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

Developing a Supportive Office Work Environment

Developing a Supportive Work Environment OFS Denro

Imagine the benefits of a supportive office work environment where you enter in the morning knowing that you’ll face challenges, and as you head to your workstation you get a comment from a team member, “Let me know if you get stuck and I’ll be glad to help.”

You smile. Just think how great it’d be if the comment came from the person you’re reporting to, or even the CEO.

You adjust your desk to the height where it’s most comfortable, settle in your ergonomic chair, and get started on the day. Your responsibilities require close attention to detail, but you feel assured that others are sharing in the experience.

Is that scenario filled with wishful thinking or can it be a reality?


Photo: Maverick Desk Ascend Height Adjustable Desk

Defining a Supportive Office Environment

Let’s start with the positive elements of a helpful office and supportive office work environment.

  • Staff is asked to participate in setting realistic goals that are achievable.
  • Company leaders know that challenges are ahead, but rally their team in a promising way like, “If we sail through this storm then we’ll have bonuses to share and a stronger market position.”
  • The right accessories and equipment are available for workstations, breakout rooms and lounges.
  • Deliberate thought is given to planning the office space for both comfort and productivity, with attention to details like maximizing natural light and ensuring that ergonomics play a key role.
  • Personal space is provided so employees are free to move around if that helps them work productively. They’re given respect to make decisions and take ownership of their situations without fear of reprisal or punishment.
  • If staff runs into a problem, they have team members or upper management willing to listen and problem-solve together.


Photo: Encore OFS

Why Workplaces Break Down

Life isn’t lived in a vacuum. A company by nature has to interact with vendors, customers and is staffed by employees who experience personal ups and downs. People get tired and fall ill or their career goals have changed. They may want positions with more responsibility – or less.

A business has multiple moving parts.

Even a solo professional has to remain up-to-date on not only core strengths, but handling taxes, finding new clients and keeping current ones happy. A business with 20 to 50 employees or a corporation or university faces even more complexity.

Business strategies range from improving a business’ core, gleaning data from financials and knowing the latest technologies to leverage.

The external world is complex, too. Every industry has hundreds or thousands of competitors.

Many, although not all, are looking to improve and gain new customers. The digital age makes it easy for customers to do their own research to find new brands and suppliers. Maintaining brand loyalty and keeping current customers happy is an on-going task.

Navigating the daily ups and downs means that wrong decisions are sometimes made, competitors make breakthroughs, and a myriad of outside forces impact local and international economies.

Think back to late 2019 when companies were planning for 2020. No one would have had Covid-19 on their radar. You can’t plan for every emergency but you can maintain a supportive office work environment in good times and tough times.

Leaders Impact Workplace Culture

The attitudes and behaviors of a CEO, vice president, and even a mid-level manager can determine if a workplace is supportive or filled with uncertainty and tension. Leaders truly have to understand and evaluate their own capabilities—and that’s not easy.


Photo: OFS Obeya

Strong personalities can easily take credit for what others have done; leaders can make poor decisions, and those who are insecure will pass blame. Autopilot can work well for airliners, but companies don’t have that option. They just can’t hit a button labeled Forward, and then sit back and relax.

Every day is new.

How can leaders develop a positive office? Start with the basics.

Make sure the vision of the company and its mission statement are clear, and then follow through with the team so they understand and adhere to the organization’s overall goal and direction.

Positive leaders also invest in the internal environment and understand that satisfied employees are key to the brand promise.

No operation, no matter how large, has unlimited funds, but corners shouldn’t be cut in terms of obtaining the most effective office layout and furnishings. Today’s modular workstations and accessories for lounges make it possible to create an uplifting interior while keeping the budget under control.


Photo: OFS Yelly

Leaders know that decisions like cutting expenses and allocating resources are difficult. Getting counsel from trusted outsiders can give much-needed space to reflect and evaluate.  These are key in creating a supportive office work environment

Foster Employee Communication

People who are loyal to the company are the greatest asset to any operation. Create a personal system where they’re allowed or encouraged to make their goals known upon hiring. Do performance evaluations, but also get a sense of how they’re doing in their personal lives and where they’re headed professionally.

Your organization may be a large university or a manufacturer so the personal input and any type of counseling you provide for employees will be quite limited. But you can make your team aware of resources available like nearby counseling centers, gym memberships or other outlets that benefit both physical and mental health.

Supportive workplaces don’t just happen but are developed through an office that’s well-laid out, people who commit to doing the best for each other, and leaders who offer the same respect they would like to have.

Create a Supportive Office Work Environment

Take a step in creating a supportive office work environment and bringing positivity to your workplace. Consult with the team at 2010 Office Furniture about space planning and furnishings that bring out the best in your staff.

Contact them with your needs.

2010 Office has nearly 50 years combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, nonprofits, universities and emerging small enterprises.

Read Also: Ways to Make the Workplace More Kind and Caring
Main Photo: OFS
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Encore, Maverick DeskOFS

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

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.

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

Office Communication Best Practices: Goal Setting

Office Communication Best Practices: Goal Setting

The Road to Better Office Communication

Setting corporate goals and showing each member of the team how their work impacts the overall direction of the company keeps employees motivated and unified. Goal setting is an important part of a successfully run business, and one of the best practices in office communication.

Goal Setting as Unifying Force

Directives can come from the top and trickle down through a company or nonprofit business. But heavy-handed top-down office communication doesn’t unify a team. Merely telling people what they have to achieve prevents them from thinking through the ways they can contribute and may stifle ideas that top management hasn’t considered.  That is why laying out the company’s main goals in a group setting is a good starting point to strengthen office communication. Choose a room or create a space that’s well-equipped for interaction with tables that enhance discussion and make it easy to focus.  Present the goals and the reasons behind them. Goals can’t be arbitrary. There has to be a reason for them. Ask the team to consider if they think the goals are doable and if changes are necessary.  Then later drill down to department and individual levels to add substance and direction.  Consulting firm McKinsey states that “employees will be more effective if they can see how their individual goals fit into the big picture.”

Goal Setting as Ownership

Depending on the company’s culture and personality, office communication will either flow well or sharing honest feedback will be awkward. In smaller departmental or team settings, ask the members to identify challenges they might face in reaching their goals.  A sales and marketing team may bring up campaigns that the competition is already doing. They may also point to a lack of focused marketing materials. An engineering or production team may reveal the need for specific components or reasons why they’ve been struggling.  Working through the challenges and then having people confirm and prioritize what they can do is a way of giving them ownership.

The setting for discussion is important. In an open office layout, have seating arrangements for focused office communication. Separate it from the nearby workstations and ask for honest feedback.  In more intimate office settings such as cubicles or private offices, have a lounge area that’s decorated with plants for a relaxed feel.  Include a white board for group discussions and notes.

Goal setting also builds trust. Ask team members individually or in a group for what their goals would be if they were the CEO. What do they see and envision that might be missed?

Goal Setting as Trouble-Shooting

Laying out corporate goals and giving departments and individuals ownership of them is a dynamic process. Meeting the goals easily and successfully can mean that everyone’s work is going well and the team is heading in one direction. Or, depending on the nature of the work and the team’s talent, it may mean that the goals weren’t robust enough.  If team members are struggling to meet their goals and deadlines, allow them to provide honest feedback and interaction. This prompts effective office communication. Bring different departments together to address problems.  Create positive interaction and incentives for getting back on track. This helps keep morale high and buy-in strong.

Your Goal: Better Office Communication

Effective office communication and goal setting is an art. If you are interested in designing an office space that’s conducive to effective office communication and goal setting, 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: Leveraging a Professionally Designed Workspace for Long-Term Gain
Main Photo: National Kozmic Collaboration Space 
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: National