Planning Office Layouts for Today’s Workplace Needs

Planning Office Layouts for Today’s Workplace Needs

Before discussing and planning office layouts, let’s set this up shall we?

You wake up, get ready for the day, and head to your office which is—where?

Tele-commuting became a popular term over 20 years ago. In just the last few years, offices experienced more decentralization with employees and freelance staff working remotely from home or co-working spaces.

The office was still the central place that most employees went to during their morning commute. And then Covid-19 hit with stay-at-home orders that left workplaces in a state of uncertainty. An estimated two weeks to beat the virus stretched into a few months of closures, and even longer in some areas.

Employee well-being in the workplace wasn’t just about ergonomics, movement or healthy snacks. Companies had to get protective accessories to ensure a new level and style of workplace safety.

The centralized workplace environment changed. Suddenly, home offices became necessary and the coffee shops that were open became places of work. Zoom meetings and WebEx became the professional method of meeting, interrupted by dogs barking in the background and children needing help with their online classes.

Today’s office layout is likely changed—permanently.

But that doesn’t mean employees will no longer have rush hour commutes. What it does mean is that office workers now have more options for where they can get their work done.

How companies adapt and handle the array of choices depends on the culture that comes from CEOs and other organizational leaders.

Your team may be physically distant from each other, but sharing corporate culture and values will keep them together in spirit. And that can be just as powerful as bringing everyone together in the same office.


Photo: AMQ, Rouillard & Stylex

Basics of Developing Corporate Culture

“Culture” is an intangible element of the workplace environment. However, what we see and experience impacts what we refer to as the culture. The consistency of our habits and behaviors has a tremendous influence.

Is your company described as “cutting edge” but uses equipment that’s second-rate and interior colors that appear blah and outdated?

Do you tout great customer care but tell staff to keep their heads down, don’t ask questions and do their work?

You expect customers to remain brand loyal, but do you frequently shop for new vendors to get lower prices, even though your current ones are giving you good service?

What is promised to the customers and clients should also be reflected to employees. That way, trust and respect are earned. This is one of the foundations for establishing a corporate culture that aligns with your company’s vision and mission.

Even what seems mundane like workplace furnishings and lighting are assets in creating a positive workplace.

An article in Forbes magazine, Looking to Create Great Company Culture? Studies Show to Start with Your Office Space, says there are tremendous benefits to creating a welcoming work environment. Companies bolster team morale, increase employee retention, and enhance overall productivity.

  • Invest in ergonomics and related accessories so the workplace meets the physical, emotional and task needs of your employees.
  • Use quality chairs and modular workstations with a pleasing color selection.
  • Maximize natural light if possible. Enlarge windows and install solar tubes or skylights. Natural light is one of the most desirable elements in an engaging workspace.


Photo: Stylex Seating

Know Your Brand When Planning Office Layouts

A nonprofit that specialized in working with children and families in Los Angeles County wanted to look professional inside its offices. Defining that term is central to your culture.

The organization placed images of board directors on the lobby walls and made sure the paint was clean and trim. It was neat and fresh, but it didn’t look like a child-centric place. The lobby could have been any professional business.

Why couldn’t it have been a messy-looking area on the wall where kids made their hand prints and scrawled their names? This small touch would have given the organization immediate brand recognition.

What’s your brand?

What touches can you bring to the interior that immediately set it apart?


Photo: Scale 1:1 Lean2 Dividers

Know the Atmosphere

The combination of pacing and leadership lends itself to a certain type of culture.

Are you a relaxed and loose confederation of professionals like architects who find your own clients and build individual accounts beneath a common company name? Then executive offices are needed.

Employees who are more like independent contractors have a great deal of autonomy and are likely to work well in their own office at home or at a co-working site.

The central office is key to maintaining brand identity and bringing the team together when working in collaboration on projects.

If your office at break-neck speed like in an entertainment production environment or advertising then consider the latest open-plan benching solutions.

If people need to come together often and achieve high-level results in the shortest time possible then the team is going to function closely together.

Aim for the Right Type of Culture

Imagine an infographic as you chart out the relationship between work and culture: the more that work requires a collaborative team producing results, then the more a central office space is needed.

The type of work is only one element in culture.

A leader’s outlook and confidence is a significant factor.

The founder of a family run business who takes a “we’ve always done it this way” approach is going to face a dilemma when outside forces create change.

The CEO who’s confident, gathers staff input, and knows when to foster collaboration or independence has a significant impact on the workplace.

Choose the culture that’s right for your needs:

  • Independence with occasional checking in—good for professionals who work with a large degree of autonomy.
  • Starting separate then finishing together—this is the type of work where one type of talent begins a project, like a writer creating ad copy, and then the team refines the rough results.
  • Close collaboration—this could be a small engineering firm developing robots or other products where continual input is needed from start to finish.


Photo: Trendway Clearwall

Developing Office Landscapes

Going to work for some employees may mean taking the dogs for a walk around the block before settling into a home office. For others, it can mean getting up before daylight to make the drive from the Inland Empire into Orange County.

Either setting is appropriate in today’s diverse office eco-system.

It’s relevant to ensure standards are in place.

Home offices should be kept neat and use desks, chairs and lighting that are ergonomically sound.

Select co-working sites that meet your office requirements.

Layout an office interior with the right equipment and space planning to ensure comfort and safety.

Since employees may rotate in and out, plan for quiet areas or shared workstations that are kept properly sanitized.

Planning Office Layouts Input and Advice

The team at 2010 Office Furniture specializes in office planning and layouts that create efficiencies and assist in making teams more productive. Contact them with your layout questions and needs.

They have nearly 50 years combined experience working with distinguished corporations, leading universities, and small businesses throughout Southern California.

Read Also: Plan Your Office Branding for the Employee Experience
Main Photo: Rouillard Kopa Seating
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: AMQ, Rouillard, Scale 1:1, Stylex & Trendway

Ways to Make the Workplace More Kind and Caring

Ways to Make the Workplace More Kind and Caring

You matter. And so do others who work near you.  That is why it’s important to make the workplace more kind and caring.

Companies that foster a sincere approach to caring in the office will find a lasting payoff through employees looking out for each other’s best interests:

  • talent will stay engaged
  • workers will be more relaxed than tense in a pleasant atmosphere
  • you’ll create a shared experience to look back on fondly

It’s tough to bring genuine altruism into a competitive work environment, but fostering the attitude that “if one succeeds, we all succeed” can lead to healthy collaboration.

Create a best practice that centers on caring.


Photo: AMQHumanscale & The Senator Group

Why Caring and Kindness Matter

Stress is a known presence in any work setting.

Why?

Outside forces are constantly battling and making us feel like we’re swimming upstream against a rushing current: competitors are trying to win market share, technologies change, and new government regulations can impact ways of doing business.

Inside the company, executives who are climbing the ladder may quietly compete for the same position. Mid-level managers who are good at what they do might decide to change companies or careers.

These variables create stresses, uncertainty and can snowball into suspicion among staff.

So how can you combat the negatives? By giving recognition where it’s due and opening the channels of communication.


Photo: OFS Lounge

What Do People Crave When Making Workplace More Kind and Caring?

Working with a purpose is an essential element in our overall well-being. If we know that our work matters to customers, and that we matter to the company, then we see the importance of who we are and what we do.

We like recognition for a job that’s done well.

The simple act of recognizing others and doing small acts of kindness is critical to reassuring and positive office space.

The Tested and Proven Results of Kindness

Nothing’s proven in our day and age until it’s tested, right?

That may be an overstatement but University of California researchers, in conjunction with Madrid University in Spain, studied small acts of kindness on the job. They recruited 88 workers at a Coca-Cola plant in Madrid to participate in a happiness study for a month.

Workers were divided into receivers, givers, and a control group. Givers were told to perform small but noticeable acts of kindnesses towards co-workers in the receivers group. The only qualification? Givers were told to do their good deeds quietly and not brag.

Who got the greatest benefit? The givers. After two months, givers said they were more satisfied with their lives and jobs and reported fewer depressive symptoms.


Photo: National Marcelo

Encourage Caring and Kindness

How do you make the workplace more kind and caring? How do you reach this place of caring and kindness?

Think of attitudes and actions that flow organically and aren’t forced.

Leaders in the organization can make sure they find a reason to thank someone each day. Saying thank you creates a connection and shows that you acknowledge the other person’s efforts.

Some individuals will have a difficult time being verbal if it’s not in their nature so they’ll need to be more deliberate. But be patient and continue the practice.

It’s helpful to know your team and their preferences.

If an employee comes up with an idea that helps solve a problem, then show your appreciation with a cup of coffee from their favorite shop.

If people have been working hard, bring in a fruit tray or something else special to the breakroom.

Leave an upbeat greeting card at someone’s workstation who came in early, stayed late, or was helpful with a customer or other employee.

Business owners and operators need each other. Suggest your team leave a note for the office cleaning crew. Sure, they get paid but they work almost anonymously after hours. Treat your other vendors with kindness, as well. Your positivity can have a lasting impact and they could turn into referral sources.

Since we often separate our personal lives from our professional lives, being kind at work could help someone cope with difficulties at home.

Create a Positive Interior

Another act of kindness is planning and designing an inviting office space. Employees feel valued and so do the clients who walk in.

Space planning, using soothing and inspiring colors, and installing quality furnishings work together to improve the quality of life at work, just like interior design does at home.  This is key in making the workplace more kind and caring.


Photo: National Alloy

Our moods and attitudes are influenced by external forces like colors and light. An office interior doesn’t have to be bright, but it should be well-lit with as much natural lighting as possible. For individual workstations there are specific lighting options which let employees chose the amount of light that’s most comfortable for them.

Equipment that doesn’t work well and needs constant repair has a subtle way of lowering expectations. Conversely, bringing in modular workstations with pleasing colored panels. Add height adjustable desks for extra comfort and versatility.

Choose an office style that reflects the company’s brand and personalities. It could be upbeat contemporary or a modern-industrial look.

Think and act ergonomically. Use screen protectors to control glare from computer monitors. Invest in quality chairsthat support and move with a person’s weight and shape. This reduces stress on the knees, lower back and elbows.

Encourage motion like stretching at desks and making sure the staff gets up on a regular basis to walk and get the blood flowing. This is also a great stress reliever.

Design an inviting entrance and use modular furniture in a lounge area so staff can pull the pieces together and visit or have personal space when needed.

Get Proven Input to Make the Workplace More Kind and Caring

Start the road to a refreshed office with input from 2010 Office Furniture. The team has nearly 50 years of experience in working with Southern California’s most distinguish corporations, non-profit organizations, and successful small businesses.

Contact them with your questions and project requirements.

Read Also: Designing Your Office Space from Top-Down to Bottom-Up
Main Photo: Arcadia Contract
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: AMQArcadia Contract, Humanscale, National, OFS & The Senator Group

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