3 Apps for Laying Out Office Space

by Christy Rakoczy on October 10, 2013
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Only about one in four U.S. professionals has an optimal workplace environment, while the rest struggle to do their jobs effectively, according to a 2013 U.S. Workplace Survey [PDF] by Gensler, a global architecture, planning, and consulting firm. A poorly designed office can negatively affect collaboration, innovation, and employee productivity, engagement, and morale.

So, why make your staff work in a poorly designed space? You may be able to change its layout without hiring an architect or interior designer. Here are three software tools for Mac and Windows PCs that can help you create a more functional setup.

  • OfficeSpace — This web-based app provides a powerful visual tool for reconfiguring your office. It lets you input information about your space and move people and equipment around through a simple drag-and-drop process. The software allows users to generate different views (including bird’s-eye) of your  proposed and finished design. Users are charged a monthly subscription fee; prices vary based on number of employees, hosting options, and services. A free demo is available.
  • Qube Space Management — Input floor layouts, space use, individual desk locations, and IT gear, then drag and drop desks and assets to relocate them. The web-based app is compatible with most computer-assisted design (CAD) environments, as well as with SQL databases and web-based technologies, which means you can interface with existing company databases and move staff and assets from anywhere. Prices vary depending upon hosting options, features, and integration with third-party products.
  • SmartDraw (pictured) — SmartDraw is less feature-rich than the other two apps, but it’s also simpler and more affordable. You can download and use the basic version for free or buy the full business version for $197. Its clip-art collection and drag-and-drop feature let you easily reconfigure your office layout. Designs may be saved in various formats, including AutoCAD Interchange. According to CNET, SmartDraw “functions extraordinarily well” if you aren’t doing full-blown design work.
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