Ways to Help Create Social Distancing in the Office

Ways to Create Social Distancing in the Office

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

Without a doubt, Covid-19 slammed the brakes on the popular open plan trend –  where office space is maximized by seating employees together in open office spaces. Implementing an abrupt change to help remedy this by creating more social distancing in the office will take some smart space planning, but it’s quite do-able.

Integrating innovative COVID office furniture solutions into a productive work environment may help employees return safely to the office.

Here’s a suggested easy-to-follow reference list:

  • Re-configure seating distances using modular workstations
  • Place transparent screens and dividers strategically
  • Maximize use of teleconferencing media for off-site and on-site employees
  • Reduce the number of chairs in waiting areas and space them apart
  • Clearly mark six-foot spaces for breakrooms and other areas where people gather
  • Create a clockwise foot traffic flow
  • Get expert input – the team at 2010 Office Furniture has decades of experience in space planning strategies for corporations, universities and growing businesses of all sizes.

You can do this!

Let’s dig further into each of the tips by understanding the concept of the 6-Foot Office Space.

The 6-Foot Office from Cushman & Wakefield


Photo: Groupe Lacasse PanGram

The 6-Foot Office concept from Cushman & Wakefield was designed to help reintroduce people to office workspace in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The global commercial real estate firm has laid out guidelines that include:

  1. Making a quick scan of where your office already has six feet of space and where additional space can easily be created
  2. Post 6-Foot rules and guidelines to promote employee safety and well-being
  3. Route traffic through a safe flow such as a clockwise pattern around the office
  4. Fully equipped and adapted workstations for employees to work safely
  5. Designate someone to work with building managers on a comprehensive 6-Foot plan
  6. Create and post a 6-Foot safety certificate to show your company is working to reduce the potential of person-to-person spread of germs and the coronavirus

Essential Equipment to Help Social Distancing in the Office


Photo: Groupe Lacasse PanGram

Scan your office to know how much equipment you’ll need and what you’ll need. One person who’s active at a reception desk may need a different type of shield or divider than a group of three or four people working in a pod.

Employee schedules and work habits matter as well. Modular workstations make it easy to take out a desk or put one back, depending on who’s working remotely or in the office. Modular furniture gives you the flexibility to accommodate changes in habits and preferences.

Dividers and Screens


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Stad Benching

Select the best shields and dividers for needed physical barriers.

Track-mounted screens and surface dividers may work well to help create protection among low cubicle and open plan benching workers. Use transparent and semi-transparent dividers between assigned work areas to let light filter through.

Cubicles like the Friant System 2 Workstation can act as partitions, too, and offer an attractive look.

Workstations


Photo: Enwork Zori

Many workstations are designed to accommodate employees to work facing each other, such as DeskMakers TeamWorx Open Plan Desking. Instead of workers directed toward a common point, workstations can be arranged where seating is back-to-back so your team members are facing away from each other, with six feet of spacing between seats. Fortunately, it’s easy to re-configure all parts of modular furniture including tabletops, panels and storage.

Benching solutions like the Friant Verity Open Plan Benching can have single sides or double sides. With the double sides, workers sit opposite each other. You can move the desks apart so they’re not flush up against each other and then use clear dividers to create space.

It’s easy to use table-top dividers with a set-up like the Friant Interra Cubicle where modular storage units can be used to create space between employees.

Tables and Rolling Whiteboards


Photo: DeskMakers ReFit

Place sleek tables around the office to mark at least six-feet of space where necessary. Office plants placed on counter tops bring a touch of nature indoors and freshen the air. Vary the shapes of tables by using furniture like the Arcadia Delen Table, a product which comes in circular and rectangular styles.

Rolling whiteboards have already been used as separators in open office settings. It’s a way to re-imagine meeting areas where employees can sit at a distance from each other. Select a variety of multi-purpose chairs or stools to vary seating heights and provide small tables for easy note taking.

Use Remote Co-working Spaces as Needed

You may find it more budget-smart to use outside co-working space instead of completely re-configuring an office. Companies were already leveraging co-working spaces before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Mark Gilbreath, the CEO of Liquidspace, a platform that helps companies access shared offices.

Keep In-person Meeting Attendees to a Minimum for Social Distancing


Photo: Trendway Clear Wall

The use of virtual meeting applications such as Zoom has become as commonplace as gathering with co-workers around the office water cooler.  You can now expect teleconferencing and streaming to remain a normal part of business communications. Consider architectural walls like OFS Obeya Architectural Structures as office solutions that can integrate well with video conferencing equipment including projectors and monitors.

Include Everyone when Creating Space in the Office


Photo: OFS Re: Benching

Person-to-person communication was much easier when people were expected to work primarily in the office. Announcements could be posted or messages passed along to an entire department. Now that some employees work remotely, ensure that your communication flow includes everybody. Don’t just send out important emails and expect people to automatically read and respond. Follow-up. Make personal phone calls or set up a phone chain to alert your team of special announcements and important topics.

Effective communication boosts morale like providing upbeat signage personalized with your brand to make people feel safe.

Share accurate health information from the CDC and your county’s public health department.

Remember to continue celebrating and acknowledging company and personal milestones to create camaraderie.

Get Expert Input and Guidance to Help with Social Distancing in the Office

Make use of expert space planning and project management to help get the results that benefit your company.

2010 Office Furniture is more than a source for purchasing quality modular office furniture. The team offers informed guidance in establishing and re-imagining office spaces for companies and non-profits of all sizes.

Tap into 2010 Office Furniture’s more than 45 years of combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished brands.

Contact them with your questions and needs.

Read Also:How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19
Main Photo by: Trendway Volo Wall
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Trendway, Groupe Lacasse, Enwork, DeskMakers & OFS

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

Modular Home Office Furniture to Improve Working from Home

Modular Home Office Furniture to Improve Working from Home

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

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


Photo: HON Voi Modular Desk / Workstation

Modular Home Office Furniture

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

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

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

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


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Concept Modular Desk Set

Aesthetically Built for Homes

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

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

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


Photo: Friant Dash Revitalize Modular Office Furniture

Factors to Consider While Buying

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

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

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


Photo: DeskMakers Ascend Modular Desk Set

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

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

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


Photo: National WaveWorks Height Adjustable Table and Storage Solution

Get the Modular Home Office Furniture Expertise You Need

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

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

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

Modern Cubicles Office Workstation

Modern Cubicles Office Workstation

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

Types of Workstations

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


Photo: National WaveWorks Open Plan Workstation

Modern Cubicles

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


Photo: Friant Novo Modern Cubicle Panel System

Increased Productivity

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


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

Privacy

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


Photo: Trendway Choices Modern Cubicle Panel System

Modern Cubicles Price Factor

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

Design Improvements

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


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

Mobility

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

Standardization

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

Flexibility

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

Things to Also Consider

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


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Paradigm Workstations

Get the Modern Cubicles Expertise You Need

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

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

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

Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity

Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity

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

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

What do you think?

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

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


Photo: HON Empower Height Adjustable Tables

What is Ergonomics

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

Can you identify with this familiar situation?

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

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

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

How Ergonomics Came About

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

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

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

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

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

What Ergonomic Stations Reduce or Prevent

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries

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

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

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

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

Now, back to the office.

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


Photo: 9 to 5 Seating Ergonomic Chairs

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

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

Principles of Ergonomic Workstations

What makes up a workstation?

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


Photo: Humanscale M10 Monitor Arm

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

Learn why as you read along.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, let’s look at individual items.

Desks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo: HON Empower Height Adjustable Worksurface

 


Photo: Humanscale QuickStand 

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


Photo: HON Empower Worksurfaces with Privacy Screens

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

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

Chairs

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

Moving gives your muscles and tendons a chance to reset.

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

Think of it this way.

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


Photo: Humanscale Freedom Chairs with Headrests

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

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

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

Ergonomic Computer Accessories

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

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

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

Office lighting also affects your work and posture.


Photo: Humanscale Keyboard Tray Systems


Photo: Humanscale Keyboard Tray Systems

Light


Photo: Humanscale Vessel Pendant Lights

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

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

There are three basic types of lighting:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo: Humanscale Infinity Desktop Light

The Ergonomic Workstation Solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo: Friant System 2 Workstations


Photo: Humanscale Ergonomic Workspaces

Get the Expertise You Need

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

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

Read Also: Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity
Main Photo by: ODS / Office Design Studio
Resources & Special Thanks to: OSHA, University of Western Australia, UCLA, MyHealth.Alberta.Ca, IALD, & Respective Product Manufacturers: ODS / Office Design Studio, 9 to 5 Seating, Friant, HON, and Humanscale

Using Cubicles for a Competitive Advantage in Your Workplace

Using Cubicles for a Competitive Advantage in Your Workplace

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

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

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

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

Look at the many benefits of modular furniture.

What is Modular Office Furniture

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

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

Reasons to Use Modular Office Furniture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Types of Modular Office Furniture

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

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

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

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


Photo: Trendway Snap Workspace

Here’s a fact you likely don’t know:

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

The Original Need for Cubicles

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

Thus, the cubicle.

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

What about now?

More options exist for cubicles than ever before.

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


Photo: Friant Novo Workstations

Understanding Cubicles

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

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

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

  • Offer Privacy
  • Buffer Noise
  • Reduce Visual Distractions


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

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

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

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

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

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

Know How You Want Your Cubicle to Function

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

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


Photo: Friant System 2 Workstations


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

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

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

You can evaluate who needs what cubicle style by knowing:

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

Choose specific cubicle layouts to support your different office functions.

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

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


Photo: ODS / Office Design Studio Crossroads Workstations

Cubicles Can Boost a Company’s Brand Internally

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

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

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

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

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


Photo: ODS / Office Design Studio Crossroads Workstations

Cubicles Can Channel Workflow

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

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

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

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

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


Photo: HON Abound Workstations

Cubicles Support People

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

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

Partitioned office spaces have another benefit: Wellness

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

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


Photo: HON Workspace Solutions

Using Modular Desks

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

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

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

Modular Seating Options and Tables

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

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

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

The Encore Dabble Modular Lounge has straight and curved benches.

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

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

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

Now what happens when meeting and presentation needs change?

The solution is using modular tables.

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

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

Modular Furniture is Designed for Long Term Use

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modular Office Furniture is Ergonomically Sound

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

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

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

Get the Expertise You Need

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

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

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

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