Mastering the Activity-Based Office Layout

Mastering the Activity-Based Office Layout

What is an Activity-Based Office Layout

To promote a more productive office, steer clear of the traditional and stationary individual work desks.  Instead, try an activity-based office layout — with work zones, collaboration areas, and places to focus.  The activity-based office layout is a variation on an open office floor plan and foster activity-based working.  Activity-based working means that instead of specific one-man desks where a person works all day, employees can access a variety of spaces throughout their work day. Informal areas are a fit for impromptu meetings and personal areas are available for phone calls and a chance to retreat briefly from a workstation.

Office Layout – Workstations

An activity-based office layout lets employees work in areas that are personally comfortable. Sometimes it’s necessary to work closely with other team members, so select workstations with the styles and customizable features that support a team’s needs.  Privacy is often an issue so choose desks and open-plan benching with partitions that can be removed or installed.  There are many quality workstations available today that are designed for the different personalities that make up a team, along with the needs of individuals. The G Series Desk Lounge is a good example, with a layout that can provide room for four workers, and a casual seating space with a sofa-type cushion. The workstation can be configured if people want to work in pairs or if someone needs to work alone, and the desk surfaces are height adjustable.

Office Layout – Joint Areas

What happens if a focused conversation has to take place and others can’t be interrupted? Create an area for collaboration!  When designing an activity-based office layout even with small workspaces, there are plenty of options for creating collaboration areas. Conversation pods, or co-op meeting spaces, and modular lounge furniture that is easily re-configured make it possible to get ideas out in the open without interrupting flow in designated work areas.  Also consider architectural walls that define space but let light filter through the room.  If spaces seem cluttered and tight, consider what furniture can and needs to go.  A design firm in London, Oktra, did an office overhaul so more collaboration among team members could take place. The company tossed 30 percent of its desks and increased the size used for sharing ideas. An area was also created for employees to use their phones.

Office Layout – Concentration Zones

Healthy boundaries are needed in the workspace — and key for the activity-based office layout. Employees are a mix of introverts and extroverts.  A constant barrage of communication indefinitely can wear people down, and introverts especially need to be able to have a chance to pull back from others when necessary.   Create concentration zones with individual pods, like a privacy booth from KI. Its design reduces surrounding noise and restricts peripheral vision.  Also, playing quiet background music like instrumental jazz and using plants to demarcate space can help create areas for taking a personal call or getting into an assignment.

More Office Space Ideas

When considering to revamp the workplace with an activity-based office layout and create a productive setting with a personal touch, then present a concept and ask the employees for their ideas on designs and touches that they’d like.  There are many things that can be done, even if initially it seems like an impossibility.  For example, if the office can’t afford to install a company gym, maybe consider installing a treadmill or two. That gives employees chances to take a walking break during the day.  It’s also a great idea to keep your office happy with food.  You can bring in catered coffee with a barista once or twice a week, depending on the budget, or have a monthly taco bar.  Bottom line: create spaces for these type of activities that encourage your staff and keep them happy.

2010 Office Furniture offers expert ideas for companies in all industries needing furniture that fits available spaces, goals and objectives. Submit your needs here to get input on space planning, ergonomic furniture and the accessories needed to create an office that brings the most out of people while providing a positive office and work experience.

Image Source: OFS Brands

Move, Sit & Listen: The Basics for Holistic Office Wellness

Promote holistic office wellness by helping staff move, sit, and listen. It’s easy to put it into the daily routine with a low cost and high potential returns. Here are three categories to use in evaluating your approach.

Office Wellness with Movement

Furnish your office for activity. Our bodies are meant to move and not sit in one place for hours at a time.

This write-up from Office Vibe shares important facts: up to 80% of Americans work in jobs that require little to no movement; and research shows that employee medical costs fall by $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs.  Here’s what happens with a sedentary lifestyle at the office and at home. Pressure builds on the lower back and joints while key muscle groups can weaken. Blood circulation suffers and, ultimately, less oxygen flows to the brain.  Office wellness that includes movement can be subtle. Show employees stretching exercises to do while seated. Encourage them to take a brisk walk down the hallway every couple of hours or scoot around the block outside during lunch.  Install height-adjustable desks for individual offices and for workstations. Start getting used to it slowly by using it in a standing position for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

Wellness When Sitting

Sitting seems like a non-stress activity that shouldn’t have any impact on our bodies. Not true. Make no mistake that sitting without moving creates stress.  Gravity is at work, plus the way we sit can aggravate key areas of the body like the neck area, lower back and hips.  Employee wellness should focus on sitting with proper posture while using ergonomic chairs and workstations and desks with height-adjustable surfaces. Here’s why:

  • Proper posture is when a person is sitting in front of a computer with a relatively straight back and not straining to see the screen. Leaning forward strains the neck because our heads weigh as much as a heavy bowling ball. That gradually pulls the vertebrae out of alignment and pinches the nerves running from the brain to the rest of the body. Blood flow is reduced and pain signals increase.
  • Ergonomic chairs have a real-world benefit that adjust to the contours of the body and evenly distribute weight. They allow for natural movement, too. Not all chairs are quality ergonomic so look for those with lumbar support, waterfall seating to relieve stress on the legs and adjustments for armrests, height and tilt.
  • Height-adjustable desks and workstations conform to individual needs so it’s easy to sit properly. This reduces the flare-up of ailments like carpal-tunnel syndrome.

Another danger to sitting is when people slouch on chairs or sofas and cradle a cell phone with their neck and shoulder. Remember, our bodies and the parts that make it are a whole. A daily repetitive motion like this can throw us out of alignment.  That’s why stretching and regular intervals of movement are beneficial.

Listening Properly

Another part of office wellness isn’t so obvious, but it can reduce stress a great deal. It’s listening properly.  By nature, people want to have their voices heard and know that their ideas and opinions matter. Personal interactions are easily misinterpreted because personality differences come in such wide ranges. This is true in a family and it’s certainly true in an office setting.  And as much as we sometimes try, we can never really fully separate our personal lives and needs from our work and professional lives. Broken relationships, sick kids, and other personal issues distract from the tasks at hand.  Learning to listen well can reduce internal stress—that’s the jangling nerves that we don’t see. Executives, mid-level managers and hourly workers can all use reminders on how to stop, hear what the other person is saying, and repeat back what they’ve heard.

Having designated areas for quiet conversation and personal reflection is key. Semi-enclosed meeting pods and seating arrangements that allow for one-on-one or individual time provide focus and reduce distractions. Leave cell phones behind and don’t take a laptop to go online.

Achieving Holistic Office Wellness

Office wellness can easily be implemented in the everyday work setting. For ideas on how to plan and furnish an office for better office wellness submit your questions and needs to us!  Our 2010 Office Furniture team of experts have a combined of five decades of experience helping start-ups, nonprofits and leading corporations throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness
Main Photo: Global River Lounge
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Global

Leading Principles of an Effective Office Layout

What is an Effective Office Layout?

Principles of an effective office layout that are followed well should lead to an environment that creates connections between people and supports a successful workflow. Layout and design principles aren’t just for huge corporations in downtown Los Angeles or tech giants in El Segundo. They’re needed in all industries, big and small.  Universities, tech start-ups, leading corporations and small businesses all need to consider the impact of an office on people — how space is utilized, and how relationships between departments affect workflow. Employee morale and wellness become underlying issues to address.  Read on to consider these office layout principles and how to adapt them.

The Office: Personal Collaboration

Offices can welcome or intimidate. They can also inspire creativity or reveal stress and clutter. Workspaces impact people in every industry, including academia. An office design research study from 2011 showed how students were impacted by the office layout of their academic advisor’s office. The author, James Eckerty, concluded that “our physical environments can be a powerful tool for creating welcoming and collaborative environments.”  Effective layouts were “spacious and neatly arranged,” wrote Eckerty, “and allowed for students to make eye contact with their advisor and also easily see the computer.” In the study, about half of the students surveyed noted that seat placement set the tone for the meeting.

To stimulate collaboration in a private office setting, consider using desks with comfortable guest chairs. Enhance the office layout with a potted plant to create a relaxed atmosphere.

In an open office setting or spaces with cubicles, there are creative seating arrangements that can be set up for focused conversation like Focal Point by OFS or Co-Op Lounge by Arcadia.

The Environment: Personal Wellness

A pleasing environment boosts productivity and keeps morale high. Natural light and green plants are considered essential for a pleasant office environment. Bringing nature indoors adds an aesthetically pleasing element to the workspace but it also has important health benefits.  Maximizing natural light infuses employees with energy and helps maintain a physical rhythm that promotes a restful night’s sleep.  Plants reduce the amount of bacteria in the air and provide needed humidity. They also offer a change of scenery and color.  Movement is another feature of an optimized office layout. Height adjustable desks and tables offer flexibility. Ergonomic chairs support natural body movements to reduce pressure on the spine and joints.

The Space: Personal Time

During the early to mid-20thcentury when heavy manufacturing ruled the economy, companies ran in strict top-down fashion. Executives had their personal space to create the directives that mid-level managers and laborers had to follow.  However, today’s thinking economy that’s digitally driven and connected has created a greater need for collaboration and consensus. Open office layout and desk arrangements and cubicles make sharing ideas and data easy.  Personal space to regroup and focus mentally now becomes important.  Make sure to provide a lounge or space where it’s easy to take a snack break or work individually. Provide seating options that are flexible and can be arranged for one person’s needs or for a casual interaction.

An Office Layout for Your Most Important Resource: Employees

Don’t forget that as a business, your most important resource is the people that work for you.  Following these principles of an effective office layout can keep personal satisfaction high and lead to greater productivity.  But effective offices don’t just happen. Workstations, cubicles and break areas need a well-planned space to provide maximum support.  If you are interested in designing your office for a more effective office layout, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: The Basic Criteria for a Good Design and a Good Business
Main Photo: Nucraft Tesano Community Table
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Nucraft

3 C’s of Office Interior Trends

Office Interior Trends

In Southern California, workers in the digital age will continue seeing office interior trends that focus on three important Cs: comfort, communication, and camaraderie. Expectations among staff is that the workplace should be comfortable and inviting.   Younger generations especially want a highly relational approach to handling tasks and completing projects.  They want to work in a place that fosters open communication that’s conducive to positive camaraderie.  How does your workplace compare to the direction that office interiors are heading?

Comfort

Office furniture that adapts to the individual user is an important consideration in creating a comfortable office environment. Continued use of quality ergonomic chairs and height-adjustable desks for workstations and private offices is part of the office wellness movement.  Moreover, a pleasant setting isn’t just about furnishings and how they look or function. Contemporary office interior trends continue to bring in the outdoors.  This encourages companies to maximize the benefits of natural lighting and plants. Surveys have shown that having windows, skylights, and solar tubes that let in plenty of light is a major office perk. Plants refresh the air and also break up the indoor scenery.

Communication

One of the interior trends that will continue are flexible or multifunctional office spaces and rooms. This adaptability comes natural with an open office layout.  Since permanent walls don’t define space in many office interiors, modular workstations and lounge areas can be set up or taken down as needs arise. However, one must consider that this benefit is also a weakness. Increased communication is great for collaboration, but the dialogue can also create interruptions and distractions.  Creating spaces that relate to each other in close proximity is also a great office trend. This allows like-minded groups to create camaraderie.

Camaraderie

Relaxed spaces allow people to take a breather and get refreshed but they also do something more.  They also allow employees to interact on a collegial level. Some companies may claim that their employees are like family. That level of intimacy may be overstated, but there’s no question that coming together as community is one of the office interior trends that’s valued.  Work tasks can be isolating and sometimes daunting. Corporate stakes can sometimes be high so coming together in a relaxed space can allow employees to breathe and, in doing so, relieve tension and keep office morale high.  It’s important to consider that some employees may be ready to play while someone else needs to finish a project. Plenty of lounge furniture with open, private or semi-private options are available to meet a variety of needs.

Achieving the 3C’s of Office Interior Trends

Getting the most from an office space to create optimal workflow and community requires expert input.  If you are interested in designing your office to help you achieve these 3 C’s of office interior trends, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: Choosing Office Furniture for the Optimal Employee Experience

Image Source: Rouillard

Enhancing Office Communication for Best Results

Enhancing Office Communication for Best Results

Sharing ideas, tackling tough issues, and simply engaging in casual banter is all part of office communication. Laying out workstations and lounge areas to support effective dialogue requires planning.  A lack of information flow gets teams off alignment (as noted by this article with a survey from Clear Company). Achieving the best use of space that fosters effective communication can build consensus and keep the team tracking toward the same goals.  Here are several types of communication and how a layout can enhance each one.

Project-Focused Sharing

A collaborative team faces a tight deadline and needs adequate time and space to give and take input. Open plan workstations like Teamworx by DeskMakers and Novo by Friant allow for small teams to gather in collaborative workspaces.  This style of workflow provides good office communication that’s ideal for brainstorming, planning and charting progress. An office set-up such as this will allow for coming together easily and then retreating to implement ideas.

Open Meetings

Great news such as promotions and landing large accounts are always more easily shared and celebrated. Addressing tough topics at the office however is more delicate. Promoting office communication with open meetings that allow for honest discussions help keep teams together in good times and in lean moments.  Office arrangements that include custom conference tables and multi-purpose chairs or adaptable lounge areas can enhance this office communication need.

Active Listening

Active listening is challenging in an office environment that’s busy and filled with phone calls and client meetings. It is especially difficult in an open office setting. Create a space for small groups or one-on-one discussions to take place without feeling like everyone is listening in. Private and semi-private seating arrangements such as Qove and Heya by OFS, Co-Op by Arcadia, and Coact by First Office are great examples of lounges that provide a focused space.  These types of setups promote focused conversation and effective office communication.

Keep Moving

The most natural environment where employees interact is the staff lounge or lunchroom.  One way to enhance office communication here is by promoting staff to move and get their blood flow going. Consider a multi-use product like the Nomad Sport Conference Table which can be converted and used for a ping-pong match. This can let off steam and lead to a robust time of sharing ideas and solutions.  Remember, communication is most effective when there are breaks and spaces for people to move around and absorb what’s been shared. Lounge areas are ideal for escapes and offer places to mill around, socialize, relax and re-focus.

Implement Better Office Communication

If you are interested in designing your office to promote better office communication, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: Office Communication Best Practices: Goal Setting

Image Source: Scale 1:1 Nomad Table

Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness

Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness

Although important, health and wellness isn’t just about weight loss or getting flu shots. It’s really about knowing what makes us thrive physically, mentally, and spiritually – what energizes us.  Southern California’s image is one of beaches bathed in glowing sun and rugged mountains for skiing and hiking. Yet, the reality that we experience is much different. Meeting hard deadlines at work and braving congested freeways create high levels of anxiety and stress.  An effective approach to holistic office wellness cares for the whole person, and promotes overall well-being.  Read on below to learn some holistic office wellness tips for the body. Most of these are easy on the budget and can help make the week a little brighter and the mood a bit lighter.

Staying Physically Well

  • GET FLU SHOTS:  Remember that staying healthy is an important of part of practicing holistic office wellness.  Encourage employees to get a flu shot every fall. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that vaccines prevented 5.3 million influenza illnesses in 2016-2017. A person who says they’re healthy and don’t need a flu shot should still get one. Without the vaccine, they can infect others who are vulnerable.
  • REDUCE EYE STRAIN: Working on a computer for hours without a break will strain the eyes.  So will texting, web-surfing and catching up on social media on mobile devices. Dry eyes, blurred vision and not being able to see colors clearly are symptoms of eye strain.  Use screen displays that are large and clean. Improve lighting to eliminate glare on the screens. Reduce air-borne irritants like dust and take regular breaks.
  • USE ERGONOMIC FURNITURE:  Our physical comfort directly affects our holistic office wellness.  If we are not comfortable, then we don’t feel good and we can’t perform well.  It’s important to understand that how we relate to our surrounding environment includes our posture when sitting at a workstation and in a chair, especially while working for long hours at a time.  Reducing strain on the joints and sitting on quality chairs that support the body’s natural positioning keep the focus on work instead of aches and pains.  Use ergonomically designed chairs and height adjustable desks to adapt to various physical needs of the body.
  • STAY IN MOTION:  Staying active doesn’t only mean hitting the gym for an hour.  Periodic movement throughout the day helps the joints and muscles stay limber. Blood circulation benefits as well, which in turn can help keep the mind and thinking clear.  Stretch even while at the desk every 30 minutes and take brief walks during lunch. Take the stairs instead of an elevator or install a treadmill where employees can walk while reading.
  • RELAX THE MUSCLES:  Find a local masseuse to stop in at the office once a month (or more often if possible) to give 10-minute massages.  Ask a personal trainer to demonstrate exercises that can be done at a desk.
  • EAT AND DRINK WELL:  Food is very when practicing holistic office wellness.  You wouldn’t put kerosene in your car’s gas tank because it would hurt the system. What we eat and drink can slow us down mentally and physically. Get momentum going by bringing in fresh produce and keep a generous supply of water.  Bring healthy eating into the office. Have a local chef cook a pop-up meal and serve it in the lounge area. Or once a year, have an office cook-off using dishes with organic ingredients.

Following a Holistic Office Wellness Regimen

A well-coordinated holistic office wellness effort will reduce employee absenteeism and help boost overall positivity and productivity.  If you are interested in designing an office space that’s conducive to holistic office wellness, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: Harnessing the Benefits of Collaborative Workspaces

Image Source: Groupe Lacasse Quorum

Create an Office Wellness Plan for Optimal Thinking

The Quest for Office Wellness

Office wellness often focuses on how well we are physically. But it’s important to remember the importance of how well we also are mentally.  An effective holistic effort that sheds light on how clearly we think and make decisions is a skill that’s known as executive function. It’s how well we plan, concentrate, and handle different tasks that get thrown our way during a typical working day. An office space that is planned well contributes to a higher level of executive function than a space that’s cluttered. Read on for easy-to-implement ideas to keep the mind working at an optimal level.

Focused Thinking

Being aware of what slows us down mentally is an important aspect of office wellness.  Social media, news topics of the day and office gossip are distractions that can bog down a worker. Family stress, low morale at work, and poor health also bring employees down.  We can often see if someone is physically sick or if they’re hurting. However, mental wellness is a different matter.  It’s impossible to read the mind, emotions and mental wellness of a person.  This is where executive functioning comes into play.  It’s the brain’s way of practicing concentration, tackling priorities, and helps prevent eventual burnout.  To optimize executive function in the workplace, make sure to:

  • Keep workspaces clutter free with combined desk and storage solutions.
  • Maximize communication and workflow between departments.
  • Provide forums for asking questions on important topics.
  • Encourage employees who are struggling in their personal lives to seek outside counseling from a faith community or clinician. Health providers may also offer counseling services.

In Southern California, there are various schools of psychology with graduate students needing to earn hours. They usually provide counseling at greatly reduced rates while working under the guidance of fully licensed therapists.  Consider hiring grad students for your staff to maintain office wellness.

Channeled Energy

Meetings have a remarkable way of taking energy among a team and depleting it.  To channel energy effectively and efficiently in meetings and maintain a positive vibe, make sure to:

  • Keep group meetings or one-on-one sessions on point and as brief as possible.
  • Make sure the setup of conference tables and chairs is spacious or use a more relaxed lounge seating arrangement.
  • Don’t lay blame on someone in front of others or spring tough topics on people.
  • Ask for input to gauge reasons for negative data like missed sales numbers.
  • Schedule ahead for a monthly birthday celebration or milestone moment.
  • Provide comfortable areas where people can linger and chat away from desks and workstations.

Creative Down Time

Ask your staff what inspires them – a book, movie, or a simple experience like a walk they took recently. Maybe it’s cooking or playing sports.  Focusing on down time with your staff definitely has it benefits.  It contributes to optimum executive function and office wellness.  Consider:

  • Once a quarter try to schedule in an inspiring activity that builds up the team.
  • Offer a cooking class, a beach trip or museum outing to a place like the Getty Museum or the Huntington Library and Gardens.
  • If goals are met and work is done well, create a certificate for the individual to take off a couple of hours and do something of their choosing nearby.
  • Turn a workstation or lounge area into an Idea Center. Allow people to post notes there on how they get through challenging times at the office or home. Invite them to submit problem-solving ideas for the company.

Design for Office Wellness

Everyone can benefit from a holistic approach to office wellness. Planning the office space and using quality furniture is important in creating a pleasant and productive atmosphere.  If you are interested in designing your office to promote executive function, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read Also:  Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness
Main Photo: OFS Brands Yelly Table

Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: OFS Brands

Your Guide to Choosing the Best Office Layout

Your Guide to Choosing the Best Office Layout

If you’re looking for a guide to help you choose the best office layout with maximum effectiveness, you’ve come to the right place!  An office layout is part of your brand and a direct representation of your company.  A well-designed and properly planned space conveys the order, quality, and stability of your brand, both to your employees and the clients who visit.  Read on to evaluate your needs — based on your type of company, your staff, and what your plans are for the future–and follow the guide below for some insights on how to create your best office layout.

Your Type of Company

Best office layouts can change depending on your type of company and stage of existence. There’s certainly cross-over from one category to another and today’s flexible designs can be adapted for various situations. Still, how you see yourself can determine the type of workstations and storage solutions you select.

START-UP

If you’ve followed in the footsteps of the Hewlett Packard story and you’ve moved out of the garage — then congratulations! Setting up a new office is daunting and it’s tempting to buy used furniture that doesn’t cost much.  Remember that while affordable quality used office furniture is available, the price difference however, with buying new furniture is minimal.  At this stage in the game, also consider that now’s the time to invest in a layout that’s modular. Start with the most essential pieces and add as growth occurs and the budget allows.

TECH, PR, ENTERTAINMENT

In areas like Hollywood, Santa Monica and Culver City, open office layouts are widely used with technology, public relations firms and production companies. The need for collaborating on projects is high and an open office layout supports communication.  Use height-adjustable tables and desks that can meet the varying needs of individuals. Provide private spaces for employees to retreat into a quiet, brainstorming mode.  Set the open tone with reception desks that have a minimal, modern and approachable appearance.

ESTABLISHED PROFESSIONAL FIRM

A professional law or engineering firm will usually have a high need for traditional private offices. Desks and related storage with ergonomic chairs can still invite collaboration and discussion. Or, in a private space, consider comfortable chairs off to the side for inter-personal communication.

CORPORATIONS WITH DEPARTMENTAL BOUNDARIES

An established corporate office with well-staffed departments can use a variety of office layouts, or a modular approach, based on the needs of upper management and specific departments.  Cubicles can offer privacy but allow for communication and transparency with translucent or clear partitions. Departments can use pods for small groups of workers and provide for individual storage needs and equip private offices with traditional desk and storage designs.

NONPROFIT

Nonprofits in Southern California are as different as the people they serve. From health-care and after-school programs to foster care and food programs, staffing needs and the way they operate vary greatly.  Nonprofits that have program recipients coming in can invest in quality multi-purpose chairs that are durable with budget-smart chairs and conference tables for board meetings.

MANUFACTURING

Companies that turn raw materials into products for aerospace, the fashion industry, and small manufacturing firms can use a mix of public and private spacing. Make access to the production floor easy but cut down noise and distractions with private cubicle spaces.  Give labor comfortable seating options and arrangements during break times.

Staff Functions and Needs

Your office layout will be affected by how often your staff is in versus out. Think of how the behavioral needs of a real estate brokerage firm in Beverly Hills are quite different than an accounting firm in Glendale.

HEAVY USER STORAGE NEEDS VS MINIMAL

The need for file storage that’s office-wide or heavy in one department and light in another can impact layout. One central storage area that’s well-equipped may serve the needs well, or each workstation can have its own available storage.

COMPUTER USE VS CLIENT-INTERACTION IN-PERSON OR PHONE

The more work revolves around client interaction online compared to phone or in person then lean toward workstations for open office and modular designs.

OUTSIDE SALES VS DESK WORKER

Professionals like real estate agents who are mostly out seeing clients can use shared spaces quite well. Create modular conference areas when important documents need signing.

TEAM-CENTERED

A firm that’s heavily team-centered can use an open office layout with clearly designated quiet areas and open spaces for breaks.

Future Projections

Plan for the mid-term and long-term future. An established corporation in a mature industry will likely use the same layouts with only subtle changes for the future. An entrepreneurial firm that goes from boot-strapping to steady cashflow will undergo much greater changes in the same period of time.

TEMPORARY PROJECTS

Public relations firms and entertainment firms that bring in freelance talent on a project to consult and then disburse should focus on areas that serve group brainstorming and problem-solving.

GROWTH AND EXPANSION

The startup or small office intent on winning more business can use a minimalist, modular design.

MATURE COMPANIES

Provide for efficient flow of information between departments.

Getting Started on Your Best Office Layout

If you are ready to design your best office layout please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way

Read also: How to Select an Open Office or Private Office Layout

Image Source: OFS Brands Aptos

Harnessing the Benefits of Collaborative Workspaces

Harnessing the Benefits of Collaborative Workspaces

Benefits of Collaborative Workspaces

The benefits of collaborative workspaces are found in offices that are designed well and provide an efficient flow of information and open communication conducive to promoting camaraderie and relationships. A “flat” organization can maximize collaborative spaces in different ways than companies that are run top-down with a focus on individual performance.

Open office layouts are usually the only ones thought of as collaborative. A 2011 article from Harvard Business Review, Inventing the Collaborative Workspace, states that most buildings are suited for individual work with cubicles and private offices. But efficient communication can be built into many layouts. Read on to discover how to set up collaborative spaces and their benefits.

Completing Tasks

Where work tasks are carried out are natural places for collaborative workspaces. Tech companies have been known to drive the collaborative work space approach. Creative firms like ad agencies and production companies require brainstorming and group effort around campaigns and TV or film development.  Open bench seating is an excellent solution with options like Friant’s Verity Open Plan Benching that gives a modern, professional and orderly appearance to office spaces. Want to promote movement and creative collaboration? The G Series Desk Lounge by Scale 1:1 is flexible for many office needs.

What if your office is more traditional or requires individual attention to projects? It’s still possible to set a tone for collaboration and open communication using appropriate desking and dividers.  A range of cubicles are available that don’t create a generic walled look. The EO workstation by Global allows for personal boundaries and openness. Modular Walls by Open Plan Systems is another way to have personal space without solid walls.

Sharing Ideas

Providing brainstorming and discussion is another one of the benefits of collaborative workspaces. Even companies with brick walls and doors between desks can promote sharing. A common room or large open space can be turned into a comfortable lounge.  The Serafina Modular lounge offers professional seating solution to common office areas while sharing ideas in a flexible lounge system is the concept behind Share by Stylex.

In many cases, comfortable seating, a white board along with some beverages gets discussion flowing.

Solving Problems

A team that brings multiple perspectives to a problem can reduce individual burdens and provide lasting solutions. Not only can clients benefit, but internal needs such as deciding on new product launches can be handled effectively.  Bringing people together isn’t always easy so make sure to set up the physical environment to promote problem solving. Gathering around a conference table is the norm but a smaller, modular approach like the Dewey Collection can be great for presenting a topic and then inviting small groups to break it down.

Building Relationships

Everyone needs to contribute their skills and ideas to make an office function at its peak. Since people have up and down days, a team approach can provide support. A company that’s aiming for collaboration at work can go far by building healthy relationships.  Clearly defining goals and tasks in a community based on problem solving can lay the foundation for a satisfying work experience. Challenging days are unavoidable. But when the office layout is designed to promote discussion and collaboration then challenges can be overcome.

Enjoy the Benefits of Collaborative Workspaces

An office space is more than desks and chairs. If you are interested in designing your office to help you reap the benefits of collaborative workspaces, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

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Five Benefits of Using Plants in the Office

Five Benefits Using Plants

Why We Need Plants in the Office

Concerned about office stale air?  Thinking about creating a positive mood? Check your office greenery and consider the five benefits of using plants in the office!  Studies have shown that indoor plants refresh breathing and rejuvenate the spirit. Read on and discover all the great health contributions of having plants in the office.

Plants Tackle Hazardous Materials

In the 1960s, swamp plants in Florida were shown to clean up the devastating effects of Agent Orange, the chemical that the U.S. infamously used during battle in Vietnam. An environmental researcher working with the military, B.C. Wolverton, Ph.D., made the findings and soon worked with NASA to counter-act indoor air pollution.

Sending astronauts to the moon and into orbit for long periods of time in a space station led NASA to clean up the effects of “off-gassing,” the slow release of chemicals from synthetic materials.

Buying quality furniture is important and near the end of this article are easy-to-follow tips to minimize off-gassing.

Plants Aid Office Wellness

By the 1980s, a new term came into being called “Sick Building Syndrome.” Wolverton released a full study by the end of the decade that focused on “energy-efficient buildings” and how both furniture and computer and electronic equipment would “off-gas hundreds of volatile organics.”

Here’s where plants became important. More research from England showed that buildings with the highest levels of microorganisms had the fewest symptoms. And the opposite scenario was true. People who had more ill symptoms worked in mechanically ventilated buildings containing low levels of microorganisms.

Plants Create an Indoor Ecosystem

How do plants work their magic? Water vapor they emit pulls the air’s contaminants to the root levels. The plant then converts it into food and microorganisms in the potting soil do the cleaning work.

Pollutants from the air are absorbed into the plants while they’re taking in carbon dioxide. That’s then turned into oxygen through photosynthesis. Here’s where the microbes come into play. They’re in the potting soil and they do a lot of the cleaning.

Plants Boost the Spirit

A home or office that has nicely placed greenery has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. It’s a way to spruce up the look of industrial grade gray. A 2014 study from the University of Exeter that was noted in Science Daily stated that a green office can boost productivity levels by 15%.

Plants also improve the air quality by raising humidity levels which benefits employees who have naturally dry skin and eyes. Dry air can also be troubling for asthma sufferers and spread germs leading to colds and flu.

Plants Absorb Sound

Air contaminants aren’t the only thing that plants absorb. Leaves and stems can capture sound waves and reflect them. That helps boost concentration levels.

In the open office, plants can act as green dividers in many creative ways. Open plan benching workstations could have small plants that are placed every several feet to create personal space.

In spaces with solid walls, plants on shelving can add color.

Recommended Indoor Plants in the Office

The following are some of the recommended plants for a healthy office:

  • Spider plants – known for purifying the air
  • Succulents – easy to care for and work well in small containers
  • Peace Lilly – are good for creating more moisture in the air
  • Aloe – a type of succulent; easy to grow and care for
  • Philodendrons – are popular as hanging plants

Tips to Reduce Off-Gassing From Office Furniture

  • Buy tables and desks that are well crafted.
  • Remove packaging outdoors since that’s where the largest concentration of gas is released.
  • Filter and circulate the air
  • Use plants as noted in this post

Read Also: Designing a Healthy Office
Main Photo: Loftwall Weave Screen
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Loftwall