Which Call Center Cubicle Layout Is Right for You?
Staff and performance management programs make a call center successful — but never underestimate the importance of an efficient workplace to your brand. Employee comfort is sometimes overlooked when depending on your budget. Consider how a comfortable, unified workplace can result in improved productivity and lower costs.
The goal of any call center cubicle layout is to increase productivity while conserving space, with bonus points if the company saves money as well. There are several layouts that accomplish these aims. Which one you choose depends greatly on your company’s goals, resources, and culture. Read more about call center layout considerations below:
Why It’s Crucial to Choose the Right Call Center Layout Design
Every business is different — which is why you need an office layout that’s tailored to your business’s needs and goals. Choosing a call center cubicle layout that matches your company can provide certain benefits, including:
Aesthetics: Studies have shown an important connection between workers and workplace design. The color — or lack thereof — in your office can influence your operators’ mood and emotions. In a profession where calmness and patience are key, the aesthetic values of your layout can positively contribute to workers’ demeanor and effectiveness.
Budget: Higher productivity, greater staff retention and automated technology will save your company money for the long term. All of these things are greatly improved with the right layout.
Cost-effectiveness: When you’re investing in new office furniture, you want to get the most out of your money. Considering cost-effectiveness isn’t limited to the present. It also encompasses what will be cost-effective for future additions and remodels. Finding an optimal office layout can help you get the most product for the least amount of money now and in the future.
Emergency procedures: The layout of your business should streamline making a quick exit in the event of an emergency. All staff should be able to safely exit without the layout creating additional obstacles to the available doors.
Functionality: The right office layout is rooted in practicality. A cubicle layout that wastes valuable space doesn’t leave room to grow or maximize your floor plan. But cramming too many cubicles into a small space can make it difficult to maneuver and concentrate. Choosing the right layout will ensure you’re getting the most out of your space without sacrificing function.
Growth: Investing in a dynamic layout is one of the most reliable ways to prepare for future growth. With enough room for more workstations, you can hire more employees while making minimal changes to the current structure of operations.
Morale: A communal work environment that offers privacy makes your call center unique and establishes a social culture among employees. A dynamic design will put agents in the right mindset for interacting with customers and supporting each other.
Productivity: A proper cubicle layout keeps your operators’ needs in mind. Interacting with individuals over the phone can become stressful. Choosing the right layout can equip your operators to be more productive and power through work challenges. From a human standpoint, you’ll have happier employees. From a business standpoint, you’ll have increased productivity and revenue.
Staff retention: Employees will want to stay in a workplace where they feel comfortable and supported. Having a lounge area where employees can regroup helps with stress management.
Teamwork: When employees can communicate well with the other agents and share ideas, work flows more smoothly for everyone. The right layout helps build a collaborative team.
Variables to Consider When Choosing Your Layout
The type of layout that fits best within your facility will depend on your unique characteristics. Consider each of the following to narrow down specific cubicle needs:
Available space: Unless you’re moving into or building a new office, the space you have available is fairly set in stone. Though designers can help you get the most out of your space, your floor plan is the unchangeable foundation for your layout. It may be helpful to collect room measurements and schematics to aid the planning and decision-making process around your space.
Number of employees: Another key element in addition to your space is the number of people who will fill it. Start with the number of operator employees you have now, but also consider the big picture. Do you maintain a relatively stable number of employees, or are you growing? Your layout should be able to accommodate today’s crew as well as future employees.
Employee space needs: When selecting the actual cubicles, you’ll need to consider the amount of space your employees need to thrive. Your operators likely use a computer and a headset to complete their jobs. If your call center has any other standard equipment, you should factor that into the equation as well. A simple way to determine space needs is to ask employees about their current cubicles and gather data about how their space serves them. Selecting the smallest option that can hold an operator’s equipment may be cost-effective, but it may not provide the comfort and functionality needed to work well.
Noise level: Noise level can escalate quickly in a room filled with busy operators. Too much noise at once can make it difficult for operators to hear, add precious minutes to their calls and decrease overall productivity. An average office ranges from 40 to 50 decibels of noise during work hours. A study conducted on call center noise found ranges of 68 to 79 decibels throughout the day. Your cubicle layout — in addition to the cubicle’s construction — can help mitigate the increased noise levels in your facility.
Budget: Your budget is another key factor in determining your office layout. Some layouts are more cost-effective, especially for larger facilities. When you determine the desired budget for your upgrade, keep in mind that inexpensive isn’t always better. Investing in quality products that serve your operators well can pay off in productivity returns and long-lasting cubicles.
Design: Replacing your cubicles is a valuable opportunity to consider the current office aesthetic. Do you want to elevate the space and add more visual appeal? Is there a certain look you’re aiming for with the upgrade? Some cubicle brands allow you to customize your products with different colors and wood styles to achieve the look you want. Consider how you can capitalize on your purchase to provide a fresh look for your call center.
Common Call Center Layout Designs
With your specific needs in mind, you can begin to browse different layouts and products. Each design has advantages and disadvantages to weigh for your facility. Here are some layout design ideas for call centers you should consider incorporating into your space:
1. Classic Rows
The classic row layout is exactly what it sounds like — cubicles aligned, side by side, in rows. Picture the classrooms desks of your youth with added adult responsibility, and you’ve got it.
Some of the pros of a classic row layout include:
Space-efficient: When you line cubicles up in a row, you can fit a lot of them into one space. Because most buildings have square or rectangle room shapes, a row orientation will likely fit into a wide variety of call centers.
Cost-efficient: A row orientation allows you to place small cubicles in close proximity. Smaller cubicles paired with space-efficiency lowers your cost per unit and allows you to get the most for your money.
Simple: Aside from measuring your space and calculating how many cubicles you can fit, a row layout doesn’t require much planning. Rows keep your office design simple and no-nonsense.
Some of the cons of a classic row layout include:
Atmosphere: When you’re sitting in a sea of small cubicle rows, it can be difficult not to feel crowded and small. A row layout prioritizes function over atmosphere, which may not facilitate the best work environment for every call center.
Aesthetics: Rows of cubicles don’t leave much exposed floor or create much visual interest. As a result, your call center may look and feel smaller. If the aesthetics of your workspace matter to you and your employees, a row layout may not provide the right look.
A quad layout uses cubicles that have four separate workstations in one. Some manufacturers also create pods with more than four attached desks, but quads tend to be the most common product.
Some quad cubicles look like large tables divided into sections like a pizza with four desk “slices.” Other quad styles take the shape of a plus sign made up of four L-shaped desks. Whatever the configuration, a quad layout creates neighborhood-like clumps of cubicles scattered throughout a floor plan.
Some of the pros of a quad layout include:
Open feel: A quad layout facilitates an open office feel, while maintaining the privacy and noise control of a cubicle. The increased open space can make an office feel larger and more inviting when compared to a row layout.
Collaboration: Because quads put four operators at the same table, it can ease and encourage collaboration. Team members can confer with one another and work together when necessary without having to get up and walk across the office.
Aesthetics: Quads fight against boring cubicle layouts with an interesting and modern design. If your call center could use a design revamp, quad cubicles could transform your space’s look with minimal changes.
Some of the cons of a quad layout include:
Less space-efficient: You won’t be able to pack as many quads into a room compared to rows — especially if the quads are circular. If space-efficiency is a high priority for your organization, quads may not be the best fit.
Future additions: If you experience a steady influx or outflux of operators, quads may make adding cubicles tricky. Without the right number of employees to correspond with the quads, you may have to sit someone on a quad island by themselves. Organizations with varying employee head-counts may find this inconvenient.
A zigzag office layout utilizes specially-shaped cubicles. Instead of having a long table with cubicle divisions on each side, a zigzag cubicle combines multiple upside-down V-shaped workstations to create a connected zigzag pattern.
Some of the pros of a zigzag layout include:
Modern look: When you ask people to envision an office filled with cubicles, a zigzag layout isn’t what they expect. That subversion is one of the zigzag layout’s greatest strengths. It provides a fresh and open look while maintaining the efficiency of interlocking cubicles.
Space-efficient: Each zigzag forms a straight line, which enables you to take a row approach. Zigzags maintain the space-efficiency afforded by rows without the sterile feeling of a classroom-like office.
Productivity: A zigzag layout combines just the right amount of privacy, comfort and proximity to others. Your operators may feel like they have their own office space in a zigzag layout, which could help them perform productive work.
Some of the cons of a zigzag layout include:
Cost: Zigzag cubicle designs are newer and incorporate larger desk sizes, which may make them more expensive than standard row cubicles.
Planning: Even though a zigzag shape is more convenient to work with than quads, it requires a decent amount of planning. You want your layout to appear cohesive within the office space and use the space well. It may take more effort or design skills to achieve this goal with a zigzag layout.
4. Supervisor Stations
A supervisor station layout could take many forms, but the general concept involves a cluster of cubicles attached to a single, raised supervisor desk. By sitting at a taller desk, a call center supervisor can complete their duties while surveying operators.
Some of the pros of a supervisor station layout include:
Easy monitoring: The positioning of a supervisor station layout allows supervisors to monitor operators’ work, identify issues and help resolve problems quickly. If monitoring and supervisor interaction is a key part of your call center’s workflow, this layout may be a convenient setup.
Space-efficient: Much like rows, supervisor stations have an ergonomic design. Though you may need to think strategically about where to position supervisor desks, you won’t have to complete much planning to implement this layout.
Some of the cons of a supervisor station layout include:
Superiority: When you elevate a superior’s desk over their coworkers, it can make them appear, well, superior. This might not promote a healthy work culture, even in the most balanced environments.
Less privacy: Having someone look down on your work removes privacy and can feel intimidating. Your operators may not work with the same productivity when they feel like they are being patrolled.
Creating a Healthier Call Center
If you feel like you need to make some changes to improve your overall office layout, here are some tips for getting things running:
Organize work areas with cubicles: You can keep the open floorplan of your office while giving each employee enough space for their daily responsibilities. Separated cubicle areas are preferable to closely placed desk spaces without barriers, which have been shown to impact employees negatively. Each employee will be able to focus more easily. Even with headphones, a noisy work environment is distracting, and employees can work with clients more easily in cubicles.
Install panels: If you already have a cubicle layout but feel employees need more privacy, panels help each worker focus while keeping the communal atmosphere intact.
Build enclosed cubicles: Fully enclosed workspaces offer the most privacy. They allow employees to socially distance themselves at work and can also be soundproofed to maximize concentration.
Why Let Arnold’s Design Your Call Center Layout?
There’s a lot at stake when you’re designing your call center layout. Between choosing cubicles, taking measurements and considering interior design, you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of upgrading your office. When you work with Arnold’s Office Furniture, we provide valuable assistance so you can keep your mind focused on what matters.
Exclusive: Arnold’s is the only Sunline Simple Cubicle dealer in the United States. The Sunline collection perfectly supports the needs of a modern call center with modular design, electrical capabilities and rapid installation time. Unlike other cubicles, Sunline products come together with sliding panels and very few tools. With a wide selection of accent colors and wood types, you can design a customized, top-of-the-line cubicle with affordable prices and outstanding durability.
Evaluative: As an Arnold’s customer, you’ll receive free office layout design services with your purchase. Simply submit your office floor plans and tell us about your requirements or requests, and our expert team will get to work. We’ll provide computer-aided design options that fit your parameters and work with your team to execute the best design possible.
Reorganize Your Call Center With Arnold’s Office Furniture
Revamping your call center layout shouldn’t feel intimidating and stressful. When you work with Arnold’s Office Furniture, we’ll take a load off your shoulders. Our experienced designers, high-quality products and outstanding customer service are here to make your decisions easy every step of the way. Once you’ve decided on a design, we’ll even install your new cubicles with quick and professional service.
Alissa has over 25 years of experience in the office furniture industry. For many of those years, Alissa was a Senior Interior Designer. She then took her love of design and working with customers to the sales realm and has been dedicating her knowledge there ever since. Learn more about Alissa!