Seven - Panama Real Estate Development

Seven – Panama Real Estate Development

The Panama commercial construction boom is obvious when you look at the cranes perched all over the city.  While the Panama condo building boom has certainly slowed down over the last few years, it has been replaced by new office towers dotting the skyline.

This boom has brought increased prices.  And that means the Panama businesses that use these commercial buildings need to look at smaller and smaller offices.  Businesses are forced to get by with the same job functions and employees as before.  But in a much smaller space.  Efficiency is at a premium.

While at one time, businesses were able to setup their offices “half hazard” with whatever “felt” right, now, a more methodical plan is required.

Break Your Business into Departments or Functions

The first step to effectively designing your office space is taking into account what tasks need to be accomplished.  And then breaking the business into departments.  It doesn’t matter how small your company, you will find your business functions can be broken out.

Employees within each department should be grouped together.  It is very inefficient to have staff that needs consistent interaction to be placed at opposite ends of a building.

Split out Job Roles and Function

After breaking down the business into various units, you need to take it one step further.  Think about the job requirements for each employee.  What equipment is needed by each in order to do their job?  Consider computers, phones, fax machines, printers, desks and other equipment.

Different roles may require similar office equipment such as printers and fax machines.  For example, it is likely that everyone from marketing to receptionists will need access to a laser printer or fax machine.

But, others might use specialized equipment that only they will ever touch. Your receptionist will never need to use your large format plotter.

Consider Existing Workflow Data

Even more important than the breakdown of departments and employee job descriptions, is actual data on a typical days work flow.  If your business is already running, this data should be easy to capture.

Observe how your employees work and interact on a daily basis.  And try to design efficiently around that.  Once again shared equipment is an obvious way to reduce floors space, and making it accessible is valuable for efficiency sake.  But, if several different roles are printing all at the same time, this could cause a backup.

If you are creating a new business, this may be more difficult.  You need to make the department considerations above, but ensure that flexibility is part of the plan.  Layout your office design in a way that will be easier to change if you notice efficiency improvements you can make at a later time.

Discuss Design with Your Employees

Your employees, even if they are new and never worked with you can be a great source of data for your office design.  Many will have experience at other offices and that information may be valuable.  Their primary purpose of being at work may not be enjoyment, but happy employees are generally more efficient.

Discuss with them what road blocks and obstacles they see to making the most efficient use of their day.  Ask what would make their job easier or more enjoyable, and try to work that into your space design.  You might not be able to provide private offices to everyone, but perching someone’s desk right next to an air-conditioner, noisy generator, or very busy piece of equipment may make it difficult to do their job.

Think About Furniture

If you already have office furniture, you need to consider its size and shape.  If you don’t this is the time to think about the style you are going after.  Office equipment is being designed more efficiently all the time and is specifically aimed at getting the greatest amount of use out of your commercial building space.

Are you going to be using large executive style desks?  Or more efficiently designed cubical layouts?  Do you have a “public” facing receptionist, who needs to be close to the front door?  And how much space is their desk going to take up.

Do your executives desire large private window offices?  Do you need a conference room or shared / collaborative workspace?


Plan Layout

In a small office, having one printer for each job role may take up to much space.  But, if you stick a printer in a corner out of the way some where, it’s inconvenient for users at the other side of the building.

Common equipment should be grouped in a central location accessible to each department and role.

On the other hand, if one department or role needs a specialized piece of equipment, it should be moved out of the way so others aren’t interrupted in their day to day activities.  If equipment will only be used by one employee, it should be placed in their office, cubical or desk.

Talk With Your Architect / Designer / Builder / Landlord

At this point, you will have considerable data about how your business operates, what departments need to work together and the individual job role requirements within each department.

You understand where equipment can be placed so that is easily accessed by everyone who needs it.  While being out of the way of those who don’t.

This is the point to sit down with your architect / designer and figure out exactly how much floor space you have to deal with.  Consider the shape of the space, the furniture size and the departments.

With the floor plans in place, it is easy to visually move around the placement of furniture, equipment and even personal.  You can actually use cut-outs to imagine how your staff will accomplish all of their tasks in the best way possible.

The most important thing to consider when designing an efficient Panama commercial building space, are the functions necessary to run your business.  If employees are blocked from doing their job, or if common tasks are difficult or cumbersome, efficiency is going to drop drastically.

Your goal should always be to share as much as possible, and to allow flexibility in layout and work flow.

Promoting the benefits of spaces that have multiple uses, as well as office equipment and furniture that is versatile will go a lot further than trying to feed egos with private equipment and offices that are never used.

Also, continually monitor the use of your space and look for inefficiencies that can be fixed, or improvements that can be made.

As the price of commercial building space in Panama continues to rise, it is important for every business, regardless of how large or small to try and use their space footprint as efficiently as possible.  Through proper planning, and considering the specific individual tasks that are needed for your business, you are well on your way.

Concali’s architects and design build team are here to help you with your Panama commercial building needs.