example

The linear office layout follows a traditional approach, arranging areas and departments in a sequential pattern, often in straight lines. This layout promotes organisation and is generally preferred by businesses with many established departments.

A classic example of a linear office layout is found at Savills’ global headquarters at 33 Margaret Street. Housing over 800 staff across seven floors, the design maintains a linear, open plan, covering nearly 100,000 square feet. This layout demonstrates the effectiveness of sequential arrangement, fostering a structured environment that aligns well with the corporate culture of established organizations. The streamlined design offers a sense of order, simplifies navigation, and helps in defining clear departmental boundaries, making it a favored choice for many businesses today.

Linear office layout
Linear Office Layout

Radial Office Layout: Definition and Example

A modern structure with areas and departments arranged in a circle from a central point of focus. For example, publishers may choose to organise their office in this way so the editor or editors are the nucleus of the layout.

Shoreditch advertising agency Mother adopts this style of office design. Each member of staff uses a 250ft concrete desk that is at the heart of their space in the Tea Building, which was originally built as a bacon factory in the 1930s.

Stephen Ledger-Thomas from Mother explains: “The great thing about the way the office works is that there’s not a spatial hierarchy in terms of where people sit. Every two months or so everyone switches tables including all the partners. You can only have as much stuff as you carry. This idea of people shifting around is really important, everyone should be aware of what is going on with everyone else at all times, and nothing is broken down into silos.”

The best office layout – linear v radial v organic
Radial Office Layout

Organic Office Layout: Definition and Example

An organic office layout is a fluid and adaptable approach to space organisation. Unlike traditional layouts, it prioritises the needs and preferences of the individuals using the space. This layout fosters creativity and collaboration, reflecting a more human-centric design.

One company that has implemented an organic office layout is The Barbarian Group, a digital advertising agency in New York. “The project is one huge table going through a big room,” says Clive Wilkinson, the architect behind it. “They [The Barbarian Group] were looking to achieve a cohesive single community in one space. The only thing you needed was a place to put your laptop and other devices.” The idea of a single table that snakes around the entire office was born with Wilkinson seeing the table as being “like an electrical wire, connecting everyone together.”

So which office layout is best? “It really does depend on your unique needs.” explains K2 Space design manager Chris Alldred. “Office design and layout should be influenced by your ways of working and company culture. Coupled with this, your building will often dictate the right layout for you.

Crossover - a flexible bench by Senator

Alldred is quick to point out that a new office layout is realistic and affordable for any company. “There are conventional furniture products available to buy that encourage flexible, collaborative working, with Crossover from Senator being a really good example.”

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