Office furnishings
Table of contents

Properly furnish the office - What to consider?

The optimal furnishing of the office is a question that constantly accompanies companies. Due to a regularly changing working world - new working models, new legal requirements or changing demands of the employees on the office - the furnishing of the office must also be regularly adapted to these changes.

The office concept - the cornerstone for successful work

Before dealing with questions of furnishing and designing the office, there are conceptual and strategic considerations to be made. Because an office today is much more than a mere collection of workstations. In times of increasing hybrid work, the office must offer employees added value so that they decide against the home office and in favour of working in the office. Modernly designed offices are therefore oriented towards the tasks and processes in the company and help to optimise them. 

When creating a space concept, two basic ones should be answered.

  1. How many of the employees are in the office on a regular basis?
  2. What tasks do the employees have to do?

How many of the employees are in the office on a regular basis?

Until a few years ago, the question would have been how many employees the company had. But with the emergence of new working models (keyword remote work), the office landscape has also changed. Employees are increasingly working part-time or making use of the possibility to work in a home office. Freelancers are hired on a project basis and are only with the company for a certain period of time. All of this leads to a change in capacity requirements in the office.
Companies must take this into account and incorporate it into their office planning accordingly.

What tasks do the employees have to do?

Not all office work is the same. The requirements for office design differ depending on the area of responsibility. Basically, there has been an increased trend towards more communication and cooperation in recent years. This means that employees are increasingly working together on projects and tasks require ever closer cooperation within a team as well as across teams. This must also be taken into account in the design phase and the office space must do justice to this circumstance.

What are the different office concepts?

Every company is different. The number of employees, areas of responsibility, processes and, last but not least, the spatial conditions differ. And so there are also different requirements for the division of office space.

The following general office concepts are typically distinguished:

Cellular office

The cubicle office is the classic office for one or two people. It is still found in many companies, especially in public administrations. To make the best use of the available space, the individual ones are usually located along a narrow corridor. Also to optimise space, cubicle offices usually only meet the legal minimum dimensions.
Advantages Disadvantages
  • Cellular offices can be set up individually.
  • Temperature, air supply and lighting can also be adjusted according to personal preferences.
  • Above all, the possibility of being able to work in a concentrated manner without disturbing noises speaks in favour of the individual offices.
  • In contrast, individual offices have a comparatively high space requirement
  • The separation from the rest of the office impairs cooperation and communication with other colleagues and departments.
  • Since cubicle offices are comparatively static, they limit the agility to change the office layout.

Open plan office

The counterpart to the cubicle office is the open-plan office. A large number of employees work together in a common, open area. There are no concrete values for the area or number of employees above which an office counts as an open-plan office.

  • The short distance promotes cooperation and a quick exchange.
  • The large contiguous office space offers a lot of flexibility in design and structuring.
  • Individual requirements can only be taken into account to a limited extent in the large space.
  • The large number of employees creates a high noise level that makes concentration difficult and offers little privacy.

Group Office

A mixture of cellular and open-plan office is the group office. This concept attempts to combine the advantages of both. The aim is to enable effective collaboration and concentrated work at the same time. The separation can take place via permanently furnished rooms or with the help of mobile partition walls.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Thanks to short distances, a quick exchange is possible.
  • The acoustic and visual separation of the individual offices enables concentrated work and more privacy.
  • Noise is also a problem in group offices. Table partitions can contribute to improved acoustics here.

Combination offices

The combination office combines different approaches and leads to an individually adapted and optimised design. Individual offices exist alongside multifunctional areas. The multifunctional areas can be designed in different ways and offer café and lounge areas in addition to meeting facilities.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Thanks to the different rooms, the right place for concentrated work or teamwork can be changed quickly.
  • The sensible conception of the combi office makes extensive planning necessary.
  • As space requirements vary, more office space must be kept available, which can lead to greater space requirements and additional costs.

Open desk and non-territorial offices

A comparatively new concept that has emerged due to the increasing turnover through new working models is the non-territorial office. In the desk-sharing approach, workstations are no longer provided for each employee. Instead, employees choose a free workstation when needed.

  • On average, less space is needed per employee.
  • This can save costs (space, heating costs, etc.) 
  • The concept requires additional planning effort to allow for free office space as well.
  • Sharing workstations makes a clean desk policy necessary.

From these approaches, each company must find a solution that suits its own requirements. Although pure forms such as the cubicle office or the group office will continue to exist in the future, in most cases individual office concepts are inevitable in order to create the optimal working environment for the employees.

Suitable equipment for the office

The planned office concept serves to divide the available office space into different rooms. In order for the rooms to optimally fulfil their purpose, appropriate office equipment is required. Which office furniture, technology or work equipment is necessary depends on the respective area. 

With the following checklist, you can ensure that your office is properly equipped.

General infrastructure

Regardless of concrete concepts, every office needs a functioning infrastructure so that all employees can work without problems.

In times of advancing digitalisation, this includes a high-performance broadband internet connection. Take into account the number of employees and ensure sufficient transmission speed.

Furthermore, every office needs technology to process documents. This includes printers and copiers (or multifunctional devices) for duplicating documents as well as document shredders for professional shredding of sensitive documents. Which and how many devices are needed in the office must be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Companies should also pay appropriate attention to security. This starts with an alarm system to prevent theft. For the safety of the employees, a fire alarm system and a first aid kit are also part of the equipment.

Many companies now also take care of the wellbeing of their employees. They show their appreciation for their employees with coffee machines, water dispensers and snack machines. Air conditioning or mobile air conditioning units ensure pleasant temperatures in the office during the summer months.

Checklist General Infrastructure

  • Powerful broadband connection
  • Shredders, Printers & Copiers
  • Security equipment such as alarm systems, fire alarm systems, emergency equipment
  • Coffee machines, water dispensers, snack machines
  • Air conditioning, mobile air conditioners


Regardless of whether it is an open-desk policy or a fixed allocation, the workplace remains the primary place to work productively and with concentration. Accordingly, it should also be equipped with everything necessary. The minimum requirements for a workplace include a large desk, a comfortable office chair, good lighting and a computer. What else is needed depends very much on the respective area of responsibility and the needs of the employee.

You can find out more about "Optimal workplace equipment" here: Setting up the workplace correctly

Workplace checklist

Conference and meeting rooms

Due to the increasing importance of cooperation and communication between employees, the need for meeting rooms is also growing. In most companies there is a chronic shortage of conference and meeting rooms.

On the one hand, conference rooms must offer sufficient space for all participants present. A suitable conference table forms the centre and provides everyone with enough space to sit and hold documents and laptops. With comfortable conference chairs, you ensure that the participants can sit comfortably even during longer meetings. 

On the other hand, it must be possible in a modern conference room to allow external people to participate in meetings. This requires high-quality conference room technology. This includes telephone and video conference systems.

Last but not least, there is a need for modern presentation technology with which project planning and progress can be presented easily and well to all participants, such as beamers, televisions or smartboards.

Checklist conference and meeting room

  • Conference table
  • Conference chairs
  • Telephone & video conferencing technology
  • Presentation technology such as beamers, TVs & smartboards

Open Space

As a multifunctional space, open spaces are being included in the planning of more and more offices. The spaces can be used flexibly. They are ideal for short meetings with few participants, which makes them a good complement to conference rooms. With open desks, the open space is a popular alternative to a private workplace.

The specific equipment required for the open space can vary greatly and depends strongly on what the space is to be used for.

To create additional meeting possibilities, telephone and meeting boxes can be placed. Acoustic furniture can also be used to create meeting points that minimise background noise. Supplemented by smartboards, the areas are ideally suited for discussing projects.

Flexible workplaces can be created with desks, office chairs and suitable lighting. 

Checklist Open Space

  • Phone Booths
  • Acoustic furniture (armchairs, sofas)
  • Desks
  • Office chairs
  • Workplace lighting

Lounge area

Lounge areas are also becoming increasingly popular. Guests can expect a pleasant atmosphere with the lounge area while waiting for an appointment. But a lounge also gives employees the opportunity to relax in a pleasant atmosphere during break times and quickly switch between work and break mode. 

Comfortable seating landscapes can be created with sofas and armchairs, which not only serve to relax, but can also be used as an alternative for meetings in a relaxed atmosphere. Here, too, technology such as a smartboard or beamer can be used to expand the meeting point for more productivity. 

To improve the quality of break time, coffee machines and water dispensers can be provided.

Checklist lounge area

  • Upholstered seating furniture such as armchairs, sofas & stools
  • Alternative: acoustic furniture (armchairs, sofas)
  • Meeting technology such as smartboards, televisions, beamers
  • Coffee machines, water dispensers, snacks