Using Open Plan Workstations in Orange County

Using Open Plan Workstations in Orange County

The Orange County Mentality

Think of innovative Orange County and California companies, and gaming firms, tech or financial start-ups like Acorn may come to mind. Add automotive companies to the list of innovators. Karma Automotive got its start in the OC and manufactures environmentally friendly vehicles.  No doubt, there’s a lot of talent in Southern California with entrepreneurs who find a unique need in the marketplace and then work hard to provide a solution and capture their niche in the marketplace. However, keeping daily operations humming along doesn’t just happen.  A well-designed office space is key along with the right furnishings, like those in open plan workstations. Open office floor plans and workstations have been known to have key benefits and play a direct role in a company’s success.

Open Plan Flexibility

Open office floor plans have become standard because workspace configurations are easy to manage. But don’t just set up the workstations in just any pattern. The most effective offices are arranged with thorough planning and space design strategies. Know how the team functions and relates with their different responsibilities. Then plan work areas accordingly.

Be creative. Why not put the administrative team in the center of the room instead of in a distant corner? This way, it’s clear that they set the tone for communicating with everyone.  Sales and marketing can be near the front door and the project managers, developers or creatives can be positioned in an area that’s quieter and focused. Setting up and taking down workstations is easy.

Flexibility isn’t just in the layout but also includes workstations with height-adjustable surfaces like the Hover Height Adjustable Table by DeskMakers. It also offers easy power distribution and cable management when the height changes.

Open Plan Approachability

Using open plan workstations can create a friendly, business casual environment. Open plan workstations allow for approachability since people aren’t cloistered behind solid walls. This makes personal communication and collaboration easier than having to knock on doors or send emails.  Focus time is important so chairs can be arranged around small tables in a break type area or meeting pods used so others aren’t distracted.

Open Plan Durability

Easy to assemble furniture is durable. Veneer surfaces and premium materials make for a clean look and performance that can withstand rugged work habits. All mechanisms including brackets are manufactured well for maximum use over many years.

Reasons to Refresh and Improve Office Layout

Reasons to Refresh and Improve Office Layout

Steps to Improve Office Layout

A need to boost office morale and improve communication within or between departments are among the reasons to refresh an existing workspace and improve office layout. Today’s modular style furniture offers easy-to-implement solutions.

Let the Sun Shine In

Improve office layout by boosting overall morale with more natural light. Southern California is bathed in sunshine throughout the year, but office workers with desks removed from windows don’t get the benefits.  A 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine concluded that employees with access to plenty of natural light were more alert and productive during the day and slept more peacefully at night.  Another finding published in the Harvard Business Review showed that natural light in offices is more desired than on-site fitness centers and even perks like bringing one’s dog to work.  Make sure desks and work areas are within 25 feet of windows. For best results, install light tubes and larger windows.

Turn Private Cubicles into Group Work Pods

Changes in a work settings often evolve. While the company’s mission may remain the same, new client accounts or launches of product lines may be a call to improve office layout and allow workers  to streamline their communications.  New hires and workers from different generations can have unique expectations for what they consider a comfortable office setting. Stop and consider if your current layout allows members of different departments to communicate as effectively as possible.  Offices with multiple departments may want cubicles in certain areas to make work easier like a sales team that has to be on the phone. A finance department or production team may work best with open plan benching to share ideas and information with each other.

Use Modular Walls For Privacy and Transparency

Create a flexible conference room. When private conversations or group discussions are needed, install transparent architectural wallsto create boundaries within an open atmosphere. Equip the area with a wireless printer and flat screen monitor.

Create an Open Break Area

Many employees prize relationships in the work place. Provide an open break area with lounge chairsthat are clearly styled for individual, private space and other lounge furniture that’s easily configured for a small group.

The Mindset to Improve Office Layout

Refreshing an existing office space takes a little imagination and a knowledge of the available furniture and accessories.

Image Source: Groupe Lacasse

How to Select an Open Office or Private Office Layout

How to Select an Open Office or Private Office Layout

Open Office VS Private Office

An open office layout allows co-workers to easily communicate with each other. The aesthetics are pleasing since even a small office can look spacious when it’s not sectioned off. About 80% of U.S. companies use the this layout, yet the layout has its critics that are speaking out.  During 2018, a headline in the Chicago Tribune announced, “The open office plan is a disaster” while the Washington Post published an analysis proclaiming, “Open office plans are as bad as you thought.” Disruptions and a sense of impermanence are noted as a couple of the negatives.

It’s important to note that the open office layout works or falls short of expectations depending on these variables: the nature of the work to accomplish; a company’s culture; and whether or not an office space is planned well.  Read on to learn more about open offices versus private offices, and how a professionally designed layout can work well for your office space.

The Nature of the Work

A reason that open office plans may be getting negative reviews is that company executives and office managers will often make decisions based on popular trends instead of what is right for their specific situation.  For example, tech giants such as Apple and Google use an open office approach in their office spaces around the world. So if it’s right for these global brands, then it must be right for—

Hold on. It’s important to remember that a better way to lay out an office is to understand the nature of a company’s work and the need for collaboration and communication. Budgets matter and open offices typically cost less to maintain. If the existing physical space is open, then planning an this can be an easy solution.  Think in terms of a grid or formula. The greater the need for collaboration, then the more an open office situation is right.  Highly personalized work that require individual conversations on completely different matters will require more boundaries in place.

A Team Approach

Consider an open office environment for small teams that are focused on bringing a project to life where the need for collaboration is high.  A small engineering firm that is building a robot or a creative firm like an ad agency that’s working on a specific account can benefit from an open office design and use of collaborative workstations.  The upside to this scenario is that team members have an easy time talking to each other and the open office arrangement is flexible and adaptable as projects come and go.  The downside however is that team members can feel like the arrangement is temporary with a “here today and gone tomorrow” kind of feeling. Also, individuals who need quiet to focus on their work are exposed to teammates’ conversations, phone calls, “out loud” thinking, and music that are a distraction while playing in the background.

Individualized Work

An architectural firm where partners spearhead their own projects or a law firm where individuals are tackling completely different cases can benefit from a more closed office with individual office desks.  In these scenarios, when private spaces become a necessity, panes of glass can be used in place of solid walls. Bookcases that are filled with research material along with dividers to deaden sound can delineate space.

Working in Open Groups

Rarely is a decision so straight-forward in today’s working world that an office either has to only have an open office plan or a closed office plan with private spaces and traditional doors. Today’s office furniture needs in seating and workstation options come with adaptability and flexibility.

A company that might have 200 or 300 employees can have an open office arrangement where groups are formed by department or logical tasks.  Accounting and finance can be in one open area while marketing can be in another. If the space is large enough, then using attractive dividers decorated with company milestones can act as boundary markers instead of installing solid walls.  Real estate brokerage firms and insurance companies can work with an open-private hybrid and design.  Hanging plants, light stands, or individual lounge chairs can create distinctive work areas. Creative office furniture like the Connection Zone or Co-op Lounge can carve out private spaces within an open office layout.

Designing an Open Office or Private Office Layout

Looking to design your own private office or open plan space?  Let our experts help you!  2010 Office Furniture has more than 45 years of experience working with some of the most prominent companies in Los Angeles and Orange County, including Southern California Edison, Irvine Chamber of Commerce, The Honda Center, UCLA, Bunim Murray Productions, Hollywood Park Casino, Living Spaces, W Hotels, Sony Pictures Studios, Dignity Health and more.  Share your project with us today and talk to us about a complimentary space planning consultation.

Image Source: Hon