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

Essentials for the Corporate and Home Office Spaces

Essentials for the Corporate and Home Office Spaces

Employees working remotely are no longer an exception.  In the aftermath of Covid-19, companies have learned to accept employees working from both corporate and home office spaces, as well as other remote places.

The corporate office is still necessary. Goals that fulfill the mission of the company begin in a central location and move outward, like spokes from the center of a bicycle wheel.

The main office, home offices, and third spaces like coffee shops and co-working sites all serve a specific purpose and fulfill a need.

What is essential for a company’s primary office and remote locations to function well?

Start with clear goals.

Office Essentials: The Goal

Companies are in business because they sell products or provide services that customers either need or want. Simple. Nonprofit organizations offer programs to meet community needs.

When the goals are clear, workers know what’s expected of them.

Office environments exist to provide a number of functions that range from designing and producing the products or tracking the services that are provided.

An office supports the work through a layout that promotes an efficient flow of work with equipment ranging from workstations to modems and printers.

A key element in a successful corporate and home office design is that the environment is planned and designed to support the workers so they can readily complete their tasks.

Reaching the Goal: Mission and Vision

Companies with clear missions and a vision on moving forward have a subtle, but clear advantage over competitors. There’s a framework that guides decisions on everything from improving operations to engaging in new marketing opportunities.

Office morale also impacts business. Although it’s intangible, lack of morale is evident in employee listlessness or a resignation to doing a job. An office design can help boost the overall morale by providing a pleasant atmosphere with pleasing colors and comfortable fabrics.

People today seek community, and companies that offer a flexible community where talent is respected will operate with a higher degree of morale and productivity than those who see their employees as commodities.

Office planning and design lays the foundation for bringing workers together.

Supportive Environments

There’s not one specific type of corporate and home office setting that works best. People can adapt to their surroundings, but you’ll do well to draw from your brand and the image you give to customers. Develop a supportive environment based on design.

Design for Corporate and Home Office Spaces

The Office Inspirations page of the 2010 Office Furniture website offers a look at the style that fits different personalities.

Does a minimalist approach reflect your operations? If so, then check the Modern Industrial office. This works especially for companies that operate without much of a hierarchy.


Photo: Senator Group Pailo Workstation


Photo: SitOnIt Sona Chair

This is a look that Google has used in the office it opened in Pittsburgh, keeping a brick wall and elements that pay heritage to the industrial past of the area.

If your office is in or near an urban village setting like Old Town Pasadena or Westwood, then consider the Upbeat Contemporary office.


Photo: Allermuir Famiglia Chair

Colors and the styles of workstations have a psychological impact, even if it’s subtle. This sets the tone.

Think of it this way:

  • How well does your equipment work?
  • Is it newer or older?
  • Do your chairs and workstations adequately flex to your workers’ shapes or do people have to adjust to the equipment?
  • Is there plenty of natural light flowing through the area or is it relatively dark?
  • Is there a soothing and pleasant color scheme throughout or are the walls an older basic color?

A home office can have minimal standards, too. Quality desking, ergonomic chairs and adequate lighting are the basics.

Establish a positive tone in both the corporate and home office to signal your care and concern for the team.

Use Quality, Ergonomic Equipment for Corporate and Home Office Spaces

Sitting at a desk isn’t a passive activity. Gravity normally exerts pressure on the neck and shoulders, but the muscles are further aggravated by leaning forward for long periods of time.

And pay attention to the chairs that your team needs. Sitting at awkward angles constricts circulation in addition to stressing the body.

Ergonomic chairs will support a person’s shape and natural movements to ease joint strains. Additionally, height adjustable desks keep a laptop and monitor at eye level to limit the amount of leaning forward. Remember the importance of good lighting to reduce the risk of eye strain.


Photo: Deskmakers Ascend Height Adjustable Desk

Essential Office Protections

Extend the atmosphere of well-being by installing simple protective screens. These can be partitions between desks and work stations that also offer privacy, like the Loftwell Split Space Divider or the Enwork Freestanding Screen.

Counter shields and desktop shields also offer protection so your team can work in the corporate office with confidence.


Photo: Loftwall Desk Shield and Split, Allermuir Famiglia

Get Expert Advice on Corporate and Home Office Spaces

Let the team at 2010 Office Furniture know about your office planning and furnishing needs. They have more than 50 years of combined experience helping Southern California’s most distinguished companies.

Contact them with a phone call or email.

Read Also: Repurpose Your Office Space for the Post-Covid Work World
Main Photo: Source International Fjord Multi-Use Chair
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Allermuir, Deskmakers, Loftwall, Senator GroupSitOnIt Seating& Source International

Designing Office Spaces for an Engaged Workforce

Designing Office Spaces for an Engaged Workforce

Designing office spaces to engage your employees is critically important. Businesses that have engaged employees have a competitive advantage over companies that struggle to boost morale.

Imagine your office as a hub where your team is comfortable, equipped and energized. Today’s office can be designed for both full-time in-office staff and those choosing remote locations.

Here are a few quick tips:

Toss out what’s drab, plan for a maximum amount of light and use quality furnishings that promote well-being.

Take a fresh look at your space with these office inspiration ideas and tips.


Photo: OFS, National & Stylex

Consider Clarity and Color When Designing Office Spaces

Say no to clutter by using sleek designs and workstations with plenty of work and personal storage spaces.

Create well-defined spaces for team meetings, personal work areas, and inviting break areas and allow plenty of natural light to flow through the space while using colors to freshen the spirit and liven the mind.

Color influences our impression of the surrounding environment. That’s why nature is often so pleasing with vibrant greens, blue skies dotted with white clouds and sunsets painted with pastel colors. Even gray skies can have appeal.

Bring a cohesive sense of color into the office.


Photo: National Mabel Seating

Care

Employee well-being and safety has taken on new dimensions. Look at the changes. In years past, office wellness programs encouraged employees to exercise and get their blood pressure checked. Ergonomics was another part of office wellness, making sure workers were properly supported at their workstations with ergonomic chairs and height adjustable desks.

Then employees were encouraged to physically move at work: get up from their desks at regular intervals and get the blood flowing by walking and stretching.

In 2020, Covid stay-at-home orders brought a whole new focus on health. As companies have returned to the office environment, social distancing became the watchword.

Now it’s important to instill a healthy confidence in employees. Use covid office essentials for the workplace like desk and counter shields, freestanding panels, and space dividers. Use ergonomic chairs and height-adjustable desks to promote good posture and reduce stress

Your employees will know that you’re investing in their physical well-being.

But overall health is more than physical—it’s pleasant surroundings that lift the spirit.


Photo: Scale 1:1 Hot Spot Table

Comfort

A comfortable office environment keeps stress low so people can have the support needed to focus on their work. If your office has a contemporary design, then use colors that blend well together. Blue and yellow create a “vibrant yet welcoming atmosphere” as noted on The Upbeat Contemporary Office.

Give employees a range of motion, meaning, let them work from places that work the best for them. That may be at their assigned workstation for a few hours and then in a common area with comfortable seating.

Comfort goes a long way in making an office a welcoming space to work and sparking imagination.

Creativity

Your business, in principle, is similar to every other business: you exist to solve a problem for your customers, help them meet their goals, or achieve a special dream and milestone in their lives.

Remember when designing office spaces though, that how you go about your operations can differ considerably from your competitors. The way your team creates solutions requires creativity and innovation. Plan and design the office to support the creative problem-solving skills that your team brings to the marketplace.

Today’s furnishings allow you to take what was once mundane, like cubicles, and make them a welcome tool.

Enjoy making each office space come alive with its defined purpose.


Photo: Stylex Yoom Lounge Sofa

Collaboration

An office space that’s filled with positive energy enhances collaboration.

You know the setting well. People filter in for team meetings, have a dialogue, share ideas constructively, listen politely and arrive at a consensus where they take action together. Then they return to their remote locations.

Okay, slam the brakes on the fantasy.

The reality is that collaborating can be a necessary but messy business.

Just because you’re working together doesn’t mean that all parties agree with the direction that the ideas are flowing. Bringing different perspectives together can lead to disagreement because that’s a natural part of arriving at solutions.

Healthy teams learn how to work through those disagreements while respecting each other’s input.

Your office setting should support collaboration and the need to talk through tough issues.

Make sure to define areas when designing office spaces, such as where gatherings take place and make the atmosphere conducive to a discussion that flows. You can have different defined meeting spaces even if the office isn’t large and sprawling.  Use the latest in architectural walls for meeting spaces where heavy discussion is needed, and have a separate space that’s more of a lounge vibe for a less stressful atmosphere.

Use quality ergonomic chairs to support each person’s movements. Provide tables that are sleek, yet offer places for taking notes and setting up laptops without getting in the way.

Getting Started in Designing Office Spaces

Leadership sets the tone for a positive culture and the tone of communication that happens between departments and individuals. Planning your office well is part of the culture that you establish.

The team at 2010 Office Furniture is ready to guide you in making and implementing a plan.

Read Also: Ways to Make the Workplace More Kind and Caring
Main Photo: Stylex
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: OFS, National, Scale 1:1 & Stylex

Designing Your Office Space from Top-Down to Bottom-Up

Designing Your Office Space from Top-Down to Bottom-Up

If you’re looking to create a new office design when designing your office space, an effective way to begin the process is to consider how different layouts will benefit the workflow. The goal is to help your company function efficiently. After all, work needs to get done.

Now consider the human element and how your team can work at its best.

An office isn’t just about placing workstations and then fitting your people into slots. Social and psychological dynamics matter as well.

Designing Your Office Space from Top-Down to Bottom-Up
Photo: Allermuir, Arcadia Contract & OFS

Chart Your Basic Workflow Needs

Analyze the different functions in your business, ranging from your core function—the reason your business exists—to the support functions like sales and marketing, finance, and customer care. The principles of laying out an office are timeless. A write-up from 1995 in MIT’s Sloan Management Review noted that “technological innovation and creative space design together make solutions possible.”

Here are the “tactical initiatives” highlighted in the article that benefit an organization:

  • Ergonomic planning
  • Defining group and personal workspaces
  • Offering shared workspace
  • Accommodating remote workers

This is the top-down approach that relies on higher authority figures who see the wider goals and filter decisions down to the tasks of lower-level employees. In contrast, the bottom-up style gathers staff input and gives everyone a voice.

Ergonomics works well based on employee input since the concept is to fit the workplace to the needs of people and how they function. Their suited to say what’s comfortable and what works or doesn’t work.

That’s what co-working spaces have done. They’d set up shop, sign up freelancers and remote workers who wanted to use the facilities, and took feedback on what the users liked or didn’t like. Then they’d make adjustments as necessary.

A “bottom-up” approach when designing your office space can fine-tune plans to arrive at a satisfying solution.

Create an Invitation—Not a Maze—When Designing Your Office Space

When you design or freshen your office space, imagine that you’re working with your team to make a space that’s inviting. You’re not creating a maze of modular workstations, so let your employees know that you’d like their thoughts on what makes an office welcoming.

Some may not have much of an opinion while others may want to share what works for them and what can be changed. If they’re recent hires then they may have positive or negative opinions about their previous office environment.


Photo: OFS Height Adjustable Workstations 

Take the approach used in the book Life of Work, What Office Design can Learn from the World Around Us. The authors, Jeremy Myerson and Imogen Privett, undertook a major research project and concluded that while “most contemporary offices satisfies physical and functional requirements, it seldom supports the psychological comfort and individual needs of the people who use them every working day.”

Get ideas for how people relate to design by doing what the authors did: looking at diverse spaces like theater layouts, newsrooms and medical offices.

Take a look around and adapt what works for your people within the physical space available.

Select from Different Office Styles

2010 Office Furniture’s Inspiration page reveals several different layouts and their aesthetics. Each layout makes a statement and can easily be tailored to reflect your company’s brand and enhance the office atmosphere.  It’s a great resource for inspiration when designing your office space.

A modern, abstract office uses bold colors and fascinating shapes. Modular lounge furniture can work well.


Photo: The Senator Group Mote Lounge

Contemporary industrial style offices pay homage to a city’s past while bringing comfort and functionality into present times. Google’s office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania brings in original brickwork into a space that’s “unconventional and inspiring.”

Use your surrounding city to spark features. A space in Irvine may be sleek and modern while an office in Ontario or the San Dimas area can harken back to local history.

How about an upbeat, contemporary look? You may have a traditional accounting firm but why not add splashes of color? Should pediatric dental offices have all the design fun?

In an open office plan, use different styles of workstations and colors to differentiate teams with their distinct responsibilities.

For private executive offices, choose between elegant designs or more casual ones, with both options being able to integrate technology in the desks and cabinets.


Photo: AMQ Work-From-Home Workstation

Health and wellness is a major consideration in this age of Covid-19 precautions so consider accessories and layouts for a social distancing workplace.

Don’t forget the breakroom. Create a small gathering place with chairs and tables that are easily moved or create a lounge near a kitchen space. Offices aren’t just about desks and cubicles so invest in plenty of healthy snacks and drinks that people enjoy.

Consider the Types of Work

Different functions are needed to make a company hum along the road to profitability. People with unique skill sets can have different personalities. It’s not your task to please everyone with a layout, but you can take into account the various needs that people have when designing your office space.

A graphic designer, computer programmer or engineer will need hours of quiet to focus while a marketing and sales team is going to be more collaborative and creative.

Make the office a positive social environment and don’t hesitate to experiment with new trends and refresh a look every few years.

Know your goals. Do you project growth in the near future using staff who are on-site or through remote workers? You can be nimble to provide for current needs and still plan for what can happen in the years to come.

Need Help Designing Your Office Space?

You don’t need to go it alone in office design. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has nearly 50 years of combined experience helping leading companies and nonprofits in Southern California lay out office spaces and provide furnishings that promote employee well-being.

Contact them with your project needs and questions as you undertake designing your office space.

Read Also: The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs
Main Photo: Groupe Lacasse
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Allermuir, AMQ, Arcadia Contract, Groupe Lacasse, OFS & The Senator Group

Plan Your Office Branding for the Employee Experience

Plan Your Office Branding for the Employee Experience

Corporate branding usually focuses on the customer, or user, experience (UX). But what about the employee experience? Planning and furnishing your office spaces properly can lead to engaged employees who are champions of your brand.

Planning the Current Work Environment


Photo: Friant Novo Workstations

Remember when the open office came under criticism for its distracting noise and lack of personal space? Office managers purchased quality benching solutions, but then critics noted that employees needed personal space. Privacy screens were made part of the design, like with the ODS Artiv Open Plan Benching.

Modular cubicles became another way to create personal workspaces within the open office.


Photo: Friant Interra Cubicles

Then Covid-19 hit and completely upended the open office. Companies immediately adjusted to accommodating remote workers, a term once given to graphic artists and other freelancers. Now, finance departments, marketing and a host of others were in their homes or parks logged on to Zoom meetings instead of having in-person huddles.

The debate between fixed walls and the advantages of an open office were no longer important.

But offices in Southern California are re-opening as the rates of infection have dropped. Counties are in different phases of opening so how will your current work environment change?


Photo: HON Abound Cubicles

Which employees will work in the office full-time, and who’s splitting their office presence with remote work?

Traditionally, emphasis was placed on the need for individual work areas and one or more meeting spaces, but now areas designated for group meetings or huddles may outweigh the importance of space for full-time individual work areas, even in a time of social distancing.


Photo: HON Chicago Showroom

Why does the topic deserve attention?

Plan your office space as a strategic part when you plan your office branding. Make a commitment and investment for your employees. As you do, they’ll believe more firmly than ever in your brand and your mission. As they feel more comfortable in the work environment and know what’s allowed, the messages about your brand’s promise will flow organically to your customers.

Merging Top-Down, Bottom-Up Strategies

Listening and gathering feedback from employees is essential, but, let’s face it, at the end of the day, leaders are held accountable for the decisions they have to make.

Planning an office space and creating employee engagement means gathering the individual perspectives from people who have different learning styles and shaping them into a cohesive whole. A final outcome won’t always make everybody happy. But rather than overriding their opinions, respect each person’s voice and you’ll create goodwill.


Photo: Loftwall Desk Shield

Getting input from the experience of employees is similar to listening to your customers and what they experience. It’s an inside-outside approach to creating a strong brand.

Make the Office a Community Destination

Work has to get done. We know that. Marketing, sales, production, and customer care all aim toward one goal—satisfied customers who are ready to buy again and talk positively about the corporate brand.

As you scan the office setting, consider the work area as a community destination and not just a functional location where people must come in to get work done. Companies who have experienced Covid-19 know the need for offering employees flexibility.


Photo: Friant Shield Screens

A reason that a main office and its physical space will remain is because people need a rallying point in their work, or a community destination spot. That’s how you can re-think your office space. So even if you have employees who split their time between the office and a remote location like home, having a comfortable space to come to can work well.

As you plan your office, keep the following key areas in mind:

  • Workstations
  • Meeting areas, like a dedicated client space
  • Personal space
  • Break areas

Use the necessary shields and protective equipment so your team feels safe.

Photo: Loftwall Desk Shield

Do you envision fewer daily workstations and a greater use of meeting areas?

Personal office space in the traditional office setting and at remote settings can get cluttered and uncomfortable. Your office can be a place for the team to come meet, or stop in to do work and get away from the distractions of home.

This type of set up is normal for professionals like real estate agents who are out meeting people and only stop into the office to do paperwork.

Tips for creating a community gathering spot include:

  • Having the essential tools that employees need
  • Attractive lighting with as much natural light as possible
  • A contemporary look and comfort that they can’t provide on their own like quality ergonomic chairs and workstations

Employee Experience as You Plan Your Office Branding from the Inside Out

A welcoming office promotes employee engagement.

Employees who believe in the brand are a catalyst to a better customer experience. When your brand means a lot on the inside, then it’s more likely to get noticed on the outside.

Read Also: The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs
Main Photo: HON
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: FriantHON and Loftwall 

Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Every important trend has a human element that we ignore or don’t consider. This can happen when designing and planning an office for maximum productivity. It’s important to remember that the end result has to support the people who work there.

Sounds obvious, right?


Photo: Global eO+ Panels

But we often put things before people. Look at it this way.

In the past, what did web designers do to rank a website high? They worked to get the attention of the search engines while ignoring the needs of the people who read the site. Keywords were stuffed into articles even if that hurt the readability and cheapened the user’s experience.

But now, pleasing the human reader is the most important variable in ranking a site.

The same can be said for the office as noted in this post, The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs. We have all this great technology, but do we use it to support the employees as well as we possibly can? A well-designed office weighs the needs of the people.


Photo: OFS Obeya Archtectural Structures

Know Your Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of fitting a working environment to people, instead of making people fit the environment. Providing height-adjustable desks, proper office lighting, ergonomic chairs and accessories are part of creating a workplace that allows workers to move at their best.

Photo: 9to5 Seating @nce Chair

Design with a focus on ergonomics and you’ll make great strides toward having an office where people are supported as they focus on their tasks.

Achieve that by laying out a floorplan and then deciding what furnishings are necessary.


Photo: Cherryman Amber Collection

Get Input

Ask your employees what matters to them. How do they work best and what would they like to see in a work area? Create a scale like the one in the article 7 Factors of Great Office Design in the Harvard Business Review.

Ask your team how strongly they prefer permanent walls compared to open spaces, or if they like spaces that “promote conversation and lingering.”

Define Spaces

Make areas well defined. That may seem easy to do, but if space is at a premium, then it’s not easy to separate workspaces with lounge areas or the breakroom.


Photo: Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating

Make areas for workstations clear with enough storage to reduce clutter. Keep break areas clean and make sure personal areas in an open office setting are quiet.

If your space has room for a rec area, then bring in foosball tables or ping pong tables that easily fold and can easily be moved when extra space is needed.

Plan Easy Navigation

A supportive office is easy to navigate for people whose sight is impaired and face challenges moving around. Have workstations in clearly designated areas with clear pathways that lead to personal quiet areas and breakrooms.


Photo: Friant Dash Revitalize 

Use indoor plants to create boundaries between defined areas. The plants help to deflect sound waves, freshen the air and add a touch of color.


Photo: Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating 

Light Up

Natural light is welcomed in the office. Enlarge windows as much as possible and use skylights or solar tubes to bring in as much of the sun as you can.

Photo: Global Bridges Benching Series

Light is a natural morale booster. It helps employees get into a rhythm of sleeping well at night and staying as alert as possible during the day. Use desk lamps at workstations and computer areas so workers don’t have to strain their eyes to see.

Make sure stairwells and other darkened areas are well lit to reduce the chance of accidents.


Photo: Koncept Gravy Lighting

When laying out a plan and designing an office to support your employees, evaluate your ideas by asking, “How will these conditions benefit the people working here?”

Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Get expert input on your space planning needs. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has nearly 50 years of experience in helping Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and other nonprofit organizations.

Read Also: Plan Your Office Branding for the Employee Experience
Main Photo: OFS Heya
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: 9to5 Seating, Cherryman, Friant, Global, Koncept, Nevins and OFS

Repurpose Your Office Space for the Post-Covid Work World

Repurpose Your Office Space for the Post-Covid Work World

(IMPORTANT NOTICE: The recommendations on this article about Covid-19 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.)

The stay-at-home orders forced employees into flexible and remote working arrangements. Now’s the time to implement the best office strategies to maximize workflow and personnel needs.

A Great Time to Repurpose Your Office Space

The office is often seen as a place where you had to show up if you had a job, but the Covid-19 stay-at-home order changed that perception. Companies were forced into repurposing office space when their teams had to work remotely.


Photo: Adesso Executive Height Adjustable Desk

Employees in Southern California are returning once again to their previous work environments, as you can tell by the freeways that are getting more crowded.

But don’t just put everyone back in the same workstation. Instead, pause and review:

  • What worked during the pandemic’s stay at home orders in Los Angeles, Orange, or nearby counties
  • What could have worked more effectively
  • How will you be able to repurpose the existing office and make it serve more effectively than ever?

Put those hard-earned lessons to the test.

Let’s start with the purpose of an office.

Why We Need an Office

Traditionally, the office was the place where nearly all employees come to the workplace because that’s where communication and decisions happened. Teams met there, managers relayed goals to others beneath them, and directives were given and followed up on. You had to go to the office, unless you were in outside sales and seeing customers in a place like El Segundo one day and Irvine the next.


Photo: Friant Novo Panel System

Telecommuting isn’t new, and while it was tossed about as an option most employees kept going to the physical office. Now, during Covid-19, we discovered the routine of working remotely.

Let’s be realistic. Office spaces are opening up again and it’s important to have a central location or off-site locations that act as office hubs. Not everyone is going to work at home indefinitely or in some type of isolated environment.

Why?

As noted in the Harvard Study of Adult Development, people want social interactions. Healthy relationships reduce stress, and we feed off the energy of those in our department or colleagues from down the hall.

If we only work at home by ourselves then we’ll miss the funny comments from the office comic or the greetings when we walk by the receptionist desk to our cubicle. We take those little things for granted, but they’re important office morale boosters.


Photo: Cherryman Verde Reception

At its best, an office provides the tools and space to collaborate and solve problems or serve customers. Some workspaces work well in sequence under the same roof. A clothing company or manufacturing facility in Gardena or Ontario can have designers working on computer assisted design (CAD) and seamlessly send their work into production.

If a problem arises, then it’s easy for someone in production to halt the machines and huddle with the designers.

The role of an office is supporting people so they can excel in their tasks and work together to create a successful company.

But as we’ve seen in 2020, not all employees need to be in the same physical setting full-time. Sometimes, the office works well as a space to rally around where you can set and clarify goals before employees head to their home offices or other remote workspaces.

Two Types of Workspaces

We’re seeing two main types of work environments emerge: centralized workspaces and decentralized workspaces.

We’ve relaxed the hierarchy that was once the standard in our country’s industrial era, like at the old Goodyear plant that employed thousands in Van Nuys or the aerospace facilities near the South Bay.

Employees in most industries can now produce work from their homes.

What does that mean for space utilization?

Consider this. A highly centralized company that had either fixed walls or an open office plan had to make sudden changes during the height of the pandemic.
Photo: AMQ Kinex Height Adjustable Tables

Suddenly, you had to connect with your team remotely.

As restrictions are relaxed, you could insist that everyone come back in and take their assigned places. Or, you can evaluate what office strategies worked and how you can now harness the advantages of a decentralized or flexible work environment.

Here are three important takeaways:

  • Keep corporate goals as clear as possible
  • Communication is more strategic than ever
  • Trust is critical in a flexible office environment

The goals from upper management remain a guiding force. They always have been, but when you’re in the same place all the time, casual conversations and questions reinforce those goals.

In a flexible or decentralized workspace, find ways to help your team internalize those goals so they remember them.

You have to trust that your team that is going to get their work done, even if they’re not physically present. This gives the opportunity for them to be engaged and take ownership.

How to Use Your Office Spaces

A manager in a centralized office that either had fixed walls or an open office floor plan may feel that the amount of space is wasted unless it’s filled with people.

If that’s the case, consider all these uses of space in a flexible or decentralized office environment:

  • Additional room for client huddles
  • More space and freedom for collaboration
  • Areas where you can create on-site social media posts
  • Places to sit and have smaller team meetings two or three times a week
  • More room to train new hires and let them gain experience

Keep in mind that the open office plan came under fire for invading privacy. Employees were known for tuning out their colleagues by wearing earbuds or headphones and thus eliminating the hoped-for collaboration.


Photo: Trendway Conference Area

Finally, with flexible office spaces you may have workers coming into the office as a break from their home offices and the distractions they encounter there.

Make use of modular office furniture solutions or architectural walls for break areas and workstations to help repurpose your office space.

Plan and Repurpose Your Office Future with Experts

A company doesn’t just form and happen by accident and neither does a productive office. Supporting your employees with the tools they need requires design and planning.

The team at 2010 Office Furniture provides layout design and services in addition to supplying you with quality furnishings that can help repurpose your office space. Lay out your office design and plan based on your corporate goals and then get the desks, ergonomic chairs and accessories needed to maximize well-being and productivity.

Your office is not a static environment.  It’s dynamic and requires that you manage spaces so that they support your team as effectively as possible.

Read Also: How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19
Main Photo by: Trendway
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: AMQ, Cherryman, Friant, Krug and Trendway

(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.)

How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19

How to Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans From Covid-19

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article on how to help protect workers 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.)

Open offices are facing changes as companies work to maintain a healthy workforce and answer today’s most critical question: How to protect workers from the risks of Covid-19.

Don’t expect drywall to suddenly appear and start separating workers. Risk mitigation plans can include modular furniture solutions to maintain an open office atmosphere while helping to protecting

How Open Offices Became Popular


Photo: National Epic

As Silicon Valley started booming in the early 2000s, start-up tech companies needed talent to work closely in collaboration with each other. Office spaces without walls provided a non-traditional communication flow that worked well.

The rest is facility history as companies in all industries found that open offices were budget friendly and flexible. It was easy to add workstations when hiring more workers or change floor plans to accommodate fewer workers. Permanent walls were a mess and costly to re-configure.

Why Open Offices were Criticized

Privacy became something of the past and the hoped-for collaboration took a hit as employees wore earbuds and noise cancelling headphones to block out the conversations and phone calls of co-workers.

Instead of providing a place to focus, critics said the open office was filled with distractions.

Open Offices Needed Private Spaces


Photo: Senator Group Chemistry

That shift created the need for personal break areas and one-on-one or small group meeting spaces. Office furniture reflected that demand with innovative meeting pods and the design of flexible workstations.

Open Offices Risked Germs Spreading Before Coronavirus

An office space is a breeding ground for bacteria and germs passed from one person to another. Moist droplets travel whether they’re in the restroom, the breakroom or on the main office floor. In 2011, a Danish study found that open office workers had a significantly higher incidence of sick days than those working in “cellular” or individual offices. The findings were published by the National Library of Medicine.

But there’s no need to cancel the open office floor plan. Help protect employee health using modular furniture and accessories.

How Open Offices are Using Modular Solutions for Protection


Photo: Friant Shield Panels

Open offices faced criticism, but just think of all the open spaces people normally gathered in like neighborhood pubs and restaurants, sporting events, concerts and parks. Innovative solutions are already available.

An array of protective office shields and dividers are available through 2010 Office Furniture:

The different styles of dividers allow you to help protect workers without making them feel isolated or cut off from other co-workers. You can help reduce the risk of spreading viruses but maintain an atmosphere of collaboration.

Space Planning for the Office in the Post-Pandemic Era


Photo: Friant Novo & Dash

Adjust floor layouts to create physical distancing. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) takes a comprehensive approach to planning offices for employee health and well-being. In its online coronavirus resource center, the IFMA recommends thorough space planning.

Adjust workstations to give employees the recommended six-feet of physical separation or purchase new, flexible workstations.

Know how many office visitors to allow in at one time and eliminate items in high-touch areas like light switches. Update traditional doors that have handles with automatic doors. Provide plenty of anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer. Encourage workers to wear masks when necessary.


Photo: DeskMakers ReFit

The team at 2010 Office Furniture has decades of expertise helping established corporations and small-to-large sized businesses plan their space to adjust to changes in the marketplace and respond to the question of how to help protect workers in our current pandemic.

Use this time to re-imagine how your office is laid out. Check the 2010 Office Furniture office inspiration center for designs ideas to help create privacy and focus.

More Tips for a Healthy Workplace


Photo: Loftwall Split Space Divider

Remember other key office wellness tips like encouraging your team to take breaks and go for walks outside to keep the blood flowing. Stay hydrated throughout the day and maximize the use of office plants to bring nature indoors and keep the air fresh.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends that businesses give employees flexibility to:

  • Work from home if not feeling well
  • Care for ill family members
  • Return to work without a health provider’s note if the employee has a respiratory illness

Helping to reduce the risks of spreading the coronavirus doesn’t have to halt your office operations. Make the needed changes and get your employees to join in and take ownership for their health and the well-being of those around them.


Photo: OFS Staks Workstations

Making adjustments shows that you care about your team and that you want the best for them.

The organizational consulting firm McKinsey concludes that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach for offices on how to protect workers against the spread of coronavirus. How offices will look “will be based on what talent is needed, which roles are most important, how much collaboration is necessary for excellence, and where offices are located today, among other factors.”

Get the input you need on planning, ergonomics and desking solutions. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has more than 45 years of experience working with large corporations, non-profits and small businesses throughout Southern California.

Contact them with your project needs and questions.

For Your Reference

Here are links to public health agencies in Southern California:

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Orange County Department of Public Health

San Bernardino Department of Public Health

Riverside County Department of Public Health

Read Also: Social Distancing Tips and Adjusting to the Realities of Covid-19 in the Office
Main Photo: Friant Interra
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Friant, National, Senator Group, Loftwall, OFS, DeskMakers

(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.)

Arranging Workstations for Social Distancing in the Office

Arranging Workstations for Social Distancing in the Office

(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.)

Stay-at-home orders have lifted and social distancing, or physical distancing, is now a reality in the office.

You can return to the workplace with confidence if you plan your space well to help maximize health and productivity. Adjusting to current recommendations requires arranging workstations so employees can stay at least six feet apart.

That seems to be the accepted distance for limiting transmission when “an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. The best way to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus is limiting face to face contact and maintaining a physical distance.

Arrange your office and form protective barriers based on the number of users around a desk or workstation.

Take note that in addition to physically arranging desks, special attention is given to details like using antimicrobial fabrics.

Read on for expert recommendations and refer to 2010 Office Furniture’s Inspiration Lookbook for creative and effective ideas to help with social distancing at the office.

Social Distancing for the Individual


Photo: Loftwall Split Space Divider

You’re the one in control at your desk whether you’re the receptionist or the CEO. It’s you and you alone—except when visitors step in or you have a meeting in your office. In that case, dividers may be the best helpers to reinforce proper distancing protocols.

Transparent dividers like the Loftwell Counter Shield let visitors see your winning smile when they enter the lobby. The shield is available in different sizes and can be used as a solitary panel or linked with others.

What about mid-level managers and executives?

The Loftwell Desk Shield accommodates the individual who has a private or semi-private office. You can welcome co-workers more safely to go over reports or have a chat. This shield is manufactured to allow for plenty of personal space. For those who are pressed for time, the unit quickly assembles in just about five minutes.

For programming or data entry workers who have a desk to themselves, look at the Loftwell Shelter Panel or Split Space Divider. These panels sit about one inch off the work surface to allow plenty of space for managing charging cables and electrical cords.

Social Distancing for Workstations and Dividers for Two


Photo: Loftwall Hitch Space Divider

If you have two desks that aren’t attached but are in close vicinity of one another, consider implementing use of the Loftwall Hitch Space Divider. Workstations facing each other can be separated at an appropriate distance to create the necessary six feet of separation between employees.

Use track mounted screens to help reduce the likelihood of transmitting unwanted bacteria.

Social Distancing for Workstation Clusters


Photo: Enwork Harbor Screen

If you have a space of four to six workers, it’s easy to partition the space using freestanding panels. If the workstations are attached, then use transparent or semi-transparent dividers between employees.

This helps create a sense of privacy and security to put workers at ease.

What if you need a budget-conscious solution?

There’s a durable product called Enwork Harbor Screen, a double-wall corrugated cardboard with structurally enhanced skin finish. The wall and roof material of the Enwork Harbor contains particulate that supposedly help repel infectious disease, decaying them in as little as 24 hours. The outer material may be easily cleaned with light disinfectants to sanitize them in minutes.

Other changes you’ll notice when returning to work may mean eliminating some practices such as employees sharing the same desk.

But there’s an upside to getting back to the office that boosts our overall wellness.

People need community and were deprived of such during quarantine. Feelings of isolation became common in April and May. It was widely agreed that the situation undermined morale and had a negative impact on workers.

And while it’s not work-life as we once accepted it, companies have to remain flexible to achieve goals while giving workers the protection they need.

Social Distancing for Power Meeting Realities

Photo: Enwork Skyline Screen 

You’re not going to rally people into a crowded conference room like you once did. Instead, get weekly department meetings going again with screens that help protect you individually and as a small group.

If you need to establish a conference area, use architectural walls to define an appropriate meeting space by enclosing a specific area.

Plan Your Space for Social Distancing Needs

Photo: Loftwall Counter Shield

The team at 2010 Office Furniture can give expert input on planning your office and determining what you need in order to help keep yourself and employees stay well, and create the most productive work setting possible.

The 2010 Office Furniture Inspiration Lookbook shows how you can place mobile screens, work stations, and chairs to help with wellness and productivity.

Describe your project here to get the advice you need.

Read Also: Social Distancing Tips and Adjusting to the Realities of Covid-19 in the Office
Main Photo by: Groupe Lacasse
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Groupe Lacasse, Loftwall & Enwork

(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