The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs

Best Office Spaces ERG International Connos, Newport and Tango Collection

Office spaces that are responsive to a changing marketplace and the circumstances impacting society have a competitive advantage. Employees should be able to focus even when change swirls around them, and they can use different spaces that give them the freedom to work as effectively as possible.

Keeping your team healthy and well is a high priority due to Covid-19 and ailments from colds and the seasonal flu. Sick employees, upticks in sales that create demand for more workers, or economic downturns affect how many permanent and temporary staff occupy the floor space.

Best Office Spaces Friant My-Hite
Photo: Friant My-Hite Tables

A strategic office design and space plan charts the regular workflow through the workspaces and environmentsneeded to meet your goals. Each space contributes to employee productivity and achieving the results you want for your organization.

Assigned Spaces

The responsibilities that you have as an employee often begin at your assigned workstation or desk. Whether you’re the CEO, Vice President, a mid-level manager, or just starting out with a new company this is where you’re expected to perform at a maximum level.

Strategic space planning will allow for an effective workflow between individuals and departments.

Workspaces that are responsive to the needs of employees are considered ergonomic and make use of flexible furnishings like the Friant My-Hite Height Adjustable Workstation or the Hon Accelerate Workstation. Multiple configurations are possible to safely accommodate individual workers side by side or in small groups.

Best Office Spaces HON Accelerate
Photo: HON Accelerate Collection

Remote Spaces

When stay-at-home orders were issued during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote spaces became a necessity and not just a cool option. Employees who were accustomed to the layout of a corporate office were suddenly asked to work from home, competing with personal needs like children taking online classes in the living room or their bedrooms.

In today’s world, if a team member has a bad cold, but is still well enough to work, then staying at a home office or other remote space is a smart option.

Best Office Spaces Friant Collection
Photo: Friant Work From Home Collection

Looking ahead, one-third of full-time employees in the U.S. are expected to work remotely in the coming decade as noted in TechRepublic.

What makes an effective remote space?

Uncluttered space is important, one where an employee can step out of their personal life and into their professional role. An adequate surface, an ergonomic chair, and an Internet service that has satisfactory transmission rates all help to make a productive work area.

And just like in a corporate office setting, have access to natural light and move often to change the body’s position and posture.

Collaborative Spaces

Getting together to lay out challenges and find solutions is an important part of any business. It’s possible in an open office environment to create collaborative spaces that don’t interfere with the work of individuals who need to focus.

Look at what you can use to define the space:

Best Office Spaces OFS Obeya Architectural Structure
Photo: Obeya Architectural Structures

These products create flexible, or responsive, environments. You can move different pieces to fit the needs of the moment, keep the furnishings and accessories in one place or rearrange them to create a new area.

Add personality with the OFS Obeya Architectural Structure. You can add audio-visual equipment, curtains, additional panels, planters, and other accessories.

A collaborative space can also double as personal areas for employees when a group isn’t meeting.

Restful Spaces

Don’t confuse restfulness with a lack of productivity.

Whether it’s legend, fact, or a combination of both, it’s widely reported that Albert Einstein slept for about 10 hours every night and, in addition, he’d take regular naps during the day. He’d let his sub-conscious tackle problems and then come up with solutions while he dozed.

The lesson for us today is that an office that’s all work and no personal reflection is draining. We can thrive on fast-paced excitement, but many times we also need to withdraw and quiet down.

We can’t live non-stop in a fight-or-flight response, as noted in Understanding the Stress Response on HarvardHealth.com. Chronic stress “contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction.”

What does a restful place look like?

Define the space by creating a boundary that’s similar to collaborative spaces. If possible, allow for a flow of natural lighting and use plenty of indoor plants to bring in nature. Plants help the air remain fresh, they boost moods, ease stress and deflect sound waves for a quieter area.


Photo: Nevins Climb Seating Series

A modular arrangement like the kind available with the Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating solution allows the furniture to be used for individuals or group meetings.

You can make a rest area look more like a living room and less like an airport lounge for the most personal touch possible.

Patios are a bonus. Install sliding glass doors to connect an indoor space with the outdoors where team members can retreat to for quiet moments. You may choose to have one space like a lounge for phone calls, and another space for reading, writing and reflective thinking.


Photo: Nevins Synk2 and Climb Seating Series

Resource Spaces

No industry is immune from some sort of change today, whether that due’s to a worldwide phenomenon like the Covid-19 virus or technology changing how business is done.

Staying up to date is essential. Dedicate a small space as a learning center. You can have books and magazines on a shelf, a computer dedicated to research, and a bulletin board where you encourage employees to post an article they’ve read that lead to an aha! moment or breakthrough.


Photo: Global Linking Panels

Defining spaces shows that you expect more than people showing up, putting in their time, clocking out and then going home. You’re investing in them and you see them as the company’s most valuable assets.

Different spaces have specific purposes. Put them together and you’re working to create community and a shared experience. The team stays engaged with their work and with each other.

Get Professional Guidance on Creating the Best Office Spaces

An effective office layout takes deliberate planning around your corporate goals.

2010 Office Furniture can help to maximize productivity and create the best office spaces possible for your company. Share your space planning and office furniture needs to get the input you need.

The team at 2010 Office has nearly a half-century of combined experience advising and supplying the most distinguished companies in Southern California.

Read Also: Office of the Future: Plan an Office that Meets Your Company Goals and Personal Needs
Main Photo: ERG International
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: ERG International, Friant, HON, OFS, Nevins, and Global Furniture Group

 

Office of the Future: Plan an Office that Meets Your Company Goals and Personal Needs

Office of the Future Global River Lounge

Businesses around Los Angeles have seen how the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders had a sudden impact on their office workplace and operations. Many small businesses have had to fire more than half of their staff. A neighborhood clinic in Pasadena immediately switched to tele-medicine appointments because they had to cancel in-person visits.  Many are wondering: what does the office of the future look like and what does it mean for us?

Our communication tools make it easier than ever to have user-rich experiences when people are physically separated.

The complexities of Covid-19 created what consulting firm McKinsey referred to as a “large scale work at home experiment to reimagine how work is done.”

Office of the Future Friant Work From Home
Photo: Friant Work From Home

As technologies develop and people adapt to new circumstances, will workers want to return fully to the office, work remotely, or have flexibility in where they work?

That answer is key to understanding the office of the future.

A Brief History of Offices

The early to mid-20th century was the age of heavy industry in the United States. Steel was king in many cities. Automotive manufacturing turned Detroit into Motown and, locally, Southern California had its own automotive headquarters. Toyota once had its main U.S. offices in Torrance with over 5,000 employees.

In the industrial age, executives of all ranks, plus tradespeople like graphic artists, were expected to work completely in-house. Companies were run top-down and offices were rigid in their rules and expectations because steel, cars and other similar products were manufactured in a linear fashion.

The technology that was needed to run a company, like large mainframe computers, was housed solely on the company’s property.


Photo: DeskMakers ReFit Adaptable Headers

All work got done in the office. End of story.

Then along came:

  • the study of ergonomics
  • personal desktop computers
  • cell phones
  • laptops
  • cloud-based applications

You can see what happened.

And then Covid hit.

Little by little, technological changes and societal shifts have transformed how and where we do our work, giving us a peak at what the office of the future look like.

Offices that Support Employees

Studies reveal that about 62% of full-time employees in the U.S. worked at home at the peak of the Covid-19 virus. A majority of those workers, up to 80%, said they enjoyed working out of their houses.

Photo: Photo: Nevins Arlo Table

The distinction between the office and personal lives has blurred. It’s possible for many workers to perform their functions from anywhere that they have an Internet connection. Virtual meetings quickly became normal and apps can let someone perform a variety of functions remotely, like setting the temperature at home or tracking inventory shipments.

Employees, though, are drawn to an office that’s planned for maximum productivity—and one where they know they’re supported through quality furnishings and tools.

A company that offers a supportive environment can find it much easier to rally its team in one place and boost morale in ways that aren’t possible for a worker whose only at a remote location.

Office of the Future Allermuir and DeskMakers
Photo: Allermuir Famiglia and DeskMakers Adaptable Division

An office that supports people will have assigned workstations, collaborative spaces for small group meetings, teleconferencing, and areas for quiet and personal reflection.

The office of the future has flexible options that extend beyond the walls.

Flexible Office Expectations

Work must get done, but the way it’s approached is less structured now than in the industrial offices of the 20thcentury. Technology gives us mobility that was once impossible. The challenge for employees isn’t running off somewhere to hide, but it’s getting unplugged because the office can follow you wherever you go.

Here’s one way Covid-19 brought about changes. In the old days, if you had a bad cold then you’d tough it out and head into work. Today, you’re told to stay put and work from home. No more Mr. Tough Guy.

Inside the office, flexibility is also possible thanks to the many styles of modular furniture and safety devices available.

An example is a small company with 20 employees who are divided into four different departments. Business starts booming and suddenly new progammers or marketing team members are needed. Modular cubicles are easy to set up to accommodate a group of four or five people and either add additional workstations or reconfigure for smaller numbers as necessary.

Office of the Future Enwork Skyline
Photo: Enwork Skyline and Edge Desktop Screens

Now here’s something else to consider about today’s office setting. A growing company can rent space for added flexibility.

Let’s say the XYZ company in El Segundo is expanding and wants to hire a few new employees who live in the Inland Empire. The commute would be outrageous, and yet ABC wants to bring the small team together in one space.

Renting a shared workspace in a city like Ontario or Riverside could be the answer. The space can be set up for maximum productivity just like the main office.

There are truly many flexible options for staffing and supplying offices today and into the future.

Office Communication is Key

Clear communication is essential in an office that’s functioning well. Online meetings make it possible for workers to hear and see each other, but the non-verbal cues we pick up on in-person are missing. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help.

Microsoft has created Together Mode, a new meeting experience that “digitally places [meeting] participants in a shared background … that makes meetings more engaging by helping you focus on people’s faces and body language.”

The goal is to reduce fatigue that comes through video conferencing and create realistic interactions.

Together Mode can also create the shared experiences that people value, even if they’re working remotely.

An Office Blends Core Strengths

Companies have a core strength and that’s the product line or service that they build their reputation on. Global brands like Coca-Cola have a different core than, say, a regional dental practice with several locations, a law firm, or university.

A successful company or non-profit organization knows its core well and then hires talent to achieve profitable results.

The employees themselves have their own individual core strengths, and that means they have to be supported in different ways. A graphic designer who lays out presentations and marketing collateral has different needs than a project manager or a vice president of sales.

The key is planning an office to maximize the strengths of each team member, or, the departments where they work.


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Stad Workstation and Allermuir Phoulds Chair

This is a timeless principle—one that will still hold true within the office of the future—valuing people as the company’s greatest asset and supporting them as effectively as possible.

How do you achieve this?

By arranging office spaces that take into account:

  • Inter-office workflow
  • Remote workers
  • Employees who choose either on-site or off-site
  • The different zones needed in an office for work, meetings, and quiet

Get Professional Guidance on Starting Your Office of the Future

Share your project here and get the office layout and furnishings you need to support your team.

The team at 2010 Office Furniture has nearly 50 years of combined experience advising and supplying Southern California’s most distinguished companies.

Read Also: Energize Your Office with Movement
Main Photo: Global River Lounge
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Global Furniture Group, Friant, Nevins, DeskMakers, Allermuir, Enwork & Groupe Lacasse