Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Every important trend has a human element that we ignore or don’t consider. This can happen when designing and planning an office for maximum productivity. It’s important to remember that the end result has to support the people who work there.

Sounds obvious, right?


Photo: Global eO+ Panels

But we often put things before people. Look at it this way.

In the past, what did web designers do to rank a website high? They worked to get the attention of the search engines while ignoring the needs of the people who read the site. Keywords were stuffed into articles even if that hurt the readability and cheapened the user’s experience.

But now, pleasing the human reader is the most important variable in ranking a site.

The same can be said for the office as noted in this post, The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs. We have all this great technology, but do we use it to support the employees as well as we possibly can? A well-designed office weighs the needs of the people.


Photo: OFS Obeya Archtectural Structures

Know Your Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of fitting a working environment to people, instead of making people fit the environment. Providing height-adjustable desks, proper office lighting, ergonomic chairs and accessories are part of creating a workplace that allows workers to move at their best.

Photo: 9to5 Seating @nce Chair

Design with a focus on ergonomics and you’ll make great strides toward having an office where people are supported as they focus on their tasks.

Achieve that by laying out a floorplan and then deciding what furnishings are necessary.


Photo: Cherryman Amber Collection

Get Input

Ask your employees what matters to them. How do they work best and what would they like to see in a work area? Create a scale like the one in the article 7 Factors of Great Office Design in the Harvard Business Review.

Ask your team how strongly they prefer permanent walls compared to open spaces, or if they like spaces that “promote conversation and lingering.”

Define Spaces

Make areas well defined. That may seem easy to do, but if space is at a premium, then it’s not easy to separate workspaces with lounge areas or the breakroom.


Photo: Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating

Make areas for workstations clear with enough storage to reduce clutter. Keep break areas clean and make sure personal areas in an open office setting are quiet.

If your space has room for a rec area, then bring in foosball tables or ping pong tables that easily fold and can easily be moved when extra space is needed.

Plan Easy Navigation

A supportive office is easy to navigate for people whose sight is impaired and face challenges moving around. Have workstations in clearly designated areas with clear pathways that lead to personal quiet areas and breakrooms.


Photo: Friant Dash Revitalize 

Use indoor plants to create boundaries between defined areas. The plants help to deflect sound waves, freshen the air and add a touch of color.


Photo: Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating 

Light Up

Natural light is welcomed in the office. Enlarge windows as much as possible and use skylights or solar tubes to bring in as much of the sun as you can.

Photo: Global Bridges Benching Series

Light is a natural morale booster. It helps employees get into a rhythm of sleeping well at night and staying as alert as possible during the day. Use desk lamps at workstations and computer areas so workers don’t have to strain their eyes to see.

Make sure stairwells and other darkened areas are well lit to reduce the chance of accidents.


Photo: Koncept Gravy Lighting

When laying out a plan and designing an office to support your employees, evaluate your ideas by asking, “How will these conditions benefit the people working here?”

Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Get expert input on your space planning needs. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has nearly 50 years of experience in helping Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and other nonprofit organizations.

Read Also: Plan Your Office Branding for the Employee Experience
Main Photo: OFS Heya
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: 9to5 Seating, Cherryman, Friant, Global, Koncept, Nevins and OFS

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

 

Creating Your Best Work Environment to Boost Your Brand

Creating Your Best Work Environment to Boost Your Brand

Think through the times you’ve stepped into an office setting and wondered about the work environment. The warning signs were likely subtle, weren’t they?

  • How was the office planning and layout?
  • Did the furnishings seem functional and up to date—or out of date?
  • What about tension? That’s the people part.

All of these elements contribute to the quality of the workplace. This becomes part of the company culture—a daily living out of the values that your business stands for.

A positive company culture is similar to office ergonomics. In ergonomics, the work environment is designed to support and meet the needs of the workers. A healthy or positive company culture recognizes that employees have needs. Those individuals are supported to blend their talents and create great products, achieve more sales or help customers be satisfied.

They are motivated to turn the company vision into reality.

Staff and executive decisionmakers have to communicate and place trust in each other for the best possible outcomes. Details like dress codes, restrictions or freedoms on where to work, and perks like benefits create a positive or negative culture as noted in a write-up on culture in Investopedia.

If you’re wondering how to improve the office work environment, now you can read on and learn how.


Photo: HON Voi Workstation

Company Culture Impacts Personal Energy

Company cultures form from the existing needs. A start-up in fast-paced do or die moments is quite different than a mature corporation where departments are neatly laid out and each person’s work is clearly defined.

Let’s say there’s a younger company moving into Hollywood, intent on disrupting the entertainment industry. They’ll have an entrepreneurial buzz and excitement that’s missing in an older organization.

Start-up offices and mature ones impact people and their energy. Any work setting can help someone thrive or suck the energy out of them and the room.

Not every person wants to work in a frenetic, high-stakes office unless stability and profitability are in sight. Working in a tried-and-true cubicle environment, in an area like the Mid-Wilshire District, where the most exciting event is the second hand ticking away on the clock isn’t a career dream, either.

Tricky, isn’t it?

Now let’s look at how two basic office layouts impact workers.


Photo: OFS LeanTo Lounge Seating

Consider these two layouts and their challenges:

  • Open Offices — can dilute the energy that people bring to their positions
  • Walled, Private Spaces — can make employees wonder what secrets are shared behind closed doors


Photo: HON Empower Open Plan Benching


Photo: Krug Artemis Height Adjustable Executive Desk

How do you make sense of it all?

Realize that you can plan and design an office to have different environments.

The open office should utilize modular furniture to create private areas. Employees can take phone calls, type on their laptops and have small group discussions without disturbing others.

Providing a range of workspaces helps create a positive work culture.

Give team members freedom to work from a part of the office that best suits their need. If someone wants to step away from the desk and work in a lounge chair, then let them. Infuse an entrepreneurial spirit into the office and let people take responsibility for how they work.

This doesn’t mean the office space becomes like one giant recess time Monday through Friday. Instead, you’re respecting the qualifications of each employee and trusting them to handle their tasks. After all, if they earned undergraduate or graduate degrees and are responsible for their families why not trust them on the job?

Trust and working together toward a clearly defined goal boosts morale and that keeps the energy vibrant.

Make sure the physical space supports the work with the proper layout and equipment. Here’s how to create an office that supports everyone’s work.

Start with knowing what you want to and need to achieve. Don’t just rely on architects or interior designers to do it for you.

The 2010 Space Planning Strategy weighs:

  • Your company’s goals
  • How your team interacts to reach those goals
  • How their personalities affect their work habits

Doing this creates a relationship between your company’s brand identity and the workplace. Customizing your plan takes you to the next step in creating the best possible work environment.


Photo: Global Swap Tables, FreeFit Workstations & SAS Seating

Proper Space Planning Creates Identity

Here’s a tip to improve the office environment: focus on space planning.

Office space planning provides a plan for workflow and balances that with the needs of employees.

Done well, can you predict what happens?

Your staff will develop a connection to the space.

This personal tie, one that’s internalized, is an important step in creating the best work environment for your company. It’s a principle that transcends industries.

Whether you have an engineering firm in El Segundo or a growing, small business in the Inland Empire, be deliberate in how the space is laid out. An article in the Harvard Business Review, How to Make Sure People Won’t Hate Your New Open Office Plan, describes a concept called “place identity.”

If employees believe the space “aligns with their self-image and enhances their sense of belonging” then this is typically what happens:

  • They’ll become more engaged
  • They’ll build their personal brand
  • They’ll be more likely to cultivate a positive work environment


Photo: OFS Brands Dallas Showroom

This is where leadership has to channel the energy by sharing the vision for the office space, being enthusiastic about it and letting people adapt the space to their needs.

Use these principles to guide your planning:

  • Determine which employees have to talk with each other on a daily basis
  • Count how many employees need extended hours to focus on projects
  • Know which employees need to sit close to printers and copiers
  • Note how often small group huddles or large group meetings are needed
  • Do clients visit often now or will they visit more often in the future? If so, is there adequate space to host them if inter-office meetings are happening?
  • What growth and changes does the company project? Will this include using temporary workers when demand is high?

Planning for change creates a positive office workspace while reacting to circumstances eventually makes people tired, creates uncertainty and leads to a negative workplace culture.

Now that you have a map of interoffice communication and workflow you can supply your great work environment with the right furnishings.

A Welcoming Space Helps Form a Positive Work Culture

Every morning when your team walks through the front door what’s the vibe that they’re bringing in and what’s the vibe that will greet them?

Once they leave the work setting at night and walk in the next morning you’ll have no control over their personal lives. People will experience some type of family crisis like the death of a relative while others are bragging about their kids’ sports achievements.

Moderate the personal highs and lows by creating a comfortable place that provides positive energy and channels conversations. Little things matter.

Present a welcoming atmosphere beginning with the office reception desk. An inviting and stylish design versus a boxy, bulky fortress can reinforce your company’s brand.

Open office plans have plenty of critics but some of the positives include not feeling boxed in. Let as much natural light as possible flow throughout the work setting. Make sure there’s adequate storage space at each workstation and for each department.

Bring in cozy and comfortable accessories to define space like attractive bookcases with embroidered pillows on the shelves and soothing artwork on the walls.

Here’s an example of how this works. Do you know why real estate agents stage homes for sale instead of simply showing an empty shell of a house?

Staging gives the potential buyer an understanding of the home’s potential. Furnishing the office helps your team members experience the potential of working together to achieve the goals that are set before them.

Creating a nice look in an office can be done in a budget-friendly manner. No one has to feel like the office is being decorated at the expense of their salaries or bonuses.

Attitudes brought in from the outside can mesh into a work atmosphere that’s pleasant and supportive. People will feel valued instead of feeling like they’re forced into a survival mode so they don’t get fired.

Furnishings set the stage for a positive workplace. You also create brand equity in people.

Remember, your employees are dedicating themselves to the company. Yes, they need a job that pays the bills and lets them enjoy a decent quality of life.

They also interact with the brand promise every day. They see what happens on the inside and can tell if your company does or doesn’t live up to what you tell customers.

A well-designed office setting positively reinforces the brand among your team. The result is achieving the best and most positive work environment possible.


Photo: DeskMakers Overture Reception Desk

Define Key Areas

Use workstations that help people do their best work. Modular furniture is a strategic purchase since it’s easy to re-configure spaces as changes take place.

Evaluate what works best for the work that needs done and the personalities of your employees. Work surfaces that accommodate several people, known as open plan benching, has one type of functionality while cubicles provide another type of function and form a certain atmosphere.

Your team’s introverts will thank you for the private break areas so they can withdraw as needed to get refreshed.

Meeting spaces are important and architectural walls create clean, well-defined areas for trainings and larger groups. These can be clear ceiling-to-floor walls or a cubicle-style room for small group huddles.

Now that you’ve designed the space for positive productivity, take it a step further to encourage healthy living and reduce absenteeism as much as possible.

Make Office Wellness a Priority

A healthy workplace includes how our bodies react physically to the surroundings and our emotional well-being. Productivity and positive energy face setbacks when people are struggling with bad backs and aching joints.

Here are two ways to take care of the body:

Ergonomic office furniture adapts to a worker’s body and physical needs. Height-adjustable desks help people set the work surface to a position where they can work comfortably and maintain good posture.

Quality ergonomic chairs allow feet to be flat on the floor and keep the knees relaxed. Ergonomic chairs will swivel easily based on a person’s natural movements. Arm rests reduce strain on elbows and shoulders while the chair provides proper lumbar support. Leading manufacturers of ergonomic chairs include 9 to 5 Seating, SitOnIt and Friant.

Computer keyboards and monitors should be at a height where wrists don’t have to be bent to type. Adequate lighting and screen protectors reduce eyestrain from computer monitors.

Encourage your employees to stretch or get up and take a brief walk every 90 minutes to two hours. The purpose isn’t to burn calories but to keep blood circulating well. That reduces foggy brain syndrome by getting oxygen flowing to the brain.

Care for emotional states by providing break areas with healthy snacks. Decorate with plants to bring nature indoors and create a positive ambiance.

You may have a manufacturing facility, legal office or direct a program at a university. Your core strength is turning out a quality product or service, but you should also offer resources for employees who are in a personal crisis.

Ask local gyms if they’ll offer group discounts. Provide chair massages once or twice a month during lunchtime.

Check on counseling and mental health services if you offer insurance. Your local city in Los Angeles County, Orange County or the Inland Empire may have a local college, university or faith community where graduate students need clinical hours for a degree like a Marriage and Family Therapist. Counseling services can be accessed for low costs.

Put it Together for a Positive Workplace and Culture

All of this shows employees that you value them and you’re dedicated to their well-being. This is an important way to keep them engaged on a day-in, day-out basis.

Creating a positive workplace doesn’t just happen and it’s not the result of having a charismatic company president or entrepreneurial founder. Those personalities set the tone, but it’s the setting, furnishings and small perks that show people that they’re important.

This will encourage buy-in from them and that makes it easier to retain top talent. Engaged employees who want to do their best leads to a tremendous competitive advantage in the marketplace.

What creates a great office varies from one industry to another and from culture to culture. This leads to a feeling of “We’re in this together” and the forms cohesive units.

Studies by the organization Great Places to Work reports that a sense of community is the biggest driver of employee engagement in the United States and Canada.


Photo: Trendway Semi-Private Workstations

Several companies in California made the Great Places to Work’s list of small to medium-sized companies including Network Capital in Irvine; WestPac Wealth Partners in La Jolla; and Invoca in Santa Barbara.

In Europe, fairness is critical and “psychological safety” is prized in Latin America. Workplaces in Asia and the Middle East were shown to be the unhappiest work environments.


Photo: Trendway Workspaces

Get Expert Input

The 2010 Space Planning Strategy helps you prioritize and create a positive 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: Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity
Main Photo by: Trendway
Resources & Special Thanks to: Investopedia, Harvard Business Review, Great Places to Work & Respective Product Manufacturers: Trendway, DeskMakers, Global, HON, Krug and OFS

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

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends

TRENDS BLOOM AT NEOCON – 2019 OFFICE FURNITURE TRENDS

Tens of thousands of guests from around the globe were dazzled at NeoCon 2019 a couple of weeks ago at Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart, as top industry names such as Herman Miller, Vitra, Steelcase and more lead the world’s biggest manufacturers in showcasing their most impressive and newest products.  As the single most important event of the year for commercial office furniture, NeoCon is the world’s leading platform for commercial design innovation and networking.  Hundred of brands were represented in areas of furniture, textiles, building materials, lighting, wall coverings, floor coverings, outdoor products, accessories and more. 

Every year, NeoCon gives us a special glimpse into the future.  From the most popular colors, fabrication and materials to progressive shapes, structures and cutting-edge innovations, here are the top trends we found at the show.

LIGHTING STEALS THE SHOW

Manufacturers definitely pulled out all the stops inside their showrooms–and it was oftentimes difficult not to look up.  Fabulous lighting displays were everywhere this year at the Merchandise Mart, attracting guests to each of the beautifully designed rooms and vignettes.  Lighting was no longer there just to complement, but instead wow the guests and lead them in.  Maybe–just maybe–it really is all about the lighting..?

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 1) BUZZISPACE 2) HUMANSCALE 3) STEELCASE 4) STEELCASE

PASTELS & NEONS LEAD A RAINBOW CAST

Among the dizzying display of rainbow colors, 2 types were no doubt up front and center: pastels and neons.  Pastels came in all different hues, but there was definitely a love affair with dusty pinks, magentas and salmons this year (probably trickling down from Millennial Pink’s fading popularity, and Pantone’s 2019 hot color of the year, Living Coral).  Neons were also very much in your face, especially with highlighter yellows and greens.  But one thing’s for sure, the colors didn’t stop there.  There was a bold experimentation with geometric color-blocking and mixing-and-matching of everything–from neutral palettes to bright, cheerful hues, and to darker, brooding tones such as burgundy and teal.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 5) OM 6) HAWORTH 7) STEELCASE 8) GLOBAL

DECADENT TEXTURES & FABRICS

One universal theme that was clear and very much present at NeoCon 2019 was comfort.  And nothing says comfort more than fabrics and materials that draw us in and make us feel good.  From luxurious fur, velvets and felt to exquisite leather, chenille and quilted surfaces, this is the era of rich, decadent textures and fabrics. And we all want to be enveloped in them–not just at home–but at the workplace.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 9) ARCADIA 10) INDIANA FURNITURE 11) STEELCASE 12) HAWORTH

REAL FURNITURE HAVE CURVES

Falling under the comfort theme, we were shocked at how much curves there were in many of the furniture design displayed.  It seemed as though there was a unified, conscious effort to make sure everything was rounded off, softened up, and cushioned.  And when you saw something that was hard-edged or sharp, its starkness was minimized with blunt edges and organic textures.  Gone are the days of sharp and sleek. For now, it’s bye-bye furniture anorexia and hello furniture with curves.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 13) DAUPHIN 14) OFS BRANDS 15) JASPER GROUP 16) BOSS DESIGN

THOUGHTFUL GREENERY & BIOPHILIA

Biophilia in recent years have taken root and flourished into our offices, reaching its peak in 2017 when Pantone announced Greenery as color of the year.  Now, a more refined way of introducing the outdoors indoors was seen throughout many of the showrooms.  It was no longer trees, plants and leaves galore.  Greenery was tastefully pulled back and incorporated in more thoughtful, inventive and even quirky ways.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 17) GLOBAL 18) STEELCASE 19) KRUG 20) AIS

ALL ABOUT PRIVACY

We all knew it was coming.  When office walls started to disappear around the early 2000’s to make room for collaborative open-plan layouts, our privacy went along with them.  Now, there is a much stronger need and demand for private, secluded spaces for quiet, concentrated work.  We were excited to see many innovative solutions that were offered at this year’s show.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 21) NOOK 22) STEELCASE 23) SILEN SPACE 24) JASPER GROUP

RESIMERCIAL COMFORT TO RESORT BLISS

Resimercial design, which was huge in last year’s show,  helped bring the comforts of home to the office.  It provided professionals comfortable, informal workspaces where they can be productive, collaborative, and dynamic.  This year (as though feeling at home wasn’t enough) we saw a lot of rich, natural, soothing wood finishes, parachute chord details, light and airy curtains (serving as room dividers) and wicker weave applications–all reminiscent of being at a 5 star island resort.  It was as if resimercial design is now giving way to hospitality design.

NeoCon 2019 Office Furniture Trends: 25) OFS BRANDS 26) HERMAN MILLER 27) HERMAN MILLER 28) HAWORTH

Read Top 5 Commercial Office Furniture Trends – 2018 NeoCon
Main Photo by: Global
Resources & Special Thanks to: Respective Product Manufacturers
Photos by: 2010 Office Furniture

 

NeoCon 2019 Winners

NeoCon 2019 Winners

CONTRACT MAGAZINE ANNOUNCES NEOCON  2019 WINNERS

Every year, Contract Magazine hosts the Best of NeoCon Competition which surveys the latest and greatest in commercial product design and highlights standout entries in various design categories.  The 2019 winners were announced during an awards breakfast on June 10 at the Renaissance Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, where eighty-three awards and recognitions   were given, including six Editor’s Choice awards, eight Innovation awards, and a Best of Competition prize.  Below are all winners from this year’s competition. Drumroll and envelopes please!—Here are the Best of NeoCon 2019 winners:

Acoustic Panels & Solutions

Gold: Snowsound: FLAT
Silver: Luxxbox: Linea Acoustic LED Lighting System

Acoustic Privacy & Modular Solutions

Gold: OFS: Leant To
Silver: Framery Acoustics: Framery 2Q


(Image Source – OFS: Leant To)

Architectural & Decorative Glass

Silver: Skyline Design: Oblique & Chevron

Architectural Products

Gold and Best of Competition: OFS: Obeya
Silver: Connectrac: Flex


(Image Source – OFS: Obeya)

Carpet: Broadloom

Gold: Tarkett: Tatami System
Silver: Mohawk Group: Textural Effects

Carpet: Contract Area Rugs

Innovation: Mohawk Group: Connecting Neurons Definity

Carpet: Modular

Gold: Patcraft: Deconstructed Felt
Silver: Shaw Contract: Suited

Case Goods

Gold: HALCON: HALO Office
Silver: Herman Miller: Geiger One Casegoods

Conference Room Furniture

Gold: Nucraft: Alev
Innovation: Tuohy Furniture Corp.: Meich Tables
Silver: Andreu World: Reverse Wood

Education Solutions

Gold: VS America: JUMPER
Silver: Keilhauer: Buncha

Flooring: Hard Surface LVT & Planks

Gold: Patcraft: Handloom
Innovation: Metroflor Corp.: Metroforms with Attraxion Magnetic Attachment Technology
Silver: Milliken & Co.: Change Agent LVT

Furniture Collections for Collaboration

Gold: Steelcase: Flex Collection
Innovation: Teknion: Bene Box
Silver: STYLEX: Free Address


(Image Source – STYLEX: Free Address)

Furniture Systems & Enhancements

Gold: Watson Furniture Group: Cloud 9 Rail
Silver: HALCON: HALO Office

Furniture: Benching

Gold: Innovant: Cross Benching

Healthcare Fabrics & Textiles

Gold: Designtex: Biophilia 2.0
Silver: CF Stinson: Chiaroscuro Collection

Healthcare Flooring

Gold: Teknoflor: Coordination Collection
Silver: Mohawk Group: True Hues

Healthcare Guest & Lounge Seating

Gold: Kwalu: Prizzi Lounge
Healthcare Patient Seating
Silver: Spec Furniture: Tailor HD

Lighting: Decorative & Hospitality

Gold: Eaton: Shaper Sense Acoustic LED Luminaires
Silver: LightArt: Acoustic Wing

Lounge Furniture Collections

Gold: Haworth Inc.: Cabana Lounge
Silver: Andreu World: Rap Sofa

Movable Walls

Gold: Teknion: Tek Vue
Silver: Allsteel: Beyond Pavilion

Office Accessories

Gold: Allsteel: Radii
Silver: Watson Furniture Group: Cloud 9 Cart and Garage

Seating: Bar Stools

Editors’ Choice: Martin Brattrud: Cumbia
Gold: Davis Furniture Industries: Muse Barstool

Seating: Benches

Editors’ Choice: Nienkämper: Heartbeat
Gold: Green Furniture Concept: Nova C Perch
Silver: Allermuir: Axyl Bench


(Image Source – Allermuir: Axyl Bench)

Seating: Conference

Gold: OFS: Kasura
Silver: Davis Furniture Industries: M75

Seating: Ergonomic Desk/Task

Gold: via seating: Younique
Silver: Nightingale Corp.: NLC


(Image Source – Via Seating: Younique)

Seating: Guest

Gold: Allermuir: Kin
Silver: Andreu World: Gala

Seating: Outdoor Contract & Hospitality

Silver: Andreu World: Nuez Outdoor

Seating: Sofas & Lounge

Gold: Andreu World: Rap sofa
Silver: Green Furniture Concept: Nova C Recliner

Seating: Stacking

Gold: Sandler Seating: HDS 1.1
Silver: SitOnIt Seating | IDEON: Mika


(Image Source – SitOnIt Seating: Mika)

Signage & Wayfinding

Gold: Takeform: Lucid Refined Interior Signage
Silver: 2/90 Sign Systems: SafeCare Signs

Space Dividers/Partitions/Screens

Gold: Clarus Glassboards: Flex Wall
Silver: Naava: Naava Flow

Tables: Communal & Task

Gold: Nucraft: Epono
Silver: Davis Furniture Industries: Inform


(Image Source – Nucraft: Epono)

Tables: Height-Adjustable/Training/Work

Editors’ Choice: Versteel: Sky
Gold: Watson Furniture Group: Cloud 9 Desk
Silver: Senator International: Array


(Image Source – Senator International: Array)

Tables: Occasional

Editors’ Choice: Studio TK: Freehand Occasional Tables
Gold: Nucraft: Alev
Innovation: Davis Furniture Industries: Lift

Technology-Integrated Solutions

Gold: Steelcase: Roam
Innovation: Connectrac: Flex
Silver: National Lighting: Revive

Textiles: Upholstery

Editors’ Choice: Wolf Gordon: VEER
Editors’ Choice: Luum Textiles: Future Tense Collection
Gold: HBF: Lost & Found
Innovation: Haworth Inc.: Haworth Knits
Silver: Momentum Group: Architectural Textures Collection

Wall Treatments

Innovation: Momentum Group: Woven Silica
Silver: Designtex: Metallic Wallcoverings

Workplace Technologies

Gold: CF Stinson: designMix with colorAI
Silver: FreeAxez: Gridd Mobile

See NeoCon 2018 Winners
Resources: www.contractdesign.com

Reasons to Refresh and Improve Office Layout

Reasons to Refresh and Improve Office Layout

Steps to Improve Office Layout

A need to boost office morale and improve communication within or between departments are among the reasons to refresh an existing workspace and improve office layout. Today’s modular style furniture offers easy-to-implement solutions.

Let the Sun Shine In

Improve office layout by boosting overall morale with more natural light. Southern California is bathed in sunshine throughout the year, but office workers with desks removed from windows don’t get the benefits.  A 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine concluded that employees with access to plenty of natural light were more alert and productive during the day and slept more peacefully at night.  Another finding published in the Harvard Business Review showed that natural light in offices is more desired than on-site fitness centers and even perks like bringing one’s dog to work.  Make sure desks and work areas are within 25 feet of windows. For best results, install light tubes and larger windows.

Turn Private Cubicles into Group Work Pods

Changes in a work settings often evolve. While the company’s mission may remain the same, new client accounts or launches of product lines may be a call to improve office layout and allow workers  to streamline their communications.  New hires and workers from different generations can have unique expectations for what they consider a comfortable office setting. Stop and consider if your current layout allows members of different departments to communicate as effectively as possible.  Offices with multiple departments may want cubicles in certain areas to make work easier like a sales team that has to be on the phone. A finance department or production team may work best with open plan benching to share ideas and information with each other.

Use Modular Walls For Privacy and Transparency

Create a flexible conference room. When private conversations or group discussions are needed, install transparent architectural wallsto create boundaries within an open atmosphere. Equip the area with a wireless printer and flat screen monitor.

Create an Open Break Area

Many employees prize relationships in the work place. Provide an open break area with lounge chairsthat are clearly styled for individual, private space and other lounge furniture that’s easily configured for a small group.

The Mindset to Improve Office Layout

Refreshing an existing office space takes a little imagination and a knowledge of the available furniture and accessories.

Image Source: Groupe Lacasse

Office Design Layout Best Practices

Office Design and Layout Best Practices

Setting up an office or re-designing an existing office design layout that creates efficiencies on the job and provides a welcoming atmosphere takes an understanding of corporate needs and individual behaviors. Here are the best practice principles that companies throughout Southern California can use to lay out an office.

What is the Purpose of Your Office?

Knowing the purpose of the workplace may seem obvious. Work has to get done, clients and customers serviced, and payroll met. The reason those functions exist is to support a company’s vision and mission.

A vision statement shows what a company aspires to become while a mission statement reveals how the organization carries out its daily tasks. Plan and design an office design layout that supports current work while allowing flexible options for future change.  A production company near downtown Los Angeles may plan to roll out a series that inspires residents of different races to work together in their communities, while an accounting firm in Glendale wants to be known as setting the highest possible standard of integrity.  Having a clear vision and mission statement and then making sure every employee understands why they come to work each day to a space that’s well-organized provides a competitive advantage. This boosts morale and creates a motivated workforce.

Now let’s dig deeper.

What is an Office Space?

Today’s digital world makes working remotely possible in many professional industries. But the work begins with a specific location. An office serves as a central hub of identity and communications for employees, vendors and clients.

A good example of identity is in today’s university systems. As you drive through Los Angeles, Orange Counties and the Inland Empire, you’ll notice signs for branch campuses of many different colleges and universities.  Although higher education is decentralized, the core values and mission come from a central location.  A franchise is also a good example of a central office with standards and values that’s replicated through like-minded locations.  One obvious way an office can form a clear identity is through its design and set up.

How Do Employees Use the Office?

Employees in different industries are going to use offices in their own unique ways. Knowing their needs becomes critical in creating an office design layout that serves everyone’s purpose.

For CPAs in an accounting firm who may want or need their individual space to focus and talk to clients, executive desks may be the best option. For marketing firms with designers, writers, and other creative professionals who have to come together to brainstorm and then complete their work, shared desks and workstations can work well.  Real estate brokerages have agents who are primarily out with buyers and sellers, but need an office space to copy papers, consult with their clients and sign contracts.  Know who’s in, who’s out and what percentage of time the space is needed. Understanding this will help you choose the workstations and private desks that fit your office needs.

Do Clients Use the Office?

Professional firms vary widely in how clients use an office. Small web design firms may go out 90% of the time to see clients while clinics and law firms will often have clients or possible new clients stop in.  Every office should have a multi-use space that can be comfortable for people stopping in and gatherings for staff. It can be a functional space for meetings and trainings and act as a marketing tool that convinces potential clients to do business with your company instead of a competitor.  Use a reception desk and guest chairs that invite someone to step in and sense a connection.

Office Atmosphere

Included in a well-planned office are the elements that contribute to the overall atmosphere like lighting, temperature and personal effects. Maximize Southern California’s abundant sunshine, use smart controls for energy efficiency, and create an area or defined zones for people to pull back from deadlines and the crush of work to be quiet and get refreshed.

Image Source: Friant

Creating a Great Office Design to Boost Employee Potential

Creating a Great Office Design to Boost Employee Potential

Creating a great office design that appeals to the people who work there is a recent, and important trend in office layout and planning. Does your office provide an environment that’s productive and comfortable? Have you taken a holistic look at it?  Interestingly enough, past design principles that rolled out in the 1950’s are still very strongly in play today.  Read on and learn how to evaluate your workplace to help create a great office design that can help boost employee potential.

When Offices Started Shifting

The layout of offices from the industrial era of the 20thcentury were usually set up in a hierarchy. Employees were meant to come in and serve the company with little thought given to the employee experience. Heavy manufacturing of automobiles and steel, along with aerospace, fueled much of the nation’s economy and provided high-paying jobs for executives and for laborers.  Office design and planning usually reflected the rigid patterns needed to produce the end products. The workplace was typically “rote and uninspired” as author Nikil Saval describes in his book Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace.  A new view came along during the mid-century, wrote Saval, when two German brothers who worked in the furniture business with their father started a consulting company. They saw an office as “an organic whole, made up of finely interlinking parts and an enormously complex network of paper flow.”  Their work, roughly translated as “office landscape,” led to the start of the break room and gave an early model for an open office design with limited use of mobile partitions and plants to create sections.

Questions to Ask About Your Office

The digital revolution has changed the world as much as the industrial revolution and has led to new office layouts. Flexibility, comfort and employee wellness are key. Workstations with height-adjustable surfaces and modular lounge chairs offer creative ways to meet employee needs.

Consider this to evaluate your own office styles and needs.

  • What phase is your company in: start-up with funding, a mature corporation or somewhere in between?
  • Do you have an open office arrangement, cubicles, or a mix?
  • Does the space seem cluttered or not used effectively?
  • If a new employee comes onboard, how do you decide where the new hire will work?
  • Do you have many project or freelance workers who only need occasional spaces?
  • Are your office workstations and chairs ergonomic and promote wellness?
  • Are there designated focus or concentration zones?
  • Do you use plants effectively?
  • Are wires exposed and risk being trip hazards?
  • Have you maximized the flow of natural light?

Future Proofing for a Great Office Design

Future office trends are happening right now. They include: maximizing natural light to boost morale and productivity, using energy smart devices and downloading apps to make mobile communication as seamless as possible.  In addition, designating collaborative work areas as well as separate zones set aside for personal focus will continue to put emphasis on employee well-being.

Remember, in a competitive marketplace, a well-planned office environment provides an advantage. Create an organic flow in an office layout and employees become more engaged, than if they feel they’re just showing up to a haphazard arrangement of desks and chairs.  Employees see their working environment as an extension of the company’s brand. They perform the tasks that attract customers and clients, and they’re the first to know if the brand promise is authentic or not.

Image Source: OFS Obeya

Designing Your Office for Better Inter-Office Communication

Designing Your Office for Better Inter-Office Communication

Communicating well in an inter-office setting is more than just having a conversation or written memos exchanged between two or more people. Well-designed and planned spaces promote collaboration and sharing ideas.  This leads to an in-depth understanding of goals and objectives and how to reach them boosts productivity and morale. The end result leads to satisfying outcomes for customers and for employees.  Read on below and keep key furnishings in mind that impact inter-office communication.

Re-Imagine Office Walls

Walls are barriers. They define space and through much of the 20thcentury, walls stood between executives and the rest of the company.  The open-office concept has brought the walls down, but sometimes they’re necessary. For large open-office spaces, the right kinds of architectural walls can provide quiet zones where teams can pore over documents and plans without disturbing other workers.  Manufacturer Trendway has three distinct types of easy-install walls: the Clear Wall with options related to clear glass or glazing; the Trendwall, a solution that’s more sustainable than drywall; and the Volo Wall which features attractive movable panels.  Remember to use walls to guide inter-office communication, not prevent it.

Replace the Traditional Cubicle

Cubicles now offer personalization and customization that are more appealing than the old-school, traditional gray ones. Today’s office cubicle options define space, allow for privacy, but invite collaboration. In addition, many have removable panels as the need for privacy changes.  A plus is choosing cubicles that maximize the flow of natural light, which is known to be a morale booster.  The Friant System 2 has attractive colors and styles that are easy to configure and reconfigure.  Initiate Workstation by Hon offers durability and long-term value. It provides an appealing space for individuals and yet offers room for quick huddles and conversations, contributing to improved inter-office communication.

Create Conversation Spaces

Open, informal spaces can encourage conversation and flow of ideas. Or they can be areas to delve into topics that are mission-critical.  A wide variety of creative seating arrangements are available to meet the personality of any office.  Coact from First Office fits in offices that have flexible seating arrangements or structured private offices. It balances structure and freedom.  Supportive and cushioned chairs are available with the Domo Lounge by Arcadia. Tablet and power port accessories are also available to power your electronic devices.  You can also customize tables to accommodate spreading out charts and supporting documents.  Remember to match furnishings with your company’s communication style to encourage collaboration and positiveinteractions.

Inter-Office Communication

Checking off these items above will surely contribute to better inter-office communication, and can help integrate it into your company culture — all in all promoting an office that his more productive, successful and happy.