Using Cubicles for a Competitive Advantage in Your Workplace

Using Cubicles for a Competitive Advantage in Your Workplace

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

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

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

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

Look at the many benefits of modular furniture.

What is Modular Office Furniture

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

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

Reasons to Use Modular Office Furniture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Types of Modular Office Furniture

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

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

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

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


Photo: Trendway Snap Workspace

Here’s a fact you likely don’t know:

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

The Original Need for Cubicles

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

Thus, the cubicle.

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

What about now?

More options exist for cubicles than ever before.

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


Photo: Friant Novo Workstations

Understanding Cubicles

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

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

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

  • Offer Privacy
  • Buffer Noise
  • Reduce Visual Distractions


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

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

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

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

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

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

Know How You Want Your Cubicle to Function

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

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


Photo: Friant System 2 Workstations


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

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

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

You can evaluate who needs what cubicle style by knowing:

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

Choose specific cubicle layouts to support your different office functions.

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

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


Photo: ODS / Office Design Studio Crossroads Workstations

Cubicles Can Boost a Company’s Brand Internally

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

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

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

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

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


Photo: ODS / Office Design Studio Crossroads Workstations

Cubicles Can Channel Workflow

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

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

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

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

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


Photo: HON Abound Workstations

Cubicles Support People

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

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

Partitioned office spaces have another benefit: Wellness

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

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


Photo: HON Workspace Solutions

Using Modular Desks

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

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

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

Modular Seating Options and Tables

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

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

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

The Encore Dabble Modular Lounge has straight and curved benches.

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

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

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

Now what happens when meeting and presentation needs change?

The solution is using modular tables.

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

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

Modular Furniture is Designed for Long Term Use

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modular Office Furniture is Ergonomically Sound

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

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

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

Get the Expertise You Need

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

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

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

Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity

Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity

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

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

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

Here’s an easy hint.

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

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


Photo: OFS Staks Workstations

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

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

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

Defining an Office Layout

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

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

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


Photo: Nevins Leaf Living Walls

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

Types of Office Layouts

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

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


Photo: OFS Range Open-Plan Benching

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

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

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


Photo: Trendway Volo Walls

3 Basic Tips for Designing a Productive Office

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

  • Communication is Key

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

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

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

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

  • Break Areas are Essential

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


Photo: OFS Coact Modular Lounge

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

  • Keep Open Spaces

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Ask Employees for Input

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

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

Office Layout Problems to Correct

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

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

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

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

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

Strategies to Tackle Office Layout Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Photo: Humanscale Vessel Lighting

Lighting Design in an Office Layout

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

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

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

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


Photo: Humanscale Element 790, Horizon 2.0 & Infinity Lighting

Plan to Use Quality Workstations and Ergonomic Chairs

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

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

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


Photo: DeskMakers TeamWorx Open-Plan Benching

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


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

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

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

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

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


Photo: OFS Obeya Architectural Structures

Get the Expertise You Need

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits of Open Plan Cubicles for Los Angeles Businesses

The Benefits of Open Plan Cubicles for Los Angeles Businesses

Open Plan Cubicles May Be the Answer

Dividing an office space isn’t easy, but open plan cubicles can help businesses and nonprofits in Los Angeles budget for growth and be flexible during down times. Today’s cubicle solutions create an open and welcoming atmosphere while providing a space to focus.

The Workspace

Los Angeles is home to more than 244,000 businesses, according to the LA County.Gov’s Business page. No other county in the U.S. has more women and minority-owned businesses. Of all the decisions that are made in running an operation, the use of cubicles or desks may not appear to rank high in importance. But an office layout and the types of work surfaces used impact productivity and employee morale. Think of the pebble-in-the-shoeconcept. Something small that goes wrong eventually causes a tremendous irritation. And an office environment is no different.

The right equipment impacts work performance and eventually impacts profitability. Yes, a bookkeeper and even a graphic artist can work on a desk with a wobbly leg, but the imperfection is a distraction from the work that each person is meant to do and complete.  Open plan cubicles are an investment for maximum performance.

Flexible Solutions for Flexible Employees

Open plan cubicles can support employees who work in the office every day, salespeople who need to be out and about, and employees or freelancers who work remotely but need an occasional day in the office.  Since the cubicles are built for flexibility, it’s possible to have just one or two work areas and expand to several if the need allows.

Open Plan Cubicles Fit the Need and Style of the Work Function

For employees who need to be on the phone and making calls outside, a system like the EO Workstation by Global may work best while the Crossroads Workstation by ODS can work well for programmers and those doing data entry.  List the types of individual functions or departmental functions to get an understanding of the best cubicle systems. Consider the amount of time that’s needed to connect with potential clients, welcome visitors to the office, or stay focused on work internally.  One open plan cubicle system may not work for everyone since small businesses and large corporations all have a myriad of functions to keep them operating.

Cubicle Systems are Durable

Expect open plan cubicles to last thanks to well-manufactured parts. Cubicles give offices flexibility in how they fit together but they are made to last and withstand rigorous use. The systems are also equipped to handle cords and cables so it’s easy to plug in.

Use Benching Cubicles to Boost Productivity in Orange County

Use Benching Cubicles to Boost Productivity in Orange County

The Role of the Benching Cubicle

Orange County, California is a dynamic region that’s conveniently connected to Los Angeles and San Diego. Tech offices, gaming firms, and professional innovators seek the competitive edge.  A well-planned office layout contributes to productivity and, therefore, profitability. See how benching cubicle workstations play a role.

Staying Focused

In open office layouts, benching cubicles offer individuals the chance to focus without walling off co-workers. The partitions come in different styles and help absorb sound.  Workers in the same department can stay on-target together by working alongside each other. Benching cubicles have enough flexibility to create temporary project sites where employees from different departments and skill sets can come together as needed to work on the same project.

Allowing Communication

Benching cubicles aid in office communication since the dividers are less obtrusive than solid walls. Flexibility is key and the systems can be customized to match individual personalities. Openness promotes organic collaboration and creates an atmosphere of people being able to approach one another.  Benching cubicles also integrate well with technology so employees can plug in easily without disturbing those around them.

Aligning Teams with the Benching Cubicle

The cubicles with adjustable partitions make it easy to bring teams together from either the same department or leverage different skill sets to tackle one main project. Creative solutions can flow more readily than if workers were isolated.

Cubicles styles are also available to match the different functions of a company’s teams. An administrative team of a few people may find the Accelerate Workstation by Hon to be useful.  A sales team making calls or having prospective clients stop in may prefer the EO+ Workstation by Global or the Initiate Workstation by Hon.

Supporting a Brand

The clean look and space optimization that benching cubicles provide reflect well on the brand for employees, clients and vendors. The elements of look, function and style combine to create a workplace that has a high quality and attracts the talent a company needs to succeed.  All in all, a well-planned office environment that’s attractive shows that the employees are worth investing in and that they’re being supported.

Image Source: HON Open Spaces

Using Open Plan Workstations in Orange County

Using Open Plan Workstations in Orange County

The Orange County Mentality

Think of innovative Orange County and California companies, and gaming firms, tech or financial start-ups like Acorn may come to mind. Add automotive companies to the list of innovators. Karma Automotive got its start in the OC and manufactures environmentally friendly vehicles.  No doubt, there’s a lot of talent in Southern California with entrepreneurs who find a unique need in the marketplace and then work hard to provide a solution and capture their niche in the marketplace. However, keeping daily operations humming along doesn’t just happen.  A well-designed office space is key along with the right furnishings, like those in open plan workstations. Open office floor plans and workstations have been known to have key benefits and play a direct role in a company’s success.

Open Plan Flexibility

Open office floor plans have become standard because workspace configurations are easy to manage. But don’t just set up the workstations in just any pattern. The most effective offices are arranged with thorough planning and space design strategies. Know how the team functions and relates with their different responsibilities. Then plan work areas accordingly.

Be creative. Why not put the administrative team in the center of the room instead of in a distant corner? This way, it’s clear that they set the tone for communicating with everyone.  Sales and marketing can be near the front door and the project managers, developers or creatives can be positioned in an area that’s quieter and focused. Setting up and taking down workstations is easy.

Flexibility isn’t just in the layout but also includes workstations with height-adjustable surfaces like the Hover Height Adjustable Table by DeskMakers. It also offers easy power distribution and cable management when the height changes.

Open Plan Approachability

Using open plan workstations can create a friendly, business casual environment. Open plan workstations allow for approachability since people aren’t cloistered behind solid walls. This makes personal communication and collaboration easier than having to knock on doors or send emails.  Focus time is important so chairs can be arranged around small tables in a break type area or meeting pods used so others aren’t distracted.

Open Plan Durability

Easy to assemble furniture is durable. Veneer surfaces and premium materials make for a clean look and performance that can withstand rugged work habits. All mechanisms including brackets are manufactured well for maximum use over many years.

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

Choosing the Best Benching or Desking Workstations in Los Angeles

Choosing the Best Benching or Desking Workstations in Los Angeles

Benching / Desking in Los Angeles Digital Media

Digital media is a major force in Los Angeles’ entertainment industry and desking workstations are helping media companies equip their offices. Beyond the big studio names are a myriad of a smaller businesses providing services like visual effects and developing the next distribution technology. Change is a constant.  The workstations make it easy in an open office setting to expand with new hires and re-arrange departments without having to knock out walls.  Take a closer look at the benching or desking options and their benefits.

Interaction

Desking workstations allow for fluid interaction in an open office setting. They can meet a variety of needs.

Let’s say a production company needs dedicated space for handling the details of a shoot in LA or across the country, then a system like the Teamworx Open Plan Desking can work quite well. It creates a private work area while remaining open and accessible.  Need a few writers or programmers developing a web presence sitting together? Then the Hover Height Adjustable Table by Deskmakers can seamlessly fit a small group and provide personal and work storage space.

Efficiency

In an office that moves at the speed of light, communicating quickly with co-workers and then turning back to focus personally on work becomes absolutely necessary. A desking workstation like the Voi Open Plan Workstation by Hon has a sleek design and brings collaboration into the open office environment.

Movement

Many office environments don’t require employees to sit in the same spot throughout the day. Movement can trigger creativity and solutions to challenges. Create options for those who like to stretch or work at another setting for a while.  Benching or desking workstations like the G Series Desk Lounge or the Eleven Workspace Open Plan can accommodate non-assigned seating.  Or create a break area using modular lounge chairs that allow for personal space or are easily pulled together for small group discussions.

Defining Space with Desking

Walls aren’t the only way to define space.  Use whiteboards, office plants, and attractive tables or bookcases with can hold fresh coffee and healthy snacks to define specific work areas based on functions or departments.  Office plants are proven to invigorate workers while refreshing the air and absorbing sound.  Whiteboards can be rolled in place or shared for team meetings. Rather than have one break area, why not have a few smaller areas with fresh coffee, tea, muffins, fruit and vegetables brought in?

Employees like flexibility but they don’t want a feel that something is cheap and temporary. Benching or desking workstations are easily assembled, allow for flexible designs and yet are manufactured to last.

Workstation Solutions in Los Angeles for Maximum Office Productivity

Workstation Solutions in Los Angeles for Maximum Office Productivity and Industry Growth

Looking at Industry Growth

A company’s growth and daily operations impacts the office design and workstation solutions so employees work as efficiently as possible. In Los Angeles County, there’s an upbeat forecast for professional services.  Equipping staff in managerial and executive positions requires an understanding of desking solutions and how to maximize their use for industry growth.

Office and Industry Outlook

Professional services in the greater Los Angeles area is “promising because it supports many occupations that pay well in component industries” whether or not they benefit from automation. That’s according to the Los Angeles Economic Development Council (LAEDC).  The LAEDC also states that a “looming workforce shortage” exists since there’s an undersupply of about 2,000 workers to fill job openings. The LAEDC did a supply and demand study and came up with the worker shortage data based on data from regional community colleges.  There may be an “oversupply” in programs for paralegals, architects and engineers but a greater demand in administrative support, veterinary science, along with computers and design.

Office Planning – Industry Growth

Companies are more than statistics so space planning and design becomes essential when choosing the best workstation solutions. Height-adjustable workstations like the My-Hite Workstation by Friant allow individual workers to customize their own workspace experience.  The E5 Open Plan Benching by Mayline is a space saver while offering “expansive power capabilities.”  Know individual preferences and how departments can function well to select the right benching system.

Office Workstation Summary

Desking and benching solutions allow for customized workstation systems. Select a look and feel that reflect the company’s brand and provide the best support.  Open plan benching and desking solutions such as the Aptos Open Plan Desking by OFS can come with storage so each person has a place for their own work and personal items.

There are plenty of workstation solutions to accommodate offices in any industry in Los Angeles County. Base decisions on:

  • The number of employees
  • Possible future growth
  • And how departments or individuals communicate internally and with outside clients and vendors

A well-planned office — from the reception area to the breakroom — is an asset that helps employees work well and feel supported.

Image Source: Global FreeFit

Use Benching Workstations to Maximize Workplace Efficiencies

Use Benching Workstations to Maximize Workplace Efficiencies

The Benefit of Benching Workstations

Nonprofits in Orange County hit double digit growth in 2018, according to the OC Business Journal. Employment last year rose 1.4% among the Southern California county’s largest employers, including Disneyland.  Managing growth means keeping the office efficient and productivity high. See how benching workstations benefit growing companies in Orange County, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire.

Add Staff Easily with Benching Workstations

Hiring additional personnel without laying off anyone is a sign that a company is doing well. Challenges exist. Bringing in people can disrupt an established flow of communication and personalities if it’s not done carefully and with advance planning.  That’s why benching workstations are a smart tool. Setting them up and configuring them to accommodate more or fewer worker can be done with very little cost of labor.  The Synapse Open Plan Benchingis an example of a straight forward, economical approach to benching workstations. Several employees have plenty of room with storage creating a boundary between each person.  The Teamworx Open Plan Desking system is more creative and keeps employee productivity high while using a minimum of floor space.

Configure Floor Plans Simply

Changing employee arrangements doesn’t mean people have to rotate from one preferred and coveted office into something less desirable. Benching workstations are great for offices and companies that operate more with a more “flat” organizational chart versus one that’s hierarchical.  Departments don’t need to be walled off from each other. Benching plan workstations can be arranged according to individual or departmental responsibilities.  A well-thought out floor plan in an open office can accommodate outside clients and visitors as well as staff. Create a comfortable meeting area with lounge chairs and custom tables that are set off from the rest of the office space by using indoor plants and a counter with available coffee and snacks.

Create an Atmosphere for Collaboration

Rather than walling off employees from each other, benching workstations can increase collaboration. Put a marketing team together in one set of workstations like the E5 Open Plan Benching by Mayline. The engineering team or graphic designer team can use a style that fits their needs and workflow.  Even in open office settings, the floor plan and departmental areas can be set apart by individual lounge chairs, meeting pods or office plants. Set aside quiet areas for those who want a break and refresh.  Set aside a separate area with training tables or conference style tables for larger group gatherings.