Design Your Office Like It’s a Neighborhood Destination

Design Your Office Like It’s a Neighborhood Destination Trendway Volo Wall

Every neighborhood has a unique look and atmosphere and so does your office environment. Single-family homes, apartments, local coffee shops, eateries, and parks make your neighborhood distinct from others.  The same goes with the office, especially now.  When comparing pre-covid / post-covid office design, we realize how important all the different components that make our “office neighborhoods” really are.

Your office should have a unique look and feel based on your company’s culture, branding, and the personalities of employees in their respective positions. Work environments should feel welcome and comfortable.

The neighborhood feel of a company’s office is going to be different than an employee’s home office.

Design your space for movement, mutual support, and the connections that won’t be made anywhere else.

Pre-COVID and Post-COVID Office Comparisons

Comparisons between pre-covid / post-covid office cultures are staggering. Telecommuting has been around for a couple of decades, but the shutdown radically popularized the concept of working remotely.

Pre-Covid / Post-Covid Office SitOnIt Novo Chair
Photo: SitOnIt Seating Novo Chair

Pre-COVID, the City of Los Angeles had only 35 of about 50,000 employees working remotely, according to a write-up on the tech industry website dot.LA. 

Suddenly, in March 2020 about 18,000 employees were allowed to work remotely. And in mid-2021, it was estimated that 60% of the city’s workforce could work a hybrid schedule.

Now that the shutdown is a fading memory, many companies expect employees to spend more time in the office and there’s less enthusiasm for hybrid schedules among big corporations.

By summer 2022, a CNN report noted that Goldman Sachs had all employees back in the office full-time while 90% of JP Morgan’s staff returned at least three days a week. 

Give them a place where they’ll look forward to being in. A well-planned environment helps employees feel fully engaged.

The Perks

Many workers believe they were just as, if not more, productive at home when the pandemic hit as they were in the office. According to career research firm Zippia, about 2/3rds of Americans work remotely, at least part-time. And they like it because they cut down on commute times and feel productive. 

But here’s where the office setting has an edge over a home office or other remote locations.

About half of those surveyed reported that they feel lonely at least once a week. Digging deeper, we find that 19% of work-from-home employees stated “Isolation” as their #1 problem, and 70% felt left out of their workplace.

Build a community feel in your office to engage your employees so they have a positive vibe when coming to the main office.

Turning Data into Office Planning Strategies

Businesses are successful when they meet needs in the marketplace. What if you treated your employees like they were the customers of your in-office brand?

Yes, they have to meet company goals, but if they’re satisfied with the support they receive in their immediate environment then they’ll feel engaged in their work. They’ll make it through daily challenges, and morale will remain positive.

That alone will give your firm a boost over the competition.

Developing an office that has a neighborhood vibe requires thorough planning for space allotment and functionality.

Workstations as Neighborhoods

The aim of the office isn’t just to get work accomplished, because that can be done remotely for many positions. But the purpose is to bring people together in support of company goals even if employees aren’t there 40 hours a week.

Organize workstations for an efficient flow of tasks and the sharing of mission-critical information. Bring one department together in one area, or create specific project areas if people from different departments and skills are needed.

Your neighborhood can change and adapt as projects start and finish.

The DeskMakers TeamWorx Open Plan Desking allows for numerous configurations so your team can give input on how their neighborhood is established. 


Photo: DeskMakers TeamWorx Open Plan Desking

Gathering Spots as Neighborhoods

Just like the General Store is a symbol of where communities gather, your office can have important gathering spots. What better place to start than a conference setting, breakroom, or lounge area?

Pre-Covid / Post-Covid Office OFS Riff Table
Photo: OFS Brands Riff Table

Elevate your conference room from the mundane to a place of inspiration. Select décor that puts the mind at ease. One way is to bring in nature by making green walls with the Nevins Bio Canvas Frame. These acoustic moss frames require no maintenance.

Equip your room with stylish and sleek tables that foster open collaboration and fit well within the space.

Design Your Office Like It’s a Neighborhood Destination Stylex Verve Chairs
Photo: Stylex Verve Chairs

Add character to your meeting areas and equip them with the latest distance communication capabilities by using solutions like the OFS Obeya Architectural Structure. 


Photo: OFS Brands Obeya Architectural Structure

Bring flair to your breakroom and lounge with furnishings that allow for either face-to-face chats or personal private moments in the same setting. 

Consider the ERG International Laguna Lounge Seating which is perfect for a range of public settings and common areas like cafes and lobbies. It’s constructed for maximum enjoyment and reduces the need to constantly shift positions.

Pre-Covid / Post-Covid Office Erg International Laguna Lounge
Photo: ERG International Laguna Lounge Seating

Outdoor Spaces as Neighborhoods

Your outdoor areas may be limited, but it’s crucial to make use of them. Natural light is vital for our well-being and even small patio areas can be reserved for work, periods of relaxation, or as meeting areas.

Set up a canopy, provide durable seating like the SitOnIt Seating InFlex Chair, and use a sturdy table made with steel and aluminum, like the classic-looking Allermuir Turo Table. These options make it easy to freshen up outside.


Photo: Allermuir Turo Table

Turn to 2010 Office Furniture

Wrestling with pre-covid / post-covid office design and ideas?  The experts at 2010 Office Furniture can help, with more than a combined half-century of servicing and supplying clients who are among Southern California’s largest corporations, nonprofit organizations, and robust small businesses.

Contact them with your space planning and furnishing questions and needs to make your office space not only more functional, but a desirable place to work.

Read Also: Design Your Office Space as a Welcome Gathering Place
Main Photo: Trendway Vollo Wall
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Allermuir, DeskMakers, ERG International,
OFS BrandsSitOnIt Seating and Stylex Seating

6 Types of Spaces Every Office Needs

6 Types of Spaces Every Office Needs Trendway Standing Height Table

Keep those cubicles up and the office lights on. Why? If you’re thinking work-from-home isn’t working for you and your company, you may be right.  Studies show that there are essential, different types of spaces that make for a productive and positive workplace, that working from home just doesn’t accommodate.

The corporate office remains important because we think more clearly and benefit from collaboration. 

The return to offices after COVID-19 showed that the office setting provides social interaction that individual remote offices can’t.

Researchers also learned that employees were productive in the home setting. 

In conclusion: the two environments don’t need to be mutually exclusive. 

Instead, plan to utilize spaces effectively so team members feel comfortable in the corporate office or the home office. Think through the types of spaces your office needs to help your team function productively.

Offer Welcoming Spaces

Home offices are often pleasurable because you feel welcome and comfortable in a space that you know well. It’s yours. 

Well-planned corporate offices can integrate the elements of home yet maintain an atmosphere where tasks are accomplished. 

Welcoming spaces include colors and furnishings like break areas that have a living room feel. Use bright colors or pleasant earth tones throughout the office space. Fabrics and accessories like throw pillows can give a down-home, be-yourself feel.


Photo: Encore Seating Chance Guest Chairs

Being at home is as comfortable as wearing a pair of old shoes while an office has more rigid expectations and requires equipment that gets the job done. Bring the personal and professional together with a variety of ergonomic chairs like the Friant Amenity Chair or the Humanscale Diffrient Smart Chair. Both have lower back support and adjust to the user’s weight and movements. 


Photo: Humanscale Diffrient Smart Chairs

Provide accessories that give workers support while using keyboards and well-lit desks.

Check our Inspiration Center’s Resimercial page to see how tables, lounge furniture, and specially designed chairs lend to collaborative conversations.

Bridge Distant Spaces 

We’ve been convening from long distances long before the pandemic hit, but with quarantine, media rooms have become even more of a necessity.

Provide a setting where your team can access the latest technologies needed for teleconferences and other forms of distance communication by using architectural walls that have character, yet maintain a clean, professional atmosphere.

Different Type of Spaces with Trendway Volo Wall
Photo: Trendway Volo Wall

Enhance Group Spaces

Trends show a continuing reduction in the individual workspace, but an increase in spaces for group work. How should you approach planning your space for either individuals or groups, like ad hoc groups?

Are informal meetings an important part of your company’s culture? If so, remote work can undermine it according to a 2021 article in the Harvard Business Review, Do You Really Need All that Office Space?

Managers “need to think carefully about what role informal interaction plays in their team and how working from home will affect it.”


OFS  Beck Table

Group workspaces can, and should, be welcoming spaces, too. Plenty of quality benching solutions are available. Keep it sleek and simple with the ODS Artiv Open Plan Benching, or create a group setting for personal privacy using acoustic panels with the DARRAN Honey Workspace. 

Different Type of Spaces with DARRAN Honey Workspace
Photo: Darran Honey Workspace

You can have a traditional meeting room or in an open office plan, designate an area for group discussion with the use of specific chairs and modular furniture. 

Mobile whiteboards, plants, and bookcases with artfully placed pillows and books help muffle the sound.

Use Clustered Spaces

An open office design can have a cluster of workstations with privacy screens and mobile or stationary filing cabinets. 

Use office plants to serve as boundaries between other workstations while helping filter the air and deflect sound waves.

Allow for Empty Spaces

Try reading a web page or printed page with huge blocks of text and no white space. 

Sound intriguing? Hardly. You’ll gloss over the page or skip reading it entirely. 

Think of office design like text and images on a web page or in a magazine. Layouts should attract the users and empty or open space has tremendous appeal if used correctly.

Desks and accessories that are simply squeezed together or scattered with no thought to flow or organization create an unappealing space. Concentrating is tough and so is finding personal space to reflect.


Photo: Darran Chameleon Workspace

Empty space can be a strategically designed space to give the office a clean look.

Personal Space

In an atmosphere with daily or weekly deadlines, it’s necessary to have spaces where employees can move away from their desks to work, take calls, or simply sit and refresh. Break rooms or lounge areas can fulfill this purpose for a change of pace.

Different Type of Spaces with OFS Tangent Lounge
Photo: OFS Tangent Lounge

Partner with 2010 Office Furniture – Create Different Type of Spaces

There are many ways to make the office a desirable destination for employees.  Creating different type of spaces is one important one.

The team at 2010 Office has over 50 years of experience advising and supplying the most distinguished corporations, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses in Southern California.

The team will show you how to create a pleasant and productive atmosphere. 

Contact them with your space planning and furnishing needs.

Read Also: NeoCon 2022 Trends: The Future of Office Furniture
Main Photo: Trendway Standing Height Table
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Darran, Encore Seating, Humanscale
OFS Brands and Trendway

 

Choosing the Best Office Dividers and Filing Systems

Best Office Dividers and Filing Systems Allermuir Mollie Chair

People are social creatures, and a well-planned office with strategically placed office dividers will bring employees together, yet allow them the personal space they need in order to focus.

But don’t fear the gray cubicle.

Plenty of cubicles are designed with workstation dividers with storage for filing, and free-standing partitions, bring color and serve to unify work areas rather than actually separate employees into an impersonal environment.

Photo: Friant Novo Modern Workstation

Office dividers and filing systems should be part of a complete office floor plan.

Photo: Rouillard Agora Credenza

Why Use Office Dividers

Dividers that are modular or are easily movable bring balance for employees, giving them a space to focus on tasks while allowing collaboration. Permanent walls create separation and often act as a barrier to an organic flow of ideas and problem-solving conversations.

Employee well-being is another reason to use partitions. Privacy screens that attach to open bench seating plans and work pods, along with larger partitions, can reduce the spread of germs from concerns surrounding viruses like Covid, the flu, and the common cold.

In open office floor plans, sound reverberating unimpeded is an irritant. Employees often retreat through the use of earbuds or headphones, but they block out possible opportunities for communication.

Specialty panels like the Snowsound Baffle Ceiling Panels or the Nevins Ariel Acoustic Hanging Panels act as sound barriers while letting light flow from one part of an office to another.

The many different types of dividers available help make the office a welcome place.


Photo: Nevins Ariel Sound Panel

& Photo: Snowsound Baffle Sound Panel

Options for Office Dividers

Modular workstations come with dividers in an array of colors and fabrics. Choose styles that reflect the brand and the temperament of the office. Bold colors like red can speak to leadership qualities while softer blues provide quiet inspiration.

Plan out the use of dividers from the entryway to the individual departments.

Need a meeting space?

Architectural walls define places for group conferences or smaller meetings. Aesthetically pleasing areas can be established to hold online meetings with employees who are remote or working a hybrid arrangement by switching between the home office and corporate office.

Photo: Trendway Clear Wall

There are other types of office dividers for use with floor plans.

Try to guess what they are.

How about indoor plants?

Hanging baskets of plants, tables with arrangements, potted plants, and greenery dividers using succulents define workspaces from common gathering spots like break areas or lounges.

Fabrics can work, as well. Decorative pillows stuffed in bookcases can fit within many office designs like resimercial styles, the modern industrial office, or a minimal office like the Scandinavian layout.

Your creativity in how you divide office space can be like an unsung hero in making the workplace comfortable.

Filing Systems

Another way to break away from traditionally dull furnishings is to re-imagine the use of filing cabinets and drawers as office dividers. Now, this isn’t to knock those heavy-industry style metal filing cabinets.

They’ve served companies well and continue to do so, but there are more attractive counterparts that look less intimidating and don’t need WD-40 to grease the tracks.

Different filing cabinet options are:

  • Vertical
  • Lateral
  • Fire Resistant

And remember that modular is in because it’s practical and flexible.

Consider OFS Hitch Shelf and Storage, a modular unit, “using a simple system of blocks that clip together for a shelf with endless configuration possibilities.”

Low profile cabinets like the DeskMakers Catalina Cubbies can be used for work or storing personal items. This flexible filing and storage can be stacked to provide a sense of room separation without feeling like you’re blocking someone out.

Want to make a statement?

Go bold with Bella Shelf Storage, a fun, circular design. Want to know something unique? You don’t need any tools to assemble this since “The inner panels of Bolla coil in, and natural compressive force holds the system together.


Photo: Scale 1:1 Bolla Shelf Storage

Why plan your filing and office storage systems? Because they help keep the office clutter-free while having potential to enhance the overall ambiance.

Get Answers

If you need help choosing the right office dividers and filing system, or have questions on how to get maximum productivity from your team — connect with us! The staff at 2010 Office Furniture is more than happy to share our knowledge based on a combined half-century of advising and providing furnishings for clients that rank among Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, nonprofits, and small businesses.

Contact us and share your needs.

Read Also: Ways to Help Create Social Distancing in the Office
Main Photo: Allermuir Mollie Chair
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: AllermuirFriant, Nevins, RouillardScale 1:1Snowsound & Trendway

Design Your Office Space as a Welcome Gathering Place

Welcome Gathering Place SitOnIt Reya Desk

Why the need for an office welcome gathering place?

Just a few years ago, the office was everything. Remote work or occasional telecommuting was talked about, but in reality that practice was the exception. In 2018, only a third of the workforce could do their jobs at home, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What’s it like now?

A 2021 survey from FlexJobs conducted in July and August shows that up to 97 percent of workers want some form of remote work. The 10th annual survey shows that:

  • 58 percent of respondents want to work remotely full-time
  • 39 percent want a hybrid work environment

What’s going to happen, and how does this impact how you should plan and design your office space?

A Work Trend Index from Microsoft published in March 2021 found that 66 percent of employers worldwide are redesigning their offices to accommodate hybrid work arrangements.

We don’t know how long the hybrid work model will continue. If companies, and especially the major corporations, find that they’re more profitable with employees in the office, then there will be a push to have workers return either full-time or mostly full-time.

But we know that employees can easily be connected from their home offices. People are also saving money on commuting costs, especially with the current price of gas in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area ranging from $4.05 to nearly $5.00 a gallon.


Photo: HON Solve Chair

The reality is that our professional and personal worlds have merged like never before, and leading architects say that we shouldn’t make hard boundaries between the home and office.

Perhaps it’s time to blur the lines; a convergence.  Merging spaces to accommodate this shift in our work culture and create a welcome gathering place.

Blurring Categories to Create a Welcome Gathering Place

At the NeoCon gathering in October 2021, the most important event for the commercial design industry, the award-winning architect and interior designer Lauren Rottet told attendees that, “The world separates us, wants to categorize us.”

She disagrees with the philosophy and is blending spaces through her designs.

Offices are becoming fun, says Rottet. When she’s pitching a major office design, she says she doesn’t hesitate to refer to previous work she’s done in hotels for inspiration to her clients.


Photo: HON Westhill Lounge

The trend is bringing communities together in a instead of separating them.

A keynote speaker at the conference, Jeanne Gang, and her firm designed the Vista Tower in Chicago which is a blend of hotel rooms, residential condominiums, a 5-star hotel, restaurants, and amenity spaces. It  creates “a vibrant social center.”

This welcome gathering place concept is similar to the Paseo in Pasadena and the Americana in Glendale where retail shopping and living spaces go hand-in-hand.

The Re-Imagined Office

Imagine your office as a social center and not just as a place to work. Given today’s array of modular furniture and a range of office design options, it’s easy to do.

What do employees want?

They want to know that they’re valued.

According to Gallup, engaged employees are “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.”

Engaged employees outperform their peers that are not engaged. Overall, companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable.

How does office planning and design accomplish this?

Having remote work options is one way, according to Chief Information Officer magazine. That means giving your team freedom to work in the office from the most comfortable locations.

Use welcome gathering place designs that bring out the best in people and provide balance as we merge our professional and personal lives.

The Resimercial office design remains popular for that reason. Elements of home, or a residence, are brought into the commercial setting. Create spaces for people to meet and eat like using informal conference tables that double as a lunch or snack site. The spaces are warm, inviting, and informal so the sharing of ideas and interaction can take place easily and in a way that’s relational and not rigid.


Photo: OFS Obeya Wall and Nineteen20 Table


Photo: Safco Resi Collaboration Workstation 

Use colors that stimulate creativity and are calming, and select attractive furniture that’s durable and made with antimicrobial fabrics.


Photo: Stylex Still Screens

Get Expert Input on a Welcome Gathering Place

Get more ideas for planning your office as community using the expertise of 2010 Office Furniture. Our team at 2010 Office Furniture has about 50 years of combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and small business from Los Angeles and Orange Counties to the Inland Empire.

Contact us and let us know about your potential project needs.  We can help you create the welcome gathering place for your office.

Read Also: Work From Home Office Furniture
Main Photo: SitOnIt Seating Reya Desk
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: HON, OFS, SitOnIt Seating, SafcoStylex Seating

Office Trends that Keep Employees Engaged and Productive

Office Trends that Keep Employees Engaged and Productive

When surveying current office trends, one must consider that life is now much more open in Southern California with fewer health concerns surrounding Covid-19. But the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health still has restrictions on office space capacity as of May 2021. Up to 75% occupancy was noted in the guidelines for re-opening.

This makes the hybrid office a model that’s here to stay for months and possibly years to come.

How do you make it continue to work?

Plan your spaces, set expectations with employees, and stay true to your brand.

Office Trends to Accommodate Remote Workers

How many of you have used Zoom, or even knew about it, before March 2020?

“Let’s Zoom” became a verb phrase as widely used as “Google it” – making it one of the biggest office trends that blew up in 2020.

The need for online interaction with remote workers is a reality. If you need to video conference with staff or clients, then use the latest in architectural walls to have a pleasant atmosphere and reduce distractions for others working in the office.

Check office furnishing solutions like the OFS Obeya Architectural Structures for a nice business casual feel.


Photo: OFS Obeya Architectural Structures

Trendway makes an appealing line of modular walls to define your meeting spaces where you can place monitors and tables.


Photo: Trendway Clearwall Space Divider

If employees are working remotely, recommend the use of ergonomic chairs and height adjustable desks to reduce physical strains.

When your team knows that they’re supported then they’re going to be more engaged and invested in creating positive results.

Form Workstation Neighborhoods

One of the strongest office trends that still continues to evolve today is to make the office a destination where people want to be in. One of the benefits of working in the office and not just at home is that employees can socialize. After all, even though people need privacy and personal space, we don’t want to be alone.

Consider this analogy. Visualize the corporate office as a city and departments as neighborhoods.

What do most neighborhoods have in Southern California?

Their own parks, grocery stores and restaurants. They have a unique identity.

Depending on the company’s size and floor space that’s available, consider each area having:

  • Modular workstations or work pods with individual spaces
  • Digital or moveable whiteboards
  • A dedicated video conferencing room

Each space can even have its own small refrigerator, a little perk that can be used to keep drinks cool.

Creating identifiable workspaces can help your team have a feeling of ownership in their area.

De-Centralize Decision Making

During the months of Covid when office spaces were mostly closed, many executives took decision making into their own hands. After all, leaders need to lead. Key decisions were often made without feedback from stakeholders.

Plan your office space so decision-making can be delegated.

Use cubicle workstations designed for smaller meetings or define meeting areas with modular walls or accessories like whiteboards and a bit of nature.


Photo: Nevins Leaf Living Wall

Design to Boost Morale

Take to heart the lyrics from the former pop group the 5th Dimension: “Let the sun shine, let the sunshine in.”

They’re wise words for office managers and executives planning layouts. Natural light boosts moods and productivity, in light, airy spaces that people crave and love.


Photo: OFS Eleven Wood Table and Bistro Chair

Bring in as much natural light as possible to improve morale and create a pleasing workspace.

Other ways to bring in nature includes using a variety of office plants. This is especially useful in open office plans where cubicles divide individual workstations.

Use wall panels that hold succulents or other appropriate plants.

A study quoted on CNBC.com notes that, “People who kept a small plant on their desk had lower levels of anxiety and stress at the end of a four-week period. Researchers instructed 63 participants who worked a full-time desk job to take a three-minute break when they felt ‘fatigued’ to tend to, water and gaze at a desk plant.”

It was a Japanese study and the most popular plants chosen were Japanese Kokedamas and succulents.

Office trends in fostering little morale boosters can go a long way in easing stress, improving office relationships, and increasing productivity.

Office Trends with the Corporate Personality in Mind

Your company has a brand, or personality, just like the people who work there. Use a cohesive design for a unified appearance that’s fresh and sets a positive tone.

There are plenty of office trends options to make an office space have a look and feel that fits with your goals. Our moods are certainly influenced by our environment.

Look for a variety of shapes in available lounge furniture and use a family of colors on panel dividers.

Office designs have their own special histories.

Office Trends: The Abstract Modern Office
This interior design style became popular in the 20th century. It seems to break rules but provides plenty of comfort and functionality.

Office Trends: The Modern Industrial Office
This design approach is minimalist and is fairly neutral with subdued colors. It honors the transition from handcrafted goods to mass manufacturing.

Office Trends: The Open Plan Benching and Desking
The goal is promoting collaboration in an office without permanent walls while at the same time allowing private spaces.


Photo: OFS Eleven Workspace

Get Expert Input on Office Trends

See if your office is ready for office trends that accommodate remote employees for the long term while equipping in-house employees. Get input from the team at 2010 Office Furniture.

The company has more than 50 years of experience working with the most distinguished corporations, centers of higher education, and growing small businesses throughout Southern California.

Contact us with your questions and needs.

Read Also: 6 Reasons to Use a Resimercial Design for Your Office
Main Photo: National Alloy Workstation
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: National, Nevins, Trendway & OFS

Repurpose Your Office Space for the Post-Covid Work World

Repurpose Your Office Space for the Post-Covid Work World

(IMPORTANT NOTICE: The recommendations on this article about Covid-19 in the office are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

The stay-at-home orders forced employees into flexible and remote working arrangements. Now’s the time to implement the best office strategies to maximize workflow and personnel needs.

A Great Time to Repurpose Your Office Space

The office is often seen as a place where you had to show up if you had a job, but the Covid-19 stay-at-home order changed that perception. Companies were forced into repurposing office space when their teams had to work remotely.


Photo: Adesso Executive Height Adjustable Desk

Employees in Southern California are returning once again to their previous work environments, as you can tell by the freeways that are getting more crowded.

But don’t just put everyone back in the same workstation. Instead, pause and review:

  • What worked during the pandemic’s stay at home orders in Los Angeles, Orange, or nearby counties
  • What could have worked more effectively
  • How will you be able to repurpose the existing office and make it serve more effectively than ever?

Put those hard-earned lessons to the test.

Let’s start with the purpose of an office.

Why We Need an Office

Traditionally, the office was the place where nearly all employees come to the workplace because that’s where communication and decisions happened. Teams met there, managers relayed goals to others beneath them, and directives were given and followed up on. You had to go to the office, unless you were in outside sales and seeing customers in a place like El Segundo one day and Irvine the next.


Photo: Friant Novo Panel System

Telecommuting isn’t new, and while it was tossed about as an option most employees kept going to the physical office. Now, during Covid-19, we discovered the routine of working remotely.

Let’s be realistic. Office spaces are opening up again and it’s important to have a central location or off-site locations that act as office hubs. Not everyone is going to work at home indefinitely or in some type of isolated environment.

Why?

As noted in the Harvard Study of Adult Development, people want social interactions. Healthy relationships reduce stress, and we feed off the energy of those in our department or colleagues from down the hall.

If we only work at home by ourselves then we’ll miss the funny comments from the office comic or the greetings when we walk by the receptionist desk to our cubicle. We take those little things for granted, but they’re important office morale boosters.


Photo: Cherryman Verde Reception

At its best, an office provides the tools and space to collaborate and solve problems or serve customers. Some workspaces work well in sequence under the same roof. A clothing company or manufacturing facility in Gardena or Ontario can have designers working on computer assisted design (CAD) and seamlessly send their work into production.

If a problem arises, then it’s easy for someone in production to halt the machines and huddle with the designers.

The role of an office is supporting people so they can excel in their tasks and work together to create a successful company.

But as we’ve seen in 2020, not all employees need to be in the same physical setting full-time. Sometimes, the office works well as a space to rally around where you can set and clarify goals before employees head to their home offices or other remote workspaces.

Two Types of Workspaces

We’re seeing two main types of work environments emerge: centralized workspaces and decentralized workspaces.

We’ve relaxed the hierarchy that was once the standard in our country’s industrial era, like at the old Goodyear plant that employed thousands in Van Nuys or the aerospace facilities near the South Bay.

Employees in most industries can now produce work from their homes.

What does that mean for space utilization?

Consider this. A highly centralized company that had either fixed walls or an open office plan had to make sudden changes during the height of the pandemic.
Photo: AMQ Kinex Height Adjustable Tables

Suddenly, you had to connect with your team remotely.

As restrictions are relaxed, you could insist that everyone come back in and take their assigned places. Or, you can evaluate what office strategies worked and how you can now harness the advantages of a decentralized or flexible work environment.

Here are three important takeaways:

  • Keep corporate goals as clear as possible
  • Communication is more strategic than ever
  • Trust is critical in a flexible office environment

The goals from upper management remain a guiding force. They always have been, but when you’re in the same place all the time, casual conversations and questions reinforce those goals.

In a flexible or decentralized workspace, find ways to help your team internalize those goals so they remember them.

You have to trust that your team that is going to get their work done, even if they’re not physically present. This gives the opportunity for them to be engaged and take ownership.

How to Use Your Office Spaces

A manager in a centralized office that either had fixed walls or an open office floor plan may feel that the amount of space is wasted unless it’s filled with people.

If that’s the case, consider all these uses of space in a flexible or decentralized office environment:

  • Additional room for client huddles
  • More space and freedom for collaboration
  • Areas where you can create on-site social media posts
  • Places to sit and have smaller team meetings two or three times a week
  • More room to train new hires and let them gain experience

Keep in mind that the open office plan came under fire for invading privacy. Employees were known for tuning out their colleagues by wearing earbuds or headphones and thus eliminating the hoped-for collaboration.


Photo: Trendway Conference Area

Finally, with flexible office spaces you may have workers coming into the office as a break from their home offices and the distractions they encounter there.

Make use of modular office furniture solutions or architectural walls for break areas and workstations to help repurpose your office space.

Plan and Repurpose Your Office Future with Experts

A company doesn’t just form and happen by accident and neither does a productive office. Supporting your employees with the tools they need requires design and planning.

The team at 2010 Office Furniture provides layout design and services in addition to supplying you with quality furnishings that can help repurpose your office space. Lay out your office design and plan based on your corporate goals and then get the desks, ergonomic chairs and accessories needed to maximize well-being and productivity.

Your office is not a static environment.  It’s dynamic and requires that you manage spaces so that they support your team as effectively as possible.

Read Also: How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19
Main Photo by: Trendway
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: AMQ, Cherryman, Friant, Krug and Trendway

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs

Best Office Spaces ERG International Connos, Newport and Tango Collection

Office spaces that are responsive to a changing marketplace and the circumstances impacting society have a competitive advantage. Employees should be able to focus even when change swirls around them, and they can use different spaces that give them the freedom to work as effectively as possible.

Keeping your team healthy and well is a high priority due to Covid-19 and ailments from colds and the seasonal flu. Sick employees, upticks in sales that create demand for more workers, or economic downturns affect how many permanent and temporary staff occupy the floor space.

Best Office Spaces Friant My-Hite
Photo: Friant My-Hite Tables

A strategic office design and space plan charts the regular workflow through the workspaces and environmentsneeded to meet your goals. Each space contributes to employee productivity and achieving the results you want for your organization.

Assigned Spaces

The responsibilities that you have as an employee often begin at your assigned workstation or desk. Whether you’re the CEO, Vice President, a mid-level manager, or just starting out with a new company this is where you’re expected to perform at a maximum level.

Strategic space planning will allow for an effective workflow between individuals and departments.

Workspaces that are responsive to the needs of employees are considered ergonomic and make use of flexible furnishings like the Friant My-Hite Height Adjustable Workstation or the Hon Accelerate Workstation. Multiple configurations are possible to safely accommodate individual workers side by side or in small groups.

Best Office Spaces HON Accelerate
Photo: HON Accelerate Collection

Remote Spaces

When stay-at-home orders were issued during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote spaces became a necessity and not just a cool option. Employees who were accustomed to the layout of a corporate office were suddenly asked to work from home, competing with personal needs like children taking online classes in the living room or their bedrooms.

In today’s world, if a team member has a bad cold, but is still well enough to work, then staying at a home office or other remote space is a smart option.

Best Office Spaces Friant Collection
Photo: Friant Work From Home Collection

Looking ahead, one-third of full-time employees in the U.S. are expected to work remotely in the coming decade as noted in TechRepublic.

What makes an effective remote space?

Uncluttered space is important, one where an employee can step out of their personal life and into their professional role. An adequate surface, an ergonomic chair, and an Internet service that has satisfactory transmission rates all help to make a productive work area.

And just like in a corporate office setting, have access to natural light and move often to change the body’s position and posture.

Collaborative Spaces

Getting together to lay out challenges and find solutions is an important part of any business. It’s possible in an open office environment to create collaborative spaces that don’t interfere with the work of individuals who need to focus.

Look at what you can use to define the space:

Best Office Spaces OFS Obeya Architectural Structure
Photo: Obeya Architectural Structures

These products create flexible, or responsive, environments. You can move different pieces to fit the needs of the moment, keep the furnishings and accessories in one place or rearrange them to create a new area.

Add personality with the OFS Obeya Architectural Structure. You can add audio-visual equipment, curtains, additional panels, planters, and other accessories.

A collaborative space can also double as personal areas for employees when a group isn’t meeting.

Restful Spaces

Don’t confuse restfulness with a lack of productivity.

Whether it’s legend, fact, or a combination of both, it’s widely reported that Albert Einstein slept for about 10 hours every night and, in addition, he’d take regular naps during the day. He’d let his sub-conscious tackle problems and then come up with solutions while he dozed.

The lesson for us today is that an office that’s all work and no personal reflection is draining. We can thrive on fast-paced excitement, but many times we also need to withdraw and quiet down.

We can’t live non-stop in a fight-or-flight response, as noted in Understanding the Stress Response on HarvardHealth.com. Chronic stress “contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction.”

What does a restful place look like?

Define the space by creating a boundary that’s similar to collaborative spaces. If possible, allow for a flow of natural lighting and use plenty of indoor plants to bring in nature. Plants help the air remain fresh, they boost moods, ease stress and deflect sound waves for a quieter area.


Photo: Nevins Climb Seating Series

A modular arrangement like the kind available with the Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating solution allows the furniture to be used for individuals or group meetings.

You can make a rest area look more like a living room and less like an airport lounge for the most personal touch possible.

Patios are a bonus. Install sliding glass doors to connect an indoor space with the outdoors where team members can retreat to for quiet moments. You may choose to have one space like a lounge for phone calls, and another space for reading, writing and reflective thinking.


Photo: Nevins Synk2 and Climb Seating Series

Resource Spaces

No industry is immune from some sort of change today, whether that due’s to a worldwide phenomenon like the Covid-19 virus or technology changing how business is done.

Staying up to date is essential. Dedicate a small space as a learning center. You can have books and magazines on a shelf, a computer dedicated to research, and a bulletin board where you encourage employees to post an article they’ve read that lead to an aha! moment or breakthrough.


Photo: Global Linking Panels

Defining spaces shows that you expect more than people showing up, putting in their time, clocking out and then going home. You’re investing in them and you see them as the company’s most valuable assets.

Different spaces have specific purposes. Put them together and you’re working to create community and a shared experience. The team stays engaged with their work and with each other.

Get Professional Guidance on Creating the Best Office Spaces

An effective office layout takes deliberate planning around your corporate goals.

2010 Office Furniture can help to maximize productivity and create the best office spaces possible for your company. Share your space planning and office furniture needs to get the input you need.

The team at 2010 Office has nearly a half-century of combined experience advising and supplying the most distinguished companies in Southern California.

Read Also: Office of the Future: Plan an Office that Meets Your Company Goals and Personal Needs
Main Photo: ERG International
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: ERG International, Friant, HON, OFS, Nevins, and Global Furniture Group

 

Arranging Workstations for Social Distancing in the Office

Arranging Workstations for Social Distancing in the Office

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

Stay-at-home orders have lifted and social distancing, or physical distancing, is now a reality in the office.

You can return to the workplace with confidence if you plan your space well to help maximize health and productivity. Adjusting to current recommendations requires arranging workstations so employees can stay at least six feet apart.

That seems to be the accepted distance for limiting transmission when “an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. The best way to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus is limiting face to face contact and maintaining a physical distance.

Arrange your office and form protective barriers based on the number of users around a desk or workstation.

Take note that in addition to physically arranging desks, special attention is given to details like using antimicrobial fabrics.

Read on for expert recommendations and refer to 2010 Office Furniture’s Inspiration Lookbook for creative and effective ideas to help with social distancing at the office.

Social Distancing for the Individual


Photo: Loftwall Split Space Divider

You’re the one in control at your desk whether you’re the receptionist or the CEO. It’s you and you alone—except when visitors step in or you have a meeting in your office. In that case, dividers may be the best helpers to reinforce proper distancing protocols.

Transparent dividers like the Loftwell Counter Shield let visitors see your winning smile when they enter the lobby. The shield is available in different sizes and can be used as a solitary panel or linked with others.

What about mid-level managers and executives?

The Loftwell Desk Shield accommodates the individual who has a private or semi-private office. You can welcome co-workers more safely to go over reports or have a chat. This shield is manufactured to allow for plenty of personal space. For those who are pressed for time, the unit quickly assembles in just about five minutes.

For programming or data entry workers who have a desk to themselves, look at the Loftwell Shelter Panel or Split Space Divider. These panels sit about one inch off the work surface to allow plenty of space for managing charging cables and electrical cords.

Social Distancing for Workstations and Dividers for Two


Photo: Loftwall Hitch Space Divider

If you have two desks that aren’t attached but are in close vicinity of one another, consider implementing use of the Loftwall Hitch Space Divider. Workstations facing each other can be separated at an appropriate distance to create the necessary six feet of separation between employees.

Use track mounted screens to help reduce the likelihood of transmitting unwanted bacteria.

Social Distancing for Workstation Clusters


Photo: Enwork Harbor Screen

If you have a space of four to six workers, it’s easy to partition the space using freestanding panels. If the workstations are attached, then use transparent or semi-transparent dividers between employees.

This helps create a sense of privacy and security to put workers at ease.

What if you need a budget-conscious solution?

There’s a durable product called Enwork Harbor Screen, a double-wall corrugated cardboard with structurally enhanced skin finish. The wall and roof material of the Enwork Harbor contains particulate that supposedly help repel infectious disease, decaying them in as little as 24 hours. The outer material may be easily cleaned with light disinfectants to sanitize them in minutes.

Other changes you’ll notice when returning to work may mean eliminating some practices such as employees sharing the same desk.

But there’s an upside to getting back to the office that boosts our overall wellness.

People need community and were deprived of such during quarantine. Feelings of isolation became common in April and May. It was widely agreed that the situation undermined morale and had a negative impact on workers.

And while it’s not work-life as we once accepted it, companies have to remain flexible to achieve goals while giving workers the protection they need.

Social Distancing for Power Meeting Realities

Photo: Enwork Skyline Screen 

You’re not going to rally people into a crowded conference room like you once did. Instead, get weekly department meetings going again with screens that help protect you individually and as a small group.

If you need to establish a conference area, use architectural walls to define an appropriate meeting space by enclosing a specific area.

Plan Your Space for Social Distancing Needs

Photo: Loftwall Counter Shield

The team at 2010 Office Furniture can give expert input on planning your office and determining what you need in order to help keep yourself and employees stay well, and create the most productive work setting possible.

The 2010 Office Furniture Inspiration Lookbook shows how you can place mobile screens, work stations, and chairs to help with wellness and productivity.

Describe your project here to get the advice you need.

Read Also: Social Distancing Tips and Adjusting to the Realities of Covid-19 in the Office
Main Photo by: Groupe Lacasse
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Groupe Lacasse, Loftwall & Enwork

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

Using Cubicles for a Competitive Advantage in Your Workplace

Using Cubicles for a Competitive Advantage in Your Workplace

Walking into an office cubicle has the same reputation as being forced below deck on an ancient Roman ship. Sit down, grab an oar and row. In other words, do your work or else.

Cubicles in popular culture are seen as creativity killers and depression inducers. The partitioned office layout is supposed to take the potential for a competitive advantage and crush it into conformity.

Meanwhile, an open office supports collaboration and productivity, right?

Wait. Not so fast. Workers want privacy in order to focus. Cubicles are a type of modular furniture that define personal space and can adapt to a changing office environment.

Look at the many benefits of modular furniture.

What is Modular Office Furniture

Modular office furniture is pre-made and either ready to assemble or easily moved together or apart. Workstations can be customized for different office space requirements and for the personal preferences of employees.

The components make it possible to have a desking solution for one or two people and then easily add more workstations as needed.

Reasons to Use Modular Office Furniture

Modular office furniture is a perfect solution for companies of all sizes.

Start-up companies can purchase a minimum number of units to get operations underway. As sales and cash flow in, more units can be purchased on an as-needed basis.

Established small businesses and corporations can use modular furniture for freelance and seasonal workers who need workstations on an as-needed basis. This style of office furniture lends itself well to creating collaborative workspaces.

Employees typically want a say in their surroundings. They can easily personalize cubicles, desks and modular shelving.

Businesses that have a lease and will likely move to new surroundings within a few years can buy modular furniture that’s easy to disassemble and store.

Open office floor plans can install modular partitions and architectural walls to create private areas that reduce noise and define individual and department work spaces.

Types of Modular Office Furniture

Look around an office and notice how many items have a modular solution like seating and shelving. Pull modular lounge chairs together quickly and easily for informal meetings. Push them apart when personal space is needed.

Let’s look at one of the most popular types of office equipment—cubicles.

Cubicles can be configured for varying degrees of privacy and collaboration. They work for individuals who want their own well-defined space, and cubicles can be used for individuals or teams who need to work cooperatively.

The components like walls, work surfaces, drawers and shelving can be set up according to workflow demands. Cubicles can have doors and clear partitions so workers don’t feel walled out. Different color options make cubicles attractive so they blend in well with a company’s brand.


Photo: Trendway Snap Workspace

Here’s a fact you likely don’t know:

The cubicle versus open office tug-of-war heated up decades ago.

The Original Need for Cubicles

The legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed an open office layout for Johnson and Johnson in the 1930s. That standard held until the mid-1960s when a designer with office furniture maker Herman Miller created an active office. The layout promoted personal space and focus.

Thus, the cubicle.

In the 2000s, up and coming tech start-ups embraced the open office concept once again.

What about now?

More options exist for cubicles than ever before.

Read on and see how to make decisions based on your company goals and the 2010 Space Planning Strategy.


Photo: Friant Novo Workstations

Understanding Cubicles

Gray carpeting on cheap aluminum partitions are gone. Instead, cubicles have color combinations that can reflect any company’s brand colors. Arrange the many different styles to support personal focus, communication within departments and company-wide collaboration.

Project teams that need back and forth dialogue on the client-challenge-of-the-month can use one type of layout while the finance department can use another style.

According to this description from the website Dimensions.Guide cubicles:

  • Offer Privacy
  • Buffer Noise
  • Reduce Visual Distractions


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

Companies that have an open office floor plan can use cubicles to create a hybrid office plan where some space is open and other work areas are partitioned and designated for individuals or small teams.

Cubicles no longer fit one stereotype. Some products are similar to long tables with workers sitting across from each other. Privacy screens several inches or higher form a personal workspace.

Other cubicles look like small private offices with partitions that create a three-sided setting by blocking workers to the right and left.

Cubicles can also be in a fan-shaped style and act as pods to fit three or four workers in the same department.

Now see how you can make this well-known office accessory benefit your workplace.

Know How You Want Your Cubicle to Function

Match the style of cubicles to the needed function. Standard cubicles typically allow from 6 feet 6 inches of individual workspace to 6 feet 8 inches. Cubicles for managers can be designed with a larger footprint.

An administrative cubicle for bookkeeping or human resources can have a desk with modular storage on one end and a place at the other end to handle computer work or in person meetings. The Friant System 2 and the HON Accelerate Workstations are good examples.


Photo: Friant System 2 Workstations


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

There can be enough space to include a chair for someone to stop in and have a conversation.

Benching cubicles are made for utility tasks like data entry while allowing for personal space and modular storage. Look into a model like the ODS Crossroads Workstation.

You can evaluate who needs what cubicle style by knowing:

  • How much repetitive work an employee has to do
  • How often that person needs to interact with others
  • The use of phone calls with customers.

Choose specific cubicle layouts to support your different office functions.

Clear company goals, supported with clearly defined workspaces and roles, create efficiency and help people work productively.

Competitive advantage: A cubicle can lead to a highly productive work environment.


Photo: ODS / Office Design Studio Crossroads Workstations

Cubicles Can Boost a Company’s Brand Internally

Appearances matter in the workplace—not showy and ostentatious—but neat, functional and inviting styles in furnishings give employees a sense of pride and belonging in the workplace.

Partition colors and clean lines look professional without being overbearing and stifling.

High end cubicles can house executive desks and cubicle workstations can fit easily within an open office layout. Workstations are flexible and space can easily be added as the company expands and new hires are made.

People see the investment made when they settle at their workstations and can buy in to the brand promise being made to the outside world.

Competitive Advantage: Cubicles are flexible and can lend to collaboration or privacy as needed.


Photo: ODS / Office Design Studio Crossroads Workstations

Cubicles Can Channel Workflow

Direct the workflow of individuals into a complete whole with well-defined cubicle pods, cubicle benches and products like architectural walls.

If you have a few people who are making outbound sales calls, they can have one style of cubicle with partitions in an area of the office. Further set the space apart in a green and pleasing manner using indoor plants and crafted bookcases.

A project team can have their own style of workstation where they can focus on their own work individually, yet easily turn around and communicate with others.

Set apart a meeting space using floor to ceiling walls that are clear and that easily install with no construction mess.

Competitive Advantage: Clarity reduces office stress when people know what’s expected of them and how their work reaches the company’s goals.


Photo: HON Abound Workstations

Cubicles Support People

An office has equipment and furnishings, but the reality is talented people need support in their work. The right layout leads to effective planning and communication. Don’t use cubicles just to house workers, but:

  • Respect their space
  • Involve them in layout and needs discussions
  • Implement a solution that’s satisfactory

Partitioned office spaces have another benefit: Wellness

A Sage Journals’ abstract of a study on healthiest office environments showed that the “Best health was among employees in cell offices and flex offices. Workers in these types of offices and in shared room offices also rated the highest job satisfaction.”

Competitive Advantage: An engaged workforce with people who take a personal stake in the outcome.


Photo: HON Workspace Solutions

Using Modular Desks

Modularity means being flexible and adapting to different needs. A modular desk will start with one piece such as a rectangular surface and fit one person. Add rounded sections and the desk can enlarge to serve two employees.

The concept has been used in homes for decades with dining tables that can be enlarged by adding a “leaf.”

Height adjustable desks are a form of modularity, giving employees the freedom to have the desk fit their personal need.

Modular Seating Options and Tables

Keep your office up to date with modular lounge furniture. The pieces are useful for reception areas where they lend to a cohesive design versus randomly placed chairs that are uncomfortable.

Modular lounge furniture is useful for break areas and for employees who want to pick up their laptops and work away from their normal office setting. You have options of using single, freestanding pieces or bringing the furniture together as a group.

Each solution has a clean, contemporary design, fits a variety of interiors and can be arranged at a moment’s notice.

The Encore Dabble Modular Lounge has straight and curved benches.

Need power ports? Those can be added to products made by Krug Zola where the components link together using brackets. The power connections can be mounted flush on the side or under the seat.

A unique seating option is the Encore Particles Modular Lounge. Pieces taper inward or outward and “nest” against each other for the fit you want.

Modular furniture lends itself to creating a comfortable and pleasant environment, a trend that will continue in office design.

Now what happens when meeting and presentation needs change?

The solution is using modular tables.

Products like the Krug V2 Modular Table has cabinets that can handle flat screen televisions weighing up to 200 pounds. There are 12 modular shapes for the tops and additional shapes for corners.

Instead of worrying about change, modular office solutions help you prepare for it.

Modular Furniture is Designed for Long Term Use

You may wonder how sturdy modular furniture is. Foundational parts and connections are made from steel and aluminum. Quality products are sturdy and built to last even though they’re flexible and one person can assemble many of the available products.

It’s not just the materials that are built to last. Trends in office design and functionality matter, too.

Modular workstations and accessories like sofas are highly functional in many different settings and will continue growing in popularity. Some of the trends include making pieces that cross-over from a work environment into public spaces like museums and homes, as noted in dezeen magazine.

Italian designer Luca Nichetto’s approach is to create pieces that are “universal” to “suit various environments.” One sofa is designed to fit in a corporate lounge, art gallery and a homeowner’s living room.

Public spaces and work settings continue to have elements that were once found only in homes.

Today’s furniture reflects changes taking place throughout society and in every industry. Even healthcare office space can benefit from modular furniture. Patients receive consultations and treatments in one-room clinics, mixed-use commercial buildings and community centers.

Furniture is available to fit all settings and to have a welcoming presentation.

Modular Office Furniture is Ergonomically Sound

Ergonomics is the study of people in their working environment as noted in this definition of ergonomics from the University of North Carolina. The goal is fitting the environment to fit the employee’s needs so they can be healthy and avoid physical strains when working.

Sitting in a cubicle isn’t a passive activity. We’re bending to reach for files, leaning to see the computer screen or turning our necks to cradle a phone.

Modular furniture supports a person’s natural movements and allows for good posture when sitting or standing.

Get the Expertise You Need

Make cubicles work for you and your team. Ask 2010 Office Furniture about their space planning strategy so you can create the efficiencies you need to reach your goals.

The 2010 Office Furniture team has more than 45 years of experience serving corporations, universities and small businesses throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity
Main Photo by: Friant
Resources & Special Thanks to: Dimensions.Guide, Sage Journals, Dezeen, UNC & Respective Product Manufacturers: Friant, HON, ODS / Office Design Studio & Trendway

Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity

Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity

Your office may have plenty of desks, chairs and computers but, as you’ll agree, that doesn’t mean the layout and floor plan are designed for the greatest possible level of productivity.

A productive office layout that helps everyone get their jobs done isn’t something you just pick up at an office supply store like Staples or Office Max. A well-planned office space isn’t a commodity—it’s unique to your work environment and what you want to achieve.

Before looking at the elements that create a favorable place to work, consider why you want to plan your office layout.

Here’s an easy hint.

  • Question: Who comes into work each day?
  • Answer: The people.

Your office layout’s goal is to support people so they can function at their optimal level.


Photo: OFS Staks Workstations

Talking about an office layout and furnishings to help us work efficiently seems old school. Most chatter focuses on digital smart tools and the Internet of Things.

Offices have been so taken for granted that we forget that workstations, partitions, and even the break room are intended to support people and the outcomes they’re trying to achieve.

So what has to change to make your office more than just a functional space? Before jumping into the solutions, let’s first get an understanding of what is an office layout.

Defining an Office Layout

write-up by Rivier University noted the importance of taking a holistic approach to designing a work environment. Most layouts will only consider how the furniture and equipment like printers and copiers are arranged.

Here’s something else you need to include: space.

Adequate space for employees to work and take breaks can reduce stress and help them to focus.


Photo: Nevins Leaf Living Walls

Make the office appealing. Aesthetics play a key role in how pleasing the environment is for employees. Use soothing colors and let as much natural light as possible flow in. Indoor plants are attractive and they can freshen air and are proven to boost morale.

Types of Office Layouts

Planning and designing the office workspace will depend on the type of work needing done and the physical space limitations. Here are three main types of offices:

  • Open plan offices
  • Offices with private rooms
  • Hybrid office layouts


Photo: OFS Range Open-Plan Benching

An open plan office works well with fast-paced organizations where groups need close collaboration. Start-up tech companies made the concept popular. This layout is seen as budget-friendly since there are no or few walls to re-configure as space needs change.

Offices with private rooms benefit companies where individuals like attorneys and healthcare professionals have confidential client meetings in person or over the phone. This plan is associated with hierarchical companies where the president is known for having the large, stereotypical private office.

Hybrid office layouts have both open floor space and areas that are partitioned. A mostly open space is divided by modular cubicles or workstation pods that are grouped together. This layout is popular in companies like call centers or banks where some privacy is needed.


Photo: Trendway Volo Walls

3 Basic Tips for Designing a Productive Office

Keep the following principles in mind if you’re wondering how to plan a new office layout.

  • Communication is Key

Create an office layout that works well by understanding how much inter-employee communication needs to take place and how often departments need to collaborate.

Who does most of the communication? Does a project manager handle assignments from various teams? If so, this person, or small team, can be in a central location and act as a hub.

Do managers from different departments frequently share information in-person?

Create a central location where they can meet without interrupting those doing their work.

  • Break Areas are Essential

People need to step back from their daily tasks and take a breather. In an open office setting, workers still need quiet places to think, do some work privately or take phone calls.


Photo: OFS Coact Modular Lounge

Designate break areas that can be temporary work-free zones.

  • Keep Open Spaces

Don’t cram and pack people together. Provide space between workstations so workers don’t feel cramped. It’s like white space on a page.

If you see a printed page or webpage that’s jam packed with words, your eyes will glaze over and you won’t want to keep reading. White space is inviting and lets the reader skim the text. Open spaces inside an office are also inviting and welcoming.

Crowded spaces backfire, even in open office settings. People block each other out instead of collaborating. Architects and interior decorators won’t guide you through the layout process so you need to customize your space.

The lack of personal space is the biggest threat to a productive office, according to design publication Dezeen.com, as described in an article Open-plan office design is preventing workers from concentrating, study finds.

A well-designed office space creates enough privacy for employees to focus on the challenges in front of them and allows for collaboration.

This give-and-take approach to space planning is the 2010 Space Planning Strategy.

  • Ask Employees for Input

Create employee engagement by asking people to give input on what works well in their personal workspace. Get their feedback on their personal experience of what works well and what improvements can be made.

If you don’t want to overhaul a layout, but improve it then see which of the typical problems your office is experiencing.

Office Layout Problems to Correct

Do you recognize the following list of challenges in your office?

  • Distracting Noise
  • No personal space
  • Increased risk of catching colds, illness
  • Regular interruptions
  • Reduced job satisfaction with higher risk of talent turnover

Critics blame the open office. However, offices with thick cement walls can create a bunker mentality and make people feel blocked off and left out.

The office space itself is neutral. It’s how you plan the layout that impacts workers. Both introverts and extroverts can function in an open office plan, as noted in an article on the website of Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM).

The most satisfying office layout for workers is one where people have a choice in where and how they manage their work. An effective office plan can have a variety of private and open spaces.

Strategies to Tackle Office Layout Issues

Make an office as appealing and productive as possible by balancing the need for privacy with the need for collaboration.

This is challenging since there are seating arrangements that are communal like open plan benching. Open plan benching is a long work surface. Desking solutions like the ODS Artiv Open Plan Benching can have attractive privacy screens attached to create personal workspace.

When employees in an open benching situation need extra privacy, let them use the offices of those who are on vacation or family leave.

Reduce noise in an open-plan benching arrangement by installing cubicle-like partitions or bookcases holding plants and fabrics between seating areas. Use plenty of indoor plants to bring nature inside. Certain plants will absorb sound waves and refresh the air.

Install architectural walls or cubicle pods to create a conference room or designated conversation zone away from workstations. The interiors can have white boards and projectors to maximize interaction.

Create a small library or fun room as a break area.

If someone has a cold but is well enough to come to work, let them work in an area that’s away from other employees.

Develop a protocol for employees to let others know when they can’t be disturbed and need extended time to focus on a project.

An office layout that’s designed for as much productivity as possible will go beyond the placement of workstations and equipment. Other elements, like lighting, keep people alert and productive.

 


Photo: Humanscale Vessel Lighting

Lighting Design in an Office Layout

Natural light is the most important lighting system for office productivity. Open office designs allow as much natural light as possible to flow through the space.

Does your office design let workers share the light? Desks should be within twenty-five feet of windows. For those farther away, install solar tubes or office skylights if possible.

Keep artificial light at levels that are bright enough without creating glare. Offer screen protectors to shield people’s eyes if they spend long hours on their laptops or desktops.

Install lighting controls or task lighting solutions at individual workstations so employees can use the amount of light that works best for them.


Photo: Humanscale Element 790, Horizon 2.0 & Infinity Lighting

Plan to Use Quality Workstations and Ergonomic Chairs

A workstation is not just a workstation. A manager will need a cubicle layout that accommodates two or three people to have more personal meetings than a programmer or graphic designer who needs extended time alone.

The best desking solutions are modular and are designed to let people work together well.

The Desk Makers Teamworx Open Plan Desking can accommodate a few people without making them feel crowded.


Photo: DeskMakers TeamWorx Open-Plan Benching

Use benching solutions that define personal work areas such as the ODS Lift Table Height Adjustable Workstation. This is especially useful for shared workstations since each employee can adjust the surface to a comfortable height.


Photo: ODS (Office Design Studio) Lift Height Adjustable Tables

Ergonomic furniture isn’t just a passing fad. Quality chairs promote good posture and support the body’s natural movements. Armrests support the shoulders and upper back while the back of the chair should complement the body’s natural curve and provide lumbar support.

Workers stay comfortable and reduce the risk of strains in the lower back muscles, the elbows and knees.

Adjust the height of a chair so a person’s feet are comfortably flat on the floor and they can look at the computer screen without having to tilt their head forward and lean down.

Planning on what products to use and where to place them makes the most of your available space.


Photo: OFS Obeya Architectural Structures

Get the Expertise You Need

The 2010 Space Planning Strategy can show you how to accommodate your workstations and your break area so that spaces are well-defined and laid out in a logical fashion.

Make the office work for the whole person. Maximizing productivity doesn’t mean just churning through a to-do list. Instead, it’s a strategic process to provide solutions for your customers.

Invest in people by designing a layout that supports their skill set and you’ll boost the overall work environment.

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs. Call or submit your questions.

Our team has more than 45 years of experience serving corporations, universities and small businesses throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Choosing the Best Benching or Desking Workstations in Los Angeles
Main Photo by: OFS
Resources & Special Thanks to: Rivier University, Dezeen, SHRM & Respective Product Manufacturers: OFS, DeskMakers, Humanscale, Nevins, ODS & Trendway