Modern Office Evolution: Office Furniture Through the Years

Today

Modern office evolution shows us drastically how different our office today look from our office not even two decades ago. Office designers of this decade like to focus on boosting employee engagement by prioritizing their well-being. The office of today isn’t just one building where everyone works in isolating cubicles; they are made up of huddle rooms, break rooms and touchdown spaces specifically tailored to the employees need, whether it be collaboration and socializing or a quiet space to focus. In addition to the evolution of traditional environments, new trends are being brought into the workplace to increase employee satisfaction, such as the resimercial, biophilic, and Scandinavian office trends. Furthermore, in the face of the pandemic, no longer do we adhere to the traditional office setups. Modern home office design has even garnered a lot of attention lately as many continue to work from home or adopt hybrid schedules.  We’ve introduced flexibility to the workforce due to our current circumstances and advanced technology and learned that some corporations are thriving in remote and hybrid work.

Modern Office Evolution: Office Furniture Through the Years
Photo: The Modern Office 

From the way we design our spaces to the way we work, there has been a huge overhaul for the better when looking at the evolution of office design. But how did we get here? Let’s explore the story and dig a little deeper into the modern office evolution.

A Brief History Of The Modern Office

The 1800s

The concept of the office has existed since Roman times, but the first modern office—with the term “modern” used loosely—appeared in the 1800s in Britain. Why Britain? At this time Britain’s East India Trading Company had just begun to expand their trade and influence in other countries and thus needed their own headquarters. Sir Charles Trevelyan, a secretary that worked at the company at the time, described the offices as “separate rooms [that] are necessary so that a person who works with his head may not be interrupted…” while those with lower jobs in mechanical work “[work] in concert of a number of clerks in the same room under proper superintendence…”


Photo: Traditional Office Building

Sound familiar?

The 1900s

What are the factors in the evolution of workplace design?  Fast forward to the 1900s and suddenly there is a plethora of office designs being made. With an increasing workforce, Frank Lloyd Wright presents the first open-plan office building for SC Johnson Wax. The first open-plan office layout featured wide amounts of open space populated by desks laid out in a grid-like fashion and no walls. Wright created this working environment where there are no divided, smaller offices because he wanted to inspire communication between employees. He wanted to create a more familial office culture that increased collaboration and creativity.

Modern Office Evolution: Office Furniture Through the Years
Photo: The Open-Plan Office

When something new trends, it’s usually because it is a reaction to the current fashion. The same holds true for Taylorism. Named after Frank Taylor, Taylorism applied science to office design. Taylorism didn’t concern itself with collaboration and communication between employees the same way Wright did. While there were similarities in their designs with workers sitting side-by-side in rows of long desks, productivity ultimately ruled over everything. Workers were grouped in the middle of the office while managers ringed the interior to keep an eye on them. Humans have held a long obsession with productivity and we see it most prominently in work culture. Taylorism epitomized it, but in doing so left out crucial human and social elements that resulted in unhappy employees and dehumanizing working environments.


Photo: Rows of Chairs Signifying The Taylorism Office

In the mid to late twentieth century, the currents of change shifted again. Shortly after Taylorism had taken root, a German design approach named Burolandschaft gained traction as a popular design for workplaces because it aimed to democratize the workplace and encourage interaction among colleagues. In response to the open plan office, Robert Propst created what he dubbed the “Action Office” because, in his words, “Today’s office is a wasteland. It saps vitality, blocks talent, frustrates accomplishment. It is the daily scene of unfulfilled intentions and failed effort.”

And thus entered the era of cubicles.

The cubicles the Action Offices featured were meant to offer an alternate work environment that gave a degree of privacy while not restricting movement. Propst designed them to have a huge desk space that allowed for making phone calls, a vertical filing system, and partitions for privacy. What’s more, the desks were meant to be height adjustable—allowing people to stand while they work to help with blood flow. It was a progressive plan that could have advanced the office to new heights.


Photo: The Ideal Cubicle

So how did it become the cubicles we loathed?

Simply put, it flopped. The Action Office that Propst had in mind was too expensive and too high concept to fit the market. Instead, Herman Miller, the company Propst worked under, released a scaled down version with an enclosed modular desk system and none of features that favored employee satisfaction. Businesses found it easier and cheaper to cram people into small spaces that were called “cubicle farms” for their dehumanizing features.

Modern Office Evolution: Office Furniture Through the Years
Photo: Standard Cubicles

Back to the Present

Cubicles are still a part of the office—but they’ve been overhauled and modernized to fit current needs. With companies now prioritizing worker morale, there’s a plethora of new spaces being designed and expanded. The office doesn’t have to be the only workplace anymore, but if you ever want to return to traditional elements, reworked cubicles offer a variety of options that take into consideration privacy and community without compromising one or the other.

We’ve come a long way with office design. Throughout the decades, architects and designers have tried to tackle productivity through various methods and it reflects in the trends of its time. But with the current focus on employee happiness in the modern office evolution, we can look forward to fewer cloistered designs and more flexible office plans.

Evolving with Modern Office Evolution

Explore the latest office furniture ideas for planning your modern office at 2010 Office Furniture. Our team has nearly 50 years of combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and small business from Los Angeles and Orange Counties to the Inland Empire.

Contact us and let us know about your potential project needs.  We can help you create the modern office that fits perfectly for you and your employees.

Read Also: Office Furniture Trends 2022

Office Furniture Trends 2022: What’s New in Commercial Office Furniture

Stylex Seating

Over the last decade we’ve seen tremendous changes in our offices and how we work — especially within the last couple of years. Office furniture trends of 2022 are no doubt a reflection of these important changes.  As we recover from a world pandemic, our schedules are less structured, our interactions more organic and our technology more advanced. Innovations in office furniture have allowed us to complete our tasks much faster and be more mobile at work.

From the way we complete our daily tasks to how we meet and share ideas – our offices are changing in remarkable and exciting ways.  As we review 2022’s office furniture trends, let’s ask ourselves, “How did we get to here today? And what do we have to look forward to?”

Workstations

Workstations Then
Photo: The Open Office Plan Setup

THEN: Open-plan benching systems have been the go-to workstations ever since their revival in the early 2010s. Designer Frederick Taylor pioneered the idea of the open office back in the early 1900s, claiming it was the secret to productivity. And over the last decade or so, they’ve regained much popularity especially among health-conscious millennials who found cubicles to be somewhat oppressive and confining.  Open-plan benching systems, on the other hand, promoted open communication and collaboration, and kept productivity in mind while fostering team camaraderie and employee wellbeing.  They also helped ease high costs of construction, utilities and office equipment, because they’re typically modular and can be set up and reconfigured much more easily in huge open spaces without having to partition areas by building walls.  The open-plan set-up is not without its drawbacks, however.  They can be noisy and have been criticized for imposing too much distraction to workers, making it difficult for focused individual work.

NOW: To remedy the shortcomings of open-plan benching systems, semi-private workstations are now taking center stage as the optimized solution for the open office.  Providing just enough barriers and partitions, they are not as severely closed-off as traditional cubicles.  They work better to offer needed quiet and privacy while still open enough to facilitate collaboration, interaction and exchange of ideas.  Moreover, to avoid costs of having to implement entirely new workstations, many offices are now retrofitting their existing open-plan benching systems to be more semi-private, by attaching raised panels or adding storage bins and cabinets, as well as glass or plexiglass dividers.  With improved separation between workers, this promoted better social distancing and sanitation practices in the workplace, especially during the post-COVID era.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Workstation NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Groupe Lacasse Paradigm Workstations & Senator Workpod

Private Offices

Private Offices ThenPhoto: Traditional Private Office

THEN: Private offices have thrived since the Taylorist 1900s era, and continue to be popular even today. Executives and managers especially benefit from private offices, which provide the needed privacy for focused work over extended hours and allowed them to meet with clients privately.  Often furnished with a complete office furniture suite, the private office generally consists of a large personal desk, a return for additional work surface real-estate, chairs for guests, and credenza and hutch with shelves and cabinets for storage.  This private room setup offers maximum privacy for confidential meetings and concentrated work, and most of the time includes windows overlooking employees to supervise them as they work. It’s the ideal setup for 9-to-5/five days a week schedules for many professionals.

NOW: While private offices are here to stay, office furniture trends in 2022 are seeing a rise of touch-down spaces. Touch-down spaces are smaller, more casual private or semi-private spaces for on-the-go professionals and executives to work. Today’s much more dynamic lifestyles and technology have allowed and granted more flexibility in our work culture.  We can now complete most of our tasks anywhere on a laptop and be able to meet with clients in more comfortable informal settings.  These less structured setups best accommodate the hybrid work-from-home/work-at-the-office schedules that have emerged from the COVID era.  Professionals are able to come to work, interact with colleagues and coworkers, have a designated space for focused work, but are still mobile to be able to pick up their work and relocate.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Private Offices NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Trendway Volo Walls create individual workspaces; Global Priva Acoustic Pods & Hat Collective M-Series Wall Mount Worksurfaces

Meeting Spaces

Meeting Spaces ThenPhoto: Traditional Conference Room

THEN: Meetings are as old as time, and they have always had one thing in common: one location. Starting from the 1900s, office furniture has stayed generally the same in terms of the meeting room. These spaces, most commonly referred to as conference rooms, are typically private and spacious areas with a large and stately table in the center to seat a group of people for power meetings, presentations and exchange of ideas. Traditional conference rooms are designed to impress and slightly intimidate; they’re the place where executives would meet, negotiate important decisions and strike million-dollar deals.

NOW: The past several years have seen a sort of democratization of the workplace. The open office has especially paved the way toward a more inclusive work culture where employees have free rein to roam about, and have access to all areas of the workplace.  There’s less need for huge, traditional meeting rooms that feel too formal. More professionals are gravitating to smaller meeting areas, sometimes referred to as huddle rooms, which are designed to be leaner, meaner, more efficient to use and accessible to everyone. The past couple of years of COVID especially have pushed for improved telecommunications and popular video-teleconference platforms such as Skype and Zoom. Meetings no longer need to take place in one location. Fully equipped with power and state-of-the-art A/V equipment, these new and improved spaces now allow for a quick gathering, brainstorming or impromptu collaboration without even having to be physically together. A more appropriate solution for the times, they help promote social distancing safety by keeping fewer groups of people together and allowing them the flexibility to meet virtually.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Meeting Spaces NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: OFS Heya Meeting Lounge, Scale 1:1 Telemeet Media Table & OFS Obeya Architectural Structures 

Training and Collaboration

Training Then
Photo: Traditional Training Room Setup

THEN: Training and collaboration spaces are crucial to every company. These spaces are generally made up of numerous rows of chairs and tables lined up auditorium-style, inside a room specifically designed for training employees, group orientation or team-building exercises. Typically designed to be very capacious, they’re able to seat a great number of people all at one time, and typically orient a group audience toward a speaker, not unlike a classroom or lecture hall.  Oftentimes these setups can feel severely rigid, formal and overly spacious, especially when only a handful of people need to use them.

NOW: Today, training and collaborative spaces are very much designed with the interaction of people in mind.  The philosophy behind the design focuses on harboring a sense of community while facilitating a more intuitive and organic flow of interaction and communication among people.  Now, we see breakrooms, lounges and other common areas that double as training spaces, in a less formal way. Comfortable modular furniture works best for this purpose, as they can nest together to accommodate group sessions, then be rearranged after to serve another purpose such as for lounge or individual work. Sometimes, it’s a mixture of sofas or individual seating with built in laptop and tablet tables.  Sometimes, stools, benches and ottomans are used with occasional, nesting or bar-height parsons tables, along with mobile white boards and TV displays.  Whatever the type of furniture, they’re meant to be dynamic, and are often on casters for ease of mobility and reconfiguration. These modern training and collaborative spaces are all about adaptability and flexibility, working to accommodate people’s natural way of interaction. The lines of formality are blurred, and optimized communication and comfort are prioritized.


Office Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Senator Play Collection, Hat Collection M-Series Nesting Tables & OFS Coact Mobile Chairs and Heya Screen

Continued Evolution

With continued innovation in office furniture, there really isn’t one way to design an office anymore. Office layouts are fluid, and every generation focuses on different aspects of our professional lives and cultures to create what they believe is the perfect workplace for the times. Whereas the 1900s may have prioritized employees’ productivity and efficiency, many today weigh a significant value in employees’ happiness and wellbeing – because of the belief that worker satisfaction ultimately drives better productivity and efficiency. One thing will always remain however, and that is the constant improvement of the office to meet the ever-changing demands of businesses and the individuals who work for them. With a watchful eye on office furniture trends in 2022 and years beyond, we can look forward to new designs and solutions that will always reflect the culture of our times.

Following Office Furniture Trends of 2022

If you need help planning or designing your office space, please contact us and share your needs.  Our team at 2010 Office Furniture has about 50 years of combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and small business from Los Angeles and Orange Counties to the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Designing a Healthy Office
Main Photo: Stylex Seating
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Global, Groupe LacasseHat CollectionOFSScale 1:1, Senator & Trendway

Choosing the Best Office Dividers and Filing Systems

Best Office Dividers and Filing Systems Allermuir Mollie Chair

People are social creatures, and a well-planned office with strategically placed office dividers will bring employees together, yet allow them the personal space they need in order to focus.

But don’t fear the gray cubicle.

Plenty of cubicles are designed with workstation dividers with storage for filing, and free-standing partitions, bring color and serve to unify work areas rather than actually separate employees into an impersonal environment.

Photo: Friant Novo Modern Workstation

Office dividers and filing systems should be part of a complete office floor plan.

Photo: Rouillard Agora Credenza

Why Use Office Dividers

Dividers that are modular or are easily movable bring balance for employees, giving them a space to focus on tasks while allowing collaboration. Permanent walls create separation and often act as a barrier to an organic flow of ideas and problem-solving conversations.

Employee well-being is another reason to use partitions. Privacy screens that attach to open bench seating plans and work pods, along with larger partitions, can reduce the spread of germs from concerns surrounding viruses like Covid, the flu, and the common cold.

In open office floor plans, sound reverberating unimpeded is an irritant. Employees often retreat through the use of earbuds or headphones, but they block out possible opportunities for communication.

Specialty panels like the Snowsound Baffle Ceiling Panels or the Nevins Ariel Acoustic Hanging Panels act as sound barriers while letting light flow from one part of an office to another.

The many different types of dividers available help make the office a welcome place.


Photo: Nevins Ariel Sound Panel

& Photo: Snowsound Baffle Sound Panel

Options for Office Dividers

Modular workstations come with dividers in an array of colors and fabrics. Choose styles that reflect the brand and the temperament of the office. Bold colors like red can speak to leadership qualities while softer blues provide quiet inspiration.

Plan out the use of dividers from the entryway to the individual departments.

Need a meeting space?

Architectural walls define places for group conferences or smaller meetings. Aesthetically pleasing areas can be established to hold online meetings with employees who are remote or working a hybrid arrangement by switching between the home office and corporate office.

Photo: Trendway Clear Wall

There are other types of office dividers for use with floor plans.

Try to guess what they are.

How about indoor plants?

Hanging baskets of plants, tables with arrangements, potted plants, and greenery dividers using succulents define workspaces from common gathering spots like break areas or lounges.

Fabrics can work, as well. Decorative pillows stuffed in bookcases can fit within many office designs like resimercial styles, the modern industrial office, or a minimal office like the Scandinavian layout.

Your creativity in how you divide office space can be like an unsung hero in making the workplace comfortable.

Filing Systems

Another way to break away from traditionally dull furnishings is to re-imagine the use of filing cabinets and drawers as office dividers. Now, this isn’t to knock those heavy-industry style metal filing cabinets.

They’ve served companies well and continue to do so, but there are more attractive counterparts that look less intimidating and don’t need WD-40 to grease the tracks.

Different filing cabinet options are:

  • Vertical
  • Lateral
  • Fire Resistant

And remember that modular is in because it’s practical and flexible.

Consider OFS Hitch Shelf and Storage, a modular unit, “using a simple system of blocks that clip together for a shelf with endless configuration possibilities.”

Low profile cabinets like the DeskMakers Catalina Cubbies can be used for work or storing personal items. This flexible filing and storage can be stacked to provide a sense of room separation without feeling like you’re blocking someone out.

Want to make a statement?

Go bold with Bella Shelf Storage, a fun, circular design. Want to know something unique? You don’t need any tools to assemble this since “The inner panels of Bolla coil in, and natural compressive force holds the system together.


Photo: Scale 1:1 Bolla Shelf Storage

Why plan your filing and office storage systems? Because they help keep the office clutter-free while having potential to enhance the overall ambiance.

Get Answers

If you need help choosing the right office dividers and filing system, or have questions on how to get maximum productivity from your team — connect with us! The staff at 2010 Office Furniture is more than happy to share our knowledge based on a combined half-century of advising and providing furnishings for clients that rank among Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, nonprofits, and small businesses.

Contact us and share your needs.

Read Also: Ways to Help Create Social Distancing in the Office
Main Photo: Allermuir Mollie Chair
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: AllermuirFriant, Nevins, RouillardScale 1:1Snowsound & Trendway

Now’s the Time for Inspired Office Designs Ideas Post Covid

Office Designs Ideas Post Covid OFS Rowen Lounge

(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.)

The 2020 covid pandemic have drastically changed the ways we work and live.  If there’s ever a time to look at office design ideas post covid, it’s now.

We now know how much work can get accomplished remotely. Employees can easily flourish in their home offices, and numerous surveys show how the majority of office workers feel just fine not coming into the corporate office.

So is the workplace finished?

Hardly.

Take a clue from big corporations. In September 2020, Amazon Music signed a lease agreement for a 40,000 square foot space in Brooklyn. That’s in addition to leases in Seattle and other tech companies signing leases in other cities. They must be expecting workers to show up again in real life.

Companies have an opportunity to break away from the same old approach using typical desks and chairs, or simply setting up workstations without much thought to the surroundings.

The corporate office can’t just be about functioning and completing tasks, because many functions can be done in home offices.

“It’s not a time to design a workplace of the future that looks a lot like the past, only more spaced out,” writes David Schwarz on Workdesign.com. “[Create] interactive, multi-sensory experiences that put collaboration and culture at the center.”

A positive office setting will bring people together to share an experience.

Creating the New Office Experience

How do you envision new office design ideas post covid? It’s more than just bodies occupying desks and ergonomic chairs.

Think through colors and furnishings that reflect your brand and foster an atmosphere of creativity and problem solving.


Photo: HON Concinnity Desk

The 2010 Office Furniture Office Inspirations Gallery reveals settings that combine home décor with the work environment; minimal and abstract design; industrial and open office design. Offices support company goals, but the trend is bringing people together and is really an extension of ergonomics—making sure the environment is equipped to help people do their best.


Photo: Rouillard Lead X Chair

But there’s another key to an office that’s designed effectively: flexibility.

Why is that important?

It’s one of the traits that keeps top talent engaged so that they feel a part of the company’s culture and want to stay put.

Look back to the Gensler 2016 Workplace Survey that links innovation to office design:

“The most innovative companies provide their organizations with a diversity of well-designed spaces in which to collaborate and to focus, as well as empowering employees with the ability to work when and where it best suits their work needs.”

Designing a Community

What kind of spaces are needed in today’s office?  These are key when planning and gathering office design ideas post covid:

  • Individual spaces to focus
  • Conference rooms to brainstorm
  • Social spaces to interact with co-workers over coffee and lunch

Does the office have to be all things to all employees?

Evaluate your expectations for your workers. Do you grumble if they don’t come into the office? You can decide if you want to hold them accountable or trust them to do their best and deliver so that corporate benchmarks are met and exceeded.

Top talent doesn’t stay put in one place.

The Gensler Survey that was conducted five years ago reports that “innovators report spending only 74% of the work week at the office.”

They were twice as likely as non-innovators to use “cafeterias, coffee shops, and outdoor spaces.”

Don’t design a workplace to keep people in one place, but aim to link people together in supportive relationships.  This is very important and at the heart of office design ideas post covid.

Aligning with Nature in the City

Los Angeles is a sprawling urban center and yet it has amazing natural elements—the beaches and cool breezes from the South Bay and Playa Vista, north to Malibu. Then there’s the ever-present Mount Wilson, visible throughout the year from downtown Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley, and other cities to the south.

Bring in the sunshine that bathes the region and make the office green to boost morale.

An example of a unique office setting is Second Home, a co-working company based in London with a two-acre campus in Hollywood. The website makes a bold claim—they’re “LA’s healthiest work space.”

There’s plenty of greenery inside and outside in a space that was formerly a parking lot. Fresh air is pumped into offices. They make use of the comfortable climate with working areas that are “60% outdoors, 40% indoors, and 100% clean.”

Second Home maximizes the use of sunshine with light wells that were cut into the two-story main building to bring daylight to the bottom floor. Breezeways were created to circulate fresh air.

The lead designer on the office space, Diego Cano-Lasso, told the Los Angeles Times that “How architecture relates with the environment is crucial to our well-being.”

Second Home is an office experience that’s not easily copied, or can’t be copied, in a home office.

What if you’re in an office tower in a city like Irvine, near the John Wayne Airport, and it isn’t possible to create a lush outdoor garden and none of the windows are designed to open?

Plan a Green Office with plenty of plants, natural light, and organic fabrics. It’s highlighted on 2010 Office Furniture’s Office Inspirations.


Photo: OFS Grow Up & Roo Planter

Design indoor-outdoor spaces for trainings or other uses.

The sheriff’s department in Contra Costa County has a conference room that seats up to 175 people. If that space fills up then “the back wall can be opened up entirely to a shaded patio via a glass garage door, to accommodate another 100 people,” as described in Metropolis Magazine on Post-Covid outdoor workspaces.This creates flexible multi-use work areas.


Photo: Nevins Bio Canvas Divider

Imagination and Resources

Covid created challenges that forced companies to reimagine how they’d get work done. Now the future is here, and it’s the best time to reimagine your office space.  With 2010 Office Furniture’s space planning expertise and wide array of office furniture products, it’s easier more than ever to create a workspace that reflects the times as well as your brand.

We Can Help You With Office Designs Ideas Post Covid

Our team at 2010 Office Furniture has worked with some of the most recognizable brands around Los Angeles and Orange County, plus leading nonprofits and small businesses that are expanding. Through it, we’ve gained more than 50 years combined experience and knowledge on the furnishings that build brands and help keep employees engaged in their work.

Contact us for a consultation on your next projec.  We can help you with suitable office design ideas post covid.

Read Also: Work From Home Office Furniture
Main Photo: OFS Rowen and Wyre Lounge
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: HONNevins, OFSRouillard

(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.)

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

Creative Office Layouts that Engage Employees

Companies with unique and creative office layouts based around their brands, as a result, inspire and engage their employees to live out their brands’ promises on a daily basis. The following companies have unique office décor and settings to make employees feel a part of the mission and core strength.  Remember not to try and copy them. There’s only one Google and one Dropbox. But instead, adapt their ideas to inspire creativity, enhance collaboration and create your own engaging workplace experience.

Edmunds

Edmunds.com is all about cars and you see it immediately when stepping into their Santa Monica office that houses a couple of hundred employees. Edmunds launched in the 1960s with paper car reports at newsstands and remain recognized as the Car People who make car buying easier.  Their mission is clear once you walk in the door. A classic Corvette is suspended above the reception desk and the extensive coffee bar is decked out in chrome wheels.  The office space is flexible with mini-meeting rooms that are easy to duck in and out of. Departments are arranged with workstations in open areas and there’s plenty of room between them.  Edmunds has been rated as one of the best places to work in Southern California every year since 2010.

Dropbox

Having spiral bound rings above your desk gives a mix of closure and openness. Dropbox has a unique approach to office design and is aware of the drawbacks of the open offices. The file-sharing tech firm has described how providing various types of spaces for employees can allow people to come together in teams to work on a problem and then disperse to work on the details.

Google

Spaces for work and places for play describe in general how Google offices are designed and laid out. The company logo is always present and is integrated into the design. In its relatively recent Pittsburgh office, Google in white letters is neatly painted across a red brick wall to pay respects to the original building.  Google offices include pool tables and foosball games with a design that reflects some of the local flavor.  The innovative and now legendary search firm gives a local, at-home vibe for its employees no matter where they work.

AirBnB

AirBnB’s international offices show that the reception desk represents more than an afterthought. In its London, Sao Paulo and Singapore locations, the reception area is modeled after a front porch. The offices are created in tandem with local design firms and pull on the mission of living anywhere.  The headquarters in San Francisco have work rooms that are modeled after actual apartments and in Singapore there’s bleacher-style seating to hold informal meetings.

Urban Outfitters

In Philadelphia, Urban Outfitters pays homage to a 125-year history of shipbuilding with the layout and look of its design studios. An old navy yard feel is integrated with today’s technology and office comforts.  The office design has been honored by the National AIA Honor Awards Jury for its “tension between old and new … indoor and out … all of this while holding in character with the corporate image.”

What About Creative Office Layouts for Your Company?

You’re probably not trying to make headlines or win awards with your office layout, but does it serve your employees well and represent your brand effectively?  Planning a creative office space that also supports the company’s goals and objectives well takes deliberate thought, but the result is a boost in productivity and office morale.

Consider ways to refresh your workspace. Contact 2010 Office Furniture for expert input based on many years of experience helping corporations, universities, and small businesses throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Planning Office Layouts for Today’s Workplace Needs
Main Photo: OFS Brands Kintra Table
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: OFS Brands