Modern Office Evolution: Office Furniture Through the Years

Today

Modern office evolution shows us drastically how different our office today look from our office not even two decades ago. Office designers of this decade like to focus on boosting employee engagement by prioritizing their well-being. The office of today isn’t just one building where everyone works in isolating cubicles; they are made up of huddle rooms, break rooms and touchdown spaces specifically tailored to the employees need, whether it be collaboration and socializing or a quiet space to focus. In addition to the evolution of traditional environments, new trends are being brought into the workplace to increase employee satisfaction, such as the resimercial, biophilic, and Scandinavian office trends. Furthermore, in the face of the pandemic, no longer do we adhere to the traditional office setups. Modern home office design has even garnered a lot of attention lately as many continue to work from home or adopt hybrid schedules.  We’ve introduced flexibility to the workforce due to our current circumstances and advanced technology and learned that some corporations are thriving in remote and hybrid work.

Modern Office Evolution: Office Furniture Through the Years
Photo: The Modern Office 

From the way we design our spaces to the way we work, there has been a huge overhaul for the better when looking at the evolution of office design. But how did we get here? Let’s explore the story and dig a little deeper into the modern office evolution.

A Brief History Of The Modern Office

The 1800s

The concept of the office has existed since Roman times, but the first modern office—with the term “modern” used loosely—appeared in the 1800s in Britain. Why Britain? At this time Britain’s East India Trading Company had just begun to expand their trade and influence in other countries and thus needed their own headquarters. Sir Charles Trevelyan, a secretary that worked at the company at the time, described the offices as “separate rooms [that] are necessary so that a person who works with his head may not be interrupted…” while those with lower jobs in mechanical work “[work] in concert of a number of clerks in the same room under proper superintendence…”


Photo: Traditional Office Building

Sound familiar?

The 1900s

What are the factors in the evolution of workplace design?  Fast forward to the 1900s and suddenly there is a plethora of office designs being made. With an increasing workforce, Frank Lloyd Wright presents the first open-plan office building for SC Johnson Wax. The first open-plan office layout featured wide amounts of open space populated by desks laid out in a grid-like fashion and no walls. Wright created this working environment where there are no divided, smaller offices because he wanted to inspire communication between employees. He wanted to create a more familial office culture that increased collaboration and creativity.

Modern Office Evolution: Office Furniture Through the Years
Photo: The Open-Plan Office

When something new trends, it’s usually because it is a reaction to the current fashion. The same holds true for Taylorism. Named after Frank Taylor, Taylorism applied science to office design. Taylorism didn’t concern itself with collaboration and communication between employees the same way Wright did. While there were similarities in their designs with workers sitting side-by-side in rows of long desks, productivity ultimately ruled over everything. Workers were grouped in the middle of the office while managers ringed the interior to keep an eye on them. Humans have held a long obsession with productivity and we see it most prominently in work culture. Taylorism epitomized it, but in doing so left out crucial human and social elements that resulted in unhappy employees and dehumanizing working environments.


Photo: Rows of Chairs Signifying The Taylorism Office

In the mid to late twentieth century, the currents of change shifted again. Shortly after Taylorism had taken root, a German design approach named Burolandschaft gained traction as a popular design for workplaces because it aimed to democratize the workplace and encourage interaction among colleagues. In response to the open plan office, Robert Propst created what he dubbed the “Action Office” because, in his words, “Today’s office is a wasteland. It saps vitality, blocks talent, frustrates accomplishment. It is the daily scene of unfulfilled intentions and failed effort.”

And thus entered the era of cubicles.

The cubicles the Action Offices featured were meant to offer an alternate work environment that gave a degree of privacy while not restricting movement. Propst designed them to have a huge desk space that allowed for making phone calls, a vertical filing system, and partitions for privacy. What’s more, the desks were meant to be height adjustable—allowing people to stand while they work to help with blood flow. It was a progressive plan that could have advanced the office to new heights.


Photo: The Ideal Cubicle

So how did it become the cubicles we loathed?

Simply put, it flopped. The Action Office that Propst had in mind was too expensive and too high concept to fit the market. Instead, Herman Miller, the company Propst worked under, released a scaled down version with an enclosed modular desk system and none of features that favored employee satisfaction. Businesses found it easier and cheaper to cram people into small spaces that were called “cubicle farms” for their dehumanizing features.

Modern Office Evolution: Office Furniture Through the Years
Photo: Standard Cubicles

Back to the Present

Cubicles are still a part of the office—but they’ve been overhauled and modernized to fit current needs. With companies now prioritizing worker morale, there’s a plethora of new spaces being designed and expanded. The office doesn’t have to be the only workplace anymore, but if you ever want to return to traditional elements, reworked cubicles offer a variety of options that take into consideration privacy and community without compromising one or the other.

We’ve come a long way with office design. Throughout the decades, architects and designers have tried to tackle productivity through various methods and it reflects in the trends of its time. But with the current focus on employee happiness in the modern office evolution, we can look forward to fewer cloistered designs and more flexible office plans.

Evolving with Modern Office Evolution

Explore the latest office furniture ideas for planning your modern office at 2010 Office Furniture. Our team has nearly 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 modern office that fits perfectly for you and your employees.

Read Also: Office Furniture Trends 2022

Office Furniture Trends 2022: What’s New in Commercial Office Furniture

Stylex Seating

Over the last decade we’ve seen tremendous changes in our offices and how we work — especially within the last couple of years. Office furniture trends of 2022 are no doubt a reflection of these important changes.  As we recover from a world pandemic, our schedules are less structured, our interactions more organic and our technology more advanced. Innovations in office furniture have allowed us to complete our tasks much faster and be more mobile at work.

From the way we complete our daily tasks to how we meet and share ideas – our offices are changing in remarkable and exciting ways.  As we review 2022’s office furniture trends, let’s ask ourselves, “How did we get to here today? And what do we have to look forward to?”

Workstations

Workstations Then
Photo: The Open Office Plan Setup

THEN: Open-plan benching systems have been the go-to workstations ever since their revival in the early 2010s. Designer Frederick Taylor pioneered the idea of the open office back in the early 1900s, claiming it was the secret to productivity. And over the last decade or so, they’ve regained much popularity especially among health-conscious millennials who found cubicles to be somewhat oppressive and confining.  Open-plan benching systems, on the other hand, promoted open communication and collaboration, and kept productivity in mind while fostering team camaraderie and employee wellbeing.  They also helped ease high costs of construction, utilities and office equipment, because they’re typically modular and can be set up and reconfigured much more easily in huge open spaces without having to partition areas by building walls.  The open-plan set-up is not without its drawbacks, however.  They can be noisy and have been criticized for imposing too much distraction to workers, making it difficult for focused individual work.

NOW: To remedy the shortcomings of open-plan benching systems, semi-private workstations are now taking center stage as the optimized solution for the open office.  Providing just enough barriers and partitions, they are not as severely closed-off as traditional cubicles.  They work better to offer needed quiet and privacy while still open enough to facilitate collaboration, interaction and exchange of ideas.  Moreover, to avoid costs of having to implement entirely new workstations, many offices are now retrofitting their existing open-plan benching systems to be more semi-private, by attaching raised panels or adding storage bins and cabinets, as well as glass or plexiglass dividers.  With improved separation between workers, this promoted better social distancing and sanitation practices in the workplace, especially during the post-COVID era.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Workstation NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Groupe Lacasse Paradigm Workstations & Senator Workpod

Private Offices

Private Offices ThenPhoto: Traditional Private Office

THEN: Private offices have thrived since the Taylorist 1900s era, and continue to be popular even today. Executives and managers especially benefit from private offices, which provide the needed privacy for focused work over extended hours and allowed them to meet with clients privately.  Often furnished with a complete office furniture suite, the private office generally consists of a large personal desk, a return for additional work surface real-estate, chairs for guests, and credenza and hutch with shelves and cabinets for storage.  This private room setup offers maximum privacy for confidential meetings and concentrated work, and most of the time includes windows overlooking employees to supervise them as they work. It’s the ideal setup for 9-to-5/five days a week schedules for many professionals.

NOW: While private offices are here to stay, office furniture trends in 2022 are seeing a rise of touch-down spaces. Touch-down spaces are smaller, more casual private or semi-private spaces for on-the-go professionals and executives to work. Today’s much more dynamic lifestyles and technology have allowed and granted more flexibility in our work culture.  We can now complete most of our tasks anywhere on a laptop and be able to meet with clients in more comfortable informal settings.  These less structured setups best accommodate the hybrid work-from-home/work-at-the-office schedules that have emerged from the COVID era.  Professionals are able to come to work, interact with colleagues and coworkers, have a designated space for focused work, but are still mobile to be able to pick up their work and relocate.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Private Offices NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Trendway Volo Walls create individual workspaces; Global Priva Acoustic Pods & Hat Collective M-Series Wall Mount Worksurfaces

Meeting Spaces

Meeting Spaces ThenPhoto: Traditional Conference Room

THEN: Meetings are as old as time, and they have always had one thing in common: one location. Starting from the 1900s, office furniture has stayed generally the same in terms of the meeting room. These spaces, most commonly referred to as conference rooms, are typically private and spacious areas with a large and stately table in the center to seat a group of people for power meetings, presentations and exchange of ideas. Traditional conference rooms are designed to impress and slightly intimidate; they’re the place where executives would meet, negotiate important decisions and strike million-dollar deals.

NOW: The past several years have seen a sort of democratization of the workplace. The open office has especially paved the way toward a more inclusive work culture where employees have free rein to roam about, and have access to all areas of the workplace.  There’s less need for huge, traditional meeting rooms that feel too formal. More professionals are gravitating to smaller meeting areas, sometimes referred to as huddle rooms, which are designed to be leaner, meaner, more efficient to use and accessible to everyone. The past couple of years of COVID especially have pushed for improved telecommunications and popular video-teleconference platforms such as Skype and Zoom. Meetings no longer need to take place in one location. Fully equipped with power and state-of-the-art A/V equipment, these new and improved spaces now allow for a quick gathering, brainstorming or impromptu collaboration without even having to be physically together. A more appropriate solution for the times, they help promote social distancing safety by keeping fewer groups of people together and allowing them the flexibility to meet virtually.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Meeting Spaces NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: OFS Heya Meeting Lounge, Scale 1:1 Telemeet Media Table & OFS Obeya Architectural Structures 

Training and Collaboration

Training Then
Photo: Traditional Training Room Setup

THEN: Training and collaboration spaces are crucial to every company. These spaces are generally made up of numerous rows of chairs and tables lined up auditorium-style, inside a room specifically designed for training employees, group orientation or team-building exercises. Typically designed to be very capacious, they’re able to seat a great number of people all at one time, and typically orient a group audience toward a speaker, not unlike a classroom or lecture hall.  Oftentimes these setups can feel severely rigid, formal and overly spacious, especially when only a handful of people need to use them.

NOW: Today, training and collaborative spaces are very much designed with the interaction of people in mind.  The philosophy behind the design focuses on harboring a sense of community while facilitating a more intuitive and organic flow of interaction and communication among people.  Now, we see breakrooms, lounges and other common areas that double as training spaces, in a less formal way. Comfortable modular furniture works best for this purpose, as they can nest together to accommodate group sessions, then be rearranged after to serve another purpose such as for lounge or individual work. Sometimes, it’s a mixture of sofas or individual seating with built in laptop and tablet tables.  Sometimes, stools, benches and ottomans are used with occasional, nesting or bar-height parsons tables, along with mobile white boards and TV displays.  Whatever the type of furniture, they’re meant to be dynamic, and are often on casters for ease of mobility and reconfiguration. These modern training and collaborative spaces are all about adaptability and flexibility, working to accommodate people’s natural way of interaction. The lines of formality are blurred, and optimized communication and comfort are prioritized.


Office Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Senator Play Collection, Hat Collection M-Series Nesting Tables & OFS Coact Mobile Chairs and Heya Screen

Continued Evolution

With continued innovation in office furniture, there really isn’t one way to design an office anymore. Office layouts are fluid, and every generation focuses on different aspects of our professional lives and cultures to create what they believe is the perfect workplace for the times. Whereas the 1900s may have prioritized employees’ productivity and efficiency, many today weigh a significant value in employees’ happiness and wellbeing – because of the belief that worker satisfaction ultimately drives better productivity and efficiency. One thing will always remain however, and that is the constant improvement of the office to meet the ever-changing demands of businesses and the individuals who work for them. With a watchful eye on office furniture trends in 2022 and years beyond, we can look forward to new designs and solutions that will always reflect the culture of our times.

Following Office Furniture Trends of 2022

If you need help planning or designing your office space, please contact us and share your needs.  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.

Read Also: Designing a Healthy Office
Main Photo: Stylex Seating
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Global, Groupe LacasseHat CollectionOFSScale 1:1, Senator & 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

Creating Workspaces to Bring Employees and Their Ideas Together

Creating Workspaces to Bring Employees and Their Ideas Together

Designing an office and creating workspaces that spark ideas and innovation is different than creating ones based solely on square footage and placement of workstations.

To get the most from your work environment, think of the office as more than a facility and a collection of desks.

Think of it as a collision center.

Here’s why.

How to Measure the Value of an Office

Offices in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Irvine and around Ontario aren’t cheap. For the foreseeable future, many employees will work remotely for at least one or two days per week. The amount of money you’re paying per square foot could seem like a waste of money. You may want to get out of a lease if you have one or downsize in some other way.

Create workspaces that become a place of engagement. Unused spaces could be places for new opportunities.

Consider how the environment is currently set up, and see if it really brings about the interactions that can propel your company forward to meet your specific goals.

The value of an office is more than what you pay for—it’s how the space is planned and whether or not it allows for people coming together easily and naturally.

The work environment can be engineered to bring about desired outcomes.

The Office as a Casual Communication Tool

In recent decades, there have been some interior design changes in buildings such as open ceilings where the duct work is visible among others. In comparison, the tools we use to work have changed drastically.

Even though surveys show people enjoy the benefits of remote working, creating workspaces that leverage the power of community and allow casual conversation will always be attractive to employees.


Photo: Allermuir Jinx Lounge

Why casual?

Imagine you’re working on a project and you feel stymied. When you pause to take a break, you get up for a drink or a snack and your mind relaxes.

During a casual conversation with another team member, you might bring up the problem while you’re away from the pressure of the moment. You’re not tense, and solutions come to mind.

An article in the Harvard Business Review, “Workspaces that Move People,” notes that “The team’s break area becomes a crucial collision space. At one call center, the company expanded the break room and gave reps more time to hang out there with colleagues. Paradoxically, productivity shot up after the change. Away from their phones, the reps could circulate knowledge within the group.”

Creating Workspaces with Collision Spaces

Office spaces that bring co-workers together in face-to-face interactions are known as “collision spaces.”

The seemingly informal areas allow for a free flow of dialogue and help people process. In a more formal setting, like a conference room during a team meeting, stronger personalities, or those with authoritative titles, often rule the day—and the outcomes.


Photo: Stylex Open Office Lounge and Workstation

Many times, employees don’t speak up because they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing in front of others.

However, in a place where someone can sit and relax with a pad of paper and pen, or easily cradle a laptop, there’s less pressure to perform.

The placement of furniture is one way to create an informal, collaborative area that leads to brainstorming.

Photo: OFS Kintra Table, Stylex Free Address 2.0 Open Office and Global River Lounge

Have comfortable lounge chairs with plenty of personal space between each one, but stagger the direction they’re facing. Use furnishings that are easy to re-arrange so chairs can be brought closer together or turned away from each other for maximum privacy.

Take a new approach with cubicles.

The Benefits of Today’s Cubicles

Casual conversations don’t only have to occur in informal areas.

Departments can plan collaborative spaces using the many solutions that encourage focused communication. Say you have workstations attached together in pods, like the HON Adobe Workstation.


Photo: HON Abound Workstation

And rather than have a more formal conference room, you have one cubicle that’s set apart for sessions that can either be planned or take place on the spur-of-the-moment.

You can set up a cubicle that has plenty of space for a table and a few chairs. The Friant System 2 Workstation is a good example. Panels can be installed so that there are three walls and an opening, so it has privacy with a friendly feeling.


Photo: Friant Systems 2 Workspace

When space is planned for effective interactions, then the office can become a desirable destination. Work and meetings can be done remotely, but the missing ingredient, notes the International Association of Independent Accounting Firms, is the ability to have those prized moments of unexpected, but useful, conversation.

It’s a way to capture the entrepreneurial spirit and keep morale high. The office becomes a center for synergy that lead to solutions and positive outcomes.

Get an Expert Perspective on Creating Workspaces

Arrange your office to get the maximum amount of productivity from your employees when creating workspaces for your different departments. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has more than 50 years of experience planning spaces for corporations, centers of higher education and small-to-medium sized businesses in Southern California.

Contact them to share about your possible needs and projects.

Read Also: Designing an Office to Support Your Employees
Main Photo: National Mio Table
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Allermuir, Friant, HONNational, OFS, & Stylex

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.)

Modular Home Office Furniture to Improve Working from Home

Modular Home Office Furniture to Improve Working from Home

The idea of work from home has gained popularity in recent times. Many organizations provide the facility of working from home to the employees to cater to the needs of the staff and to ensure convenience. Also, there are already many artists, freelancers, and startup entrepreneurs who are spending their days working at home. To ensure that sufficient infrastructure is available, home office furnishing has been introduced which offers an excellent level of comfort and space to organize work at home.

Home office furniture can be a simple table and chair or can be a sophisticated set to manage the space and organize the paperwork at the home workspace. Depending upon the need, a person can select from a wide range of designs available. Home office furniture is aesthetically and ergonomically designed to provide the best comfort while working. There are modular home office furniture items available in the market that are created by specialists to avoid space restraints at home.


Photo: HON Voi Modular Desk / Workstation

Modular Home Office Furniture

Modular furniture is composed of small sets called modules that are arranged together to form the complete furniture. The autonomous sets are designed to be arranged and rearranged to form the perfect home furniture. These are pre-made or ready furniture pieces for different spaces.

Some of the benefits of setting modular furniture at home are:

Flexibility: Modular furniture can be arranged as per the space requirement and convenience of the person. The modules can be fixed together to form a work station, desk, or separate space for the files. This provides flexibility in managing the space and organizing the work.

Space Saving: The available space at most homes is not adequate to manage the whole office infrastructure and the traditional office furniture is stocky and takes an ample amount of floor spacing which restricts movement. Modular home furniture, on the other hand, occupies less space and makes the most of the space available at home. Even when not in use, the modular furniture can be downsized to be stored in storerooms.


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Concept Modular Desk Set

Aesthetically Built for Homes

Office furniture designed for homes comes in different configurations and sizes and can be matched to suit the space and interior of the room. Various colors are available in the market and on platforms online to choose from.

Sleek and Appropriate: No one wants big cabinets and shelves to occupy the space and make the place overwhelming. Modular furniture is sleek and light and will easily fit in small spaces. With modular furniture, separations can be created so that each desk, chair, chest of drawers, file organizers, copying machines, and printers all have their separate spaces.

Easy to Move: The best part of modular home furniture is that it can be easily moved to a different place whenever needed. If you are relocating to a different place, then there won’t be a need to leave behind your favorite furniture. The furniture can be disassembled and the modules can be packed separately and transported.


Photo: Friant Dash Revitalize Modular Office Furniture

Factors to Consider While Buying

If you have decided to buy home office furniture, then keep in mind the following pointers as they will help you in selecting the right furniture for your home:

Functional Designs: Rather than going for contemporary designs, select the designs that are adjustable and easy to fit. The desks and chairs available in the market have adjustable heights and you can easily move them up and down at your convenience.

Comfort Always Comes First: Since you will be spending a lot of your time sitting in front of the computer writing a business plan or having meetings online with your colleagues, the design of the chair should be selected to provide comfort to the body. If you spend long hours on the desk, then you should go for ergonomic chairs that provide extra comfort to the spine and ensure contoured back support. The armrests, headrest, and height of the chair are adjustable to provide movement while sitting for long hours.


Photo: DeskMakers Ascend Modular Desk Set

Proper Lighting: As you will be continuously working on the desk, it is imperative that there is adequate lighting on the desk. Modular home office furniture has exclusive designs of lamps which are adjustable in height and illumination. Be sure that you check the lights available with the furniture while making a purchase.

Ample Storage Space: You will have a lot of files and paperwork to take care of and to manage that, you should check the bookcases provided with the furniture or other storage solutions. This will help in organizing any vital paperwork that you might need later.

Your home office is the place where you can’t compromise on comfort, as it will lead to less efficiency and productivity. To make working at home more comfortable and enjoyable, many furniture companies offer customized home office furniture solutions to meet your needs.


Photo: National WaveWorks Height Adjustable Table and Storage Solution

Get the Modular Home Office Furniture Expertise You Need

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs and laying out an office that meets the needs of employees and departments.

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: Reasons to Refresh and Improve Office Layout
Main Photo by: Arcadia WorkSmith Table
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Arcadia ContractDeskMakersGroupe Lacasse, Friant, HON, National, and ODS / Office Design Studio

Modern Cubicles Office Workstation

Modern Cubicles Office Workstation

Office layout plays a very important role in creating a work environment in the office. A healthy work environment can bring in more leads and sales for companies and increase the productivity of the workforce. Office layout defines company culture. When companies are starting, they pay a great amount of attention to the details on what type of office furniture should be used and what layout will go with it. Providing updated, comfortable furniture such as modern cubicles and planning an attractive layout of the office helps in hiring and retaining top employees. On the other hand, uncomfortable furniture and poor office layout impacts the health of the employees in the long run and causes a sense of discomfort when stepping into the office. Top companies make sure that the comfort and satisfaction level of the employees is taken well care of since they consider them to be their greatest asset.

Types of Workstations

Office workstations take a fair share in building the office layout. Over time, the idea of an ideal office workstation has evolved. From the cubicle to open to modular office workstation, companies have constantly adapted to the changing demands. Many companies opt for an open office environment by removing barriers and cubicle walls. This design is often known as a “benching system,” which includes close seating arrangements for the employees with carefully planned power integration. Though the benching system is fairly a new concept and many companies are opting for it, it has its disadvantages. That is the reason many companies have remained with the cubicle systems over the years. They might have modernized their workspaces but the main inspiration behind the arrangement is the traditional cubicle system.


Photo: National WaveWorks Open Plan Workstation

Modern Cubicles

Many companies are reverting to office cubicle workstations by making some improvisations in their idea. The idea of the cubicle was first proposed in 1967. The idea was to give the worker the feel of personal office while managers can monitor their activities and performance. Modern workstation cubicles help in isolating workers, which decreases the distraction level and increase their concentration on the task. Overhead bins, shelving, and drawers are the major components of the cubicle to meet the basic requirements of the employees. The following are few of the benefits of modern cubicles.


Photo: Friant Novo Modern Cubicle Panel System

Increased Productivity

Research has shown that the employees who work in modern cubicles have 50% more productivity than those who work in an open office. The reason for the increase in productivity is because of a significant drop in distraction from the other employees and lesser noise. The percentage of error-free work also dramatically increases when employees work in cubicle workstations.


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

Privacy

Another advantage of using these modern cubicle office workstations is that they provide a sense of security and privacy when dealing with sensitive data and materials. Some employees find it hard to focus on their work because they feel like they are always being watched, which in turn affects their productivity negatively. To facilitate these kinds of employees, managers tend to be inclined towards using cubicles to maintain discipline, aid focused work, and help the employees meet the given deadlines.


Photo: Trendway Choices Modern Cubicle Panel System

Modern Cubicles Price Factor

Modern office cubicles serve the purpose of facilitating employees with their personal space without getting too heavy on the pocket. Rather than providing individuals with their separate room or office, companies can go for modern office cubicles. The average space of a cubicle in 1994 was 90 sqft, which shrunk to 75 sqft in 2010. The rent of offices has drastically increased through the decades, so to optimize the workspace, the size of the cubicle was decreased. The cubicles have been downsized to 5′ x 5′ ft space from 8x10ftspace. The average cost of a cubicle ranges from $1000 to $2000, which doesn’t include tax, installation, or delivery charges. The construction of office cubicles is a one-time cost, and the same cubicles can be used in case the company decides to shift its office or decides to expand. These cubicles are durable and reliable.

Design Improvements

Some improvement has been made in the cubicle design; for example, now office cubicles use sliding doors, which helps in using the designated space more efficiently. Instead of providing each employee with the locker room, overhead bins are used, which are cost-effective and saves space. Employees can also stick their pictures and motivational quotes in their cubicle and personalize them according to their needs. This way, they will get a sense of belonging to the workplace, which can positively impact their work.


Photo: ODS / Office Design Studio Crossroads Modern Cubicle Panel System

Mobility

Materials used in building office cubicles are easily available and inexpensive as compared to the traditional office room. Concrete office rooms use a lot of materials to be constructed, and they’re not mobile either. While on the other hand, office cubicles can be made from plywood or special cardboard. It is also easily set up and can be moved easily.

Standardization

Modern office cubicle workstations also give employees a sense of standardization since every employee gets the same working space. It increases the spirit of employees and also increases the cohesiveness between them and the management. The company’s office layout helps in promoting the brand of the company. The appearance of the workplace matters a lot. Neat and functional workspaces boost the morale of the employees and create a sense of belonging to the work culture.
Photo: Global Divide Workstations

Flexibility

Office cubicles are a popular idea in today’s age because it doesn’t require to be built all at once. For example, if a company has 30 employees, they can build the required number of cubicles. As new hiring is completed, new cubicles can be constructed accordingly, which cuts the upfront cost for the office.

Things to Also Consider

Though it is important to get it installed by professionals and experts to save time, proper planning on the structure and size of the cubicle is required. Many offices create cubicles that are too small for the employee in which they cannot work comfortably. The other disadvantage of a cubicle is that it causes hindrance in coordination with the other employees in case proper meeting channels are not practiced in office.


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Paradigm Workstations

Get the Modern Cubicles Expertise You Need

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs and laying out an office that meets the needs of employees and departments.

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: Easy Ways to Reduce Office Stress and Create a Welcoming Atmosphere
Main Photo by: Groupe Lacasse
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Groupe Lacasse, National, Friant, HONTrendway, ODS / Office Design Studio and Global

Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity

Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity

Creating and designing an ergonomic workplace with ergonomic workstations isn’t just a passing fad. Here’s why.

You’ve known plenty of dedicated employees who struggle with maladies such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back strain, or spend hours squinting at the computer screen. In the break room or in social settings, how many times have you heard co-workers or friends moan and say they’re getting older?

What do you think?

Do you know the impact that the right desk, chair and lighting can have on office well-being and productivity?

Find out how ergonomics came about so you get a good understanding of not just how to create ergonomic workstations but why it’s important.


Photo: HON Empower Height Adjustable Tables

What is Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of how employees interact with their work surroundings. The purpose is creating an environment to meet the needs of workers instead of making employees fit into the work setting.

Can you identify with this familiar situation?

A person types away hours every day on a keyboard and strains the wrist. Who hasn’t heard of carpal tunnel syndrome? The employee has to take time off to get treatments or can’t work as productively.

Keyboards, chairs and desks are now designed to support good posture instead of making workers potentially suffer more problems. The equipment is designed to help people do their tasks well and reduce the risk of injuries.

Ergonomics, also known as human factors, creates efficiencies while minimizing problems that come from doing repetitive tasks. The discipline is appropriate for both white collar workstations and factory floors.

How Ergonomics Came About

An Italian physician in the late 1600s noticed how metal mining workers suffered poor health. Respiratory illnesses were prevalent but also their bodies were affected by awkward working positions.

They forced their bodies to meet the demands of the working environment and paid a price in poor health.

Skip ahead to 1857 when a Polish biologist is credited for creating the word ergonomics based on the Greek words ergon (work) and nomos (natural laws).

Now head into the late 20th century and into Southern California where local universities like UCLA started to improve working conditions through ergonomics. Since 1987, UCLA’s Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program has “trained thousands of workers and supervisors in office ergonomics.”

A company of any size can design a work environment to adapt to the needs of its people. Let’s see how this is done by looking at something as simple as the office chair.

What Ergonomic Stations Reduce or Prevent

In the late 1800s, the growth of railroads in the U.S. made it possible for businesses to reach customers across the country. A heavy emphasis was placed on office administration to track orders.

Bookkeepers, secretaries and other support staff needed something to sit on. Wooden office chairs were a one-size fits all solution. End of story.

The chairs were sturdy and you didn’t have to worry about them breaking or falling apart. They were completely stationary. If you had to bend and take paper from a desk drawer your hips and back had to pivot since the chair was built to stay in one place.

If your hips or lower back got sore, then you’d take anti-inflammatories to temporarily reduce the pain.

Along came executive chairs that looked fancier and had wheels. Now you could glide to the nearby filing cabinet or to the phone. By the 1970s, more executive chairs were designed to support a person’s body.

Executive office chairs were more comfortable, but they still didn’t address two underlying maladies facing the modern office worker:

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries

This is more than just bad backs. MSDs affect nerves, ligaments, blood vessels and tendons as noted on a write-up of ergonomics on the OSHA website.

When a person does the same work constantly at a desk or chair that’s at an improper height and they have poor posture, they’re at risk for repetitive strain injuries. MSDs lead to frequent absences from work.

Employee absenteeism became widespread and serious studies evolved on how workers interacted with the workplace. That’s the focus of ergonomics.

Flip the calendar back to the early 1900s and you’ll find in-depth work appearing on ergonomics. The growth and use of aviation in the world wars that followed made the U.S. military see how they could make crew members better able to handle their duties. Engineers studied the intersection of airplane design and the limitations of the human body.

Now, back to the office.

Here’s where this extensive research has taken us—to high quality solutions that are readily available.


Photo: 9 to 5 Seating Ergonomic Chairs

You work in an office every day but can you name the basics element of a workstation?

If not, no problem. It’s listed below.

Principles of Ergonomic Workstations

What makes up a workstation?

  • Desk or Worksurface
  • Chair
  • Monitor and Keyboard or Laptop
  • Mouse and Mouse Pad
  • Lighting


Photo: Humanscale M10 Monitor Arm

Do those last two items surprise you? They shouldn’t.

Learn why as you read along.

When setting up an ergonomics workstation, pay attention to the space design of the room, a key part of the 2010 Space Planning Strategy.

Also look at the placement of accessories and the equipment layout on the desk as noted in a detailed write up on computer workstation ergonomics by The University of Western Australia. A person’s joints shouldn’t be stressed while sitting and working.

Here’s a summary of how an ergonomic workstation keeps a person in a neutral position:

Be seated so you’re eye level with the top of the computer screen.

Use a wrist pad when not typing to rest your wrists at a neutral position. Wrist pads aren’t meant to be used while typing.

Adjust armrests so elbows are close to the side of the body and are bent at a 90 degree to 100-degree angle.

Adjust the chair so feet are sitting either comfortably flat on the floor or on a footrest.

Be aware of good posture. An article and infographic from the province of Alberta, Canada notes that your ears should be above the shoulders. Those should be over the hips. This position reduces back strain. Use a lumbar pillow or roll against the lower back for extra support.

Now, let’s look at individual items.

Desks

Here’s a tip for working comfortably at a desk. Make sure the surface has everything within easy reach so you don’t have to turn and twist unnecessarily.

How does your desk adjust to your body so you can be more productive and reduce the risk of injuries? Height adjustable desks are an ergonomic solution in many offices.

Desks that support good health can be used in private offices and serve the needs of one person or they can be used in a pod of four people or more. Each person can adjust the desk to suit their preferences so they can work using the best posture possible.

If you’re wondering what to look for in the best ergonomic desks then consider this: make sure the desk changes heights quietly and is easy to reset.

How heavy will the items be on the surface? You don’t want equipment that creates instability.

Height adjustable desks fit well in compact spaces, executive suites and open plan offices.

The equipment does more than provide a place to work. Desks that adapt promote office wellness. A 12-month workplace study from the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that height adjustable desks are linked to increased productivity, better concentration and improved health overall.


Photo: HON Empower Height Adjustable Worksurface

 


Photo: Humanscale QuickStand 

Office aesthetics are important, and today’s desks fit traditional office spaces and the latest floor plans.


Photo: HON Empower Worksurfaces with Privacy Screens

A private office desk like the Krug Adesso Height Adjustable Desk has a finely crafted appearance while the Hon 10500 Series Height Adjustable Desk is minimal for a compact work place and collaborative open floor plans.

Desks are a good way to improve ergonomics, but now let’s look at chairs.

Chairs

Sitting for a long period of time simply isn’t a natural position for the body. That’s why it’s important to move. Stretching every 20 minutes to a half hour and take a quick walking break every 90 minutes to two hours.

Moving gives your muscles and tendons a chance to reset.

Make sitting easier and less harmful to your body by using an ergonomic chair that supports a body’s natural movement.

Think of it this way.

You’re not sitting still on a chair. You’re reaching for files, turning to look or listen to a co-worker, and, yes, sitting with good posture, we hope, while typing up your latest report.


Photo: Humanscale Freedom Chairs with Headrests

Remember that ergonomics is meant to keep the body in a neutral position, meaning little to no strains on the joints and lower back.

If you’re looking for the best ergonomic chair, then you need a chair that has a comfortable tilt to it with good lumbar support. Make sure your knees are bent at about 90 degrees. Use a footrest if your feet don’t touch the floor.

Choosing a chair that works is subjective since no two bodies are the same. Evaluate the material, the durability, and overall comfort. Make sure the chair provides support so you’re not hunched over or leaning forward excessively.

Ergonomic Computer Accessories

Posture has a tremendous impact on overall well-being. Your head weighs as much as 12-pound to 14-pound bowling ball so you don’t want to learn forward to squint at the computer screen.

The more your head tilts forward, the more you’ll strain your muscles at the base of your neck and along your shoulders.

Keep computer screens at an eye level so you don’t have to lean forward to read the screen. Accessories like a keyboard and mouse should let the arms remain horizontal. Be careful that your wrists aren’t bent or extended upright.

Office lighting also affects your work and posture.


Photo: Humanscale Keyboard Tray Systems


Photo: Humanscale Keyboard Tray Systems

Light


Photo: Humanscale Vessel Pendant Lights

Light does more than just let you see what you’re doing. Controlling the proper amount of light flowing from windows and lights is part of an ergonomic office design.

The right amount of light in an office boosts your employees’ morale. Natural light is a proven mood booster that promotes a restful night’s sleep as well.

There are three basic types of lighting:

  • General
  • Localized-general
  • Local, also called task lighting

General lighting covers a large area such as ceiling lamps that cover a wide area.

Localized-general lights include ceiling lamps that can direct light to specific areas.

Task lighting is much more focused and lets specific users adjust light levels. Desk lamps are a good example of task lighting.

Good lighting tips include arranging light fixtures so they’re not creating glare on computer screens, but providing enough focused light so users don’t have to squint.

Light “enhances the mood and desirability” of work spaces and public places as noted by the International Association of Lighting Designers.

Now consider the various elements of an ergonomically sound workplace? Can you understand what it ultimately delivers?


Photo: Humanscale Infinity Desktop Light

The Ergonomic Workstation Solution

Sitting comfortably with good posture, being able to handle repetitive tasks with little discomfort and working with proper light are all elements of an ergonomic workstation, and healthy work environment.

How we feel physically also impacts our thinking and our emotions. Investments in the right equipment are investments in people and their health.

Make this a team effort. One person in the office doesn’t have to decide how to carry out improvements and changes. Employees typically want their voices heard.

A successful ergonomics program involves employees in worksite assessments, solution development and implementation.

Here’s the end result of an office that’s planned well.

Expect a reduction in absenteeism from ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome, aching shoulders and bad backs. Employees will be more engaged and alert with proper workstations and a supportive environment.

Give your team the opportunity to function at their optimal levels.


Photo: Friant System 2 Workstations


Photo: Humanscale Ergonomic Workspaces

Get the Expertise You Need

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs and laying out an office that meets the needs of employees and departments. 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: Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity
Main Photo by: ODS / Office Design Studio
Resources & Special Thanks to: OSHA, University of Western Australia, UCLA, MyHealth.Alberta.Ca, IALD, & Respective Product Manufacturers: ODS / Office Design Studio, 9 to 5 Seating, Friant, HON, and Humanscale

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