Creating Workspaces to Bring Employees and Their Ideas Together

Creating Workspaces to Bring Employees and Their Ideas Together

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

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

Think of it as a collision center.

Here’s why.

How to Measure the Value of an Office

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

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

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

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

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

The Office as a Casual Communication Tool

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

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


Photo: Allermuir Jinx Lounge

Why casual?

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

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

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

Creating Workspaces with Collision Spaces

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

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


Photo: Stylex Open Office Lounge and Workstation

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

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

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

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

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

Take a new approach with cubicles.

The Benefits of Today’s Cubicles

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

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


Photo: HON Abound Workstation

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

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


Photo: Friant Systems 2 Workspace

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

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

Get an Expert Perspective on Creating Workspaces

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

Contact them to share about your possible needs and projects.

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

Equipping Employees for Both the Corporate Office and Home Office

Equipping Employees for Both the Corporate Office and Home Office

Today’s corporate and home office environments will remain dramatically changed in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Are you seeing it in your work setting?

Expect a hybrid trend to continue. Employees will work up to a few days each week in the corporate setting and then put in the remaining hours each week at a home office or other remote location.

Savvy executives and office managers will plan and design their spaces so employees will be properly equipped at home and in the work setting.

Read on to see how you can create spaces that are productive and also meet expectations for workers and the company.

Why Employees Want to Work at Home

Surveys shows that office workers have a lot of practical reasons for working remotely at home or another location.

Reason 1: Plenty of quality furnishings are available for home offices like height adjustable desks, ergonomic chairs and accessories to create a professional setting.

Reason 2: They don’t face stressful commutes and they save money by not going to the office. You know the stories of what it’s like battling traffic every morning and late afternoons on freeways like the 405 through West LA and the 210 into Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley.

The people surveyed estimate that savings in gas and other personal expenses saves them up to $ 5,000 a year.

Reason 3: Concerns about Covid—and this comes in a distant third.


Photo: OFS Aptos Private Office

Here’s a breakdown from a survey of 2,000 adults that Flexjobs, an employment agency, did in April 2021:

  • 84% of people didn’t want a daily commute
  • 75% personally saved money
  • 32% still had Covid concerns
  • 26% enjoyed being closer to their pets and home responsibilities
  • 15% said a home office made childcare easier

Another reason workers like their home office is they don’t have to wear face coverings. Physical distancing and mask requirements are easing up in California beginning mid-June. But according to updated guidelines from the state’s department of public health, masks are supposed to be worn in indoor settings:

“In indoor settings outside of one’s home, including public transportation, face coverings continue to be required regardless of vaccination status…”

Exceptions are made for people working alone in a closed room or office.

The on-going regulations may sway people to work from home.

What CEOs Want for the Corporate Office

Not surprisingly, CEOs and other executives surveyed wanted their people at corporate workstations, although they understood that workers got used to remote locations. In a survey conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers in January 2021, most corporate leaders agreed that a hybrid office model can work.

Here’s the breakdown of how many days the CEOs want their employees to spend in the office:

  • 5 days a week—21%
  • 4 days a week—18%
  • 3 days a week—29%
  • 2 days a week—15%
  • 1 day a week— 5%
  • Only 1 – 3 days monthly—6%

The most pressing concern for executives was keeping their teams aligned with company culture. Too many days spent working remotely would lead to drifting and a loose association with the company’s goals and values.

Companies can attract employees by offering quality settings that can’t be duplicated remotely. The other draw of a corporate setting is the social interaction. Make the office a positive place to be.


Photo: HON WestHill Lounge

The Power of the Flexible Office

A property management authority was commenting on commercial office leases in Long Beach and remarked “that a lot of tenants that don’t really know what the world looks like — don’t have a good grasp of, once we’re out of this pandemic, what their office space needs are going to look like.”

Products made for a flexible workspace design are more important than ever.

If you need more workstations, or fewer, then consider solutions like the DeskMakers TeamWorx Open Plan Desking. It’s easy to configure and comes with many different privacy options.


Photo: Deskmakers Teamworx Workstation

The Attraction of Ambiance in the Office

A popular office trend in workspace environments is known as Resimercial, which means combining the best of a home office and residential setting with the durability and demands of a commercial space.

The lines between work and home are more blurred than ever.

It’s acceptable for office lounges to look like living rooms when they’re properly furnished and arranged well.

You can also create an upbeat office setting where people want to be. Use primary colors and furniture with clean lines. Triangular shapes and circles add depth and intrigue.


Photo: Arcadia Contract Domo Benches

Add plenty of indoor plants to bring in the best of nature and make sure a maximum amount of natural light is flowing into the space.

The Support of the Healthy Office

Show employees that they’re safe and well-protected with mobile glass screens and an array of space dividers. Private and semi-private office cubicles are useful for distancing while still offering a sense of collaboration.


Photo: HON Ignition Chair

Get the Ideas You Need for the Corporate Office and Home Office

Smart space planning is essential to laying out an office setting for maximum productivity and employee engagement. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has over 50 years of combined experience working with office managers and executives at the most distinguished companies in Los Angeles County, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

Contact them with your project needs and questions.

Read Also: How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19
Main Photo: Arcadia Contract Avelina Table
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Arcadia Contract, Deskmakers,HON & OFS

(IMPORTANT NOTICE: The 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.)

Designing Your Office for Better Inter-Office Communication

Designing Your Office for Better Inter-Office Communication

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

Re-Imagine Office Walls

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

Replace the Traditional Cubicle

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

Create Conversation Spaces

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

Inter-Office Communication

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

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