Infusing Offices with New Energy Using Fresh Interior Design Office Tips

Interior Design Office Tips Friant System 2 Screen

The upcoming year have many of us starting anew and looking for ways to freshen up our office.  And like most things, we want our workspace to look and feel better, as well as work more efficiently for our needs.  These great interior design office tips not only help revamp and elevate your office space, but truly are more practical than you’d think — and incredibly simple to incorporate.

All in all, it’s all about bringing in new positivity, so don’t forget to have fun.

Interior Design Office Tips ODS Artiv Workstation
Photo: ODS Artiv Workstation

Interior Design Office Tips

Boring office environments should fade away because there are tremendous options available to design a workplace that reflects your brand. Don’t worry about busting budgets since modular furnishings make it possible to start small and expand as needed.

An office that’s planned well can boost morale and be a key to retaining top talent. This leads to greater productivity and profitability.

But how do you capture the best interior?

Plan the Area

The first of these interior design office tips is planning.  Take note of the personnel, their tasks, and how often they’re in the office. Who works full-time, in-office, and who works a hybrid schedule of working in the office and working remotely?

List your needs including:

  • The number of workstations
  • Flexible meeting areas
  • Communication plans with remote workers
  • Storage


Photo: Deskmaker Catalina Storage

Don’t cram an area with furniture; leave open space where possible. This acts like white space on a website to draw people in.

Reflect Your Brand

Designing your office is a reflection of your brand. If you’re a professional firm, you don’t need to be stiff and formal, but you should inspire confidence in your staff and clients who come to visit.

Begin the moment the office door is opened. Make sure the first impressions in the reception area and foyer are well received. Use furnishings that are welcoming so they don’t have the appearance of barriers.


Photo: Global Adaptabilities Reception Desk

Look at the DeskMakers Overture Reception Desk as an example of a light color that also brings a unique wood look into the office.

Have comfortable seating arrangements for visitors who need to wait.

You can also check out 2010 Office Furniture’s Office Inspirations page to see how colors, placement of cubicles, and open plan benching impact the surroundings, in conjunction with these interior design office tips.

Light Up Your Spaces

One of the most important interior design office tips is to address your office lighting.

Stream as much natural light as possible. Enlarge windows, use skylights, or create outdoor spaces on patios and balconies.

Natural light is proven to boost morale, aid employees in being as productive as possible, and helping them to sleep well at night.


Photo: Koncept Gravy Desk Light

A well-lit office is part of the overall use of ergonomics. Check for the best lighting accessories so sore and tired eyes don’t become problems.

Desk lamps, floor lamps, and LED concept lights like the Koncept Mr. GO! Lantern, with a curved light handle, provide the right amount of light at the workstation. You can easily move it around the office or to a common waiting area.

Use Natural Materials

Compact offices can be inviting and reflect a brand just like their sprawling corporate counterparts. Eye-catching concepts bring greenery into the office in unique ways like the Nevins Bio Canvas Frame. It’s a maintenance-free collection of moss, bark, and stone on easy-to-install frames.


Photo: Nevins Bio Canvas

Incorporate Green Office design to bring more of nature into the work setting, known as biophilic design. The concept isn’t new; think back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This design helps us renew and rekindle our connection to nature.

Get more ideas and learn from a retail tea shop in Brazil that’s home to a popular brand. The shop uses plenty of natural materials and items like rope on the staircase, as seen on Dezeen.com.

Have a Health-Conscious Focus

Today’s offices can promote employee health through the use of specialty fabrics and plenty of accessories that reduce the spread of harmful bacteria. An example is the Social Distancing Office using antimicrobial fabrics, countertop shields, and privacy screens.


Photo: Enwork Deskwrap Screen

Freestanding screens come in a variety of heights and hues.

Try Plywood

Plywood is well-known in residential construction for walls and as decking on roofs, but you can also use plywood to create stylish offices as seen in the article Ten stylish plywood interiors that give the material a luxurious upgrade.

Create benches or increase your storage using plywood.

The material can act as a warm space divider and sound barrier. Decorate using hanging baskets filled with indoor plants, decorate the wood with fabrics, or both.

Get in Touch for Interior Design Office Tips

Get input on your potential design or re-design with a commitment-free consultation. Our team at 2010 Office Furniture has decades of experience advising and supplying major corporations, leading universities, and small businesses throughout the Los Angeles basin, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Contact us for more interior design office tips and share your questions.  We’re happy to help!

Read Also: Plan Your Office for the Employee Experience
Main Photo: Friant System 2 Screens
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Deskmakers, Enwork, Global, Koncept, Nevins & ODS

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

Planning Office Layouts for Today’s Workplace Needs

Planning Office Layouts for Today’s Workplace Needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today’s office layout is likely changed—permanently.

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

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

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


Photo: AMQ, Rouillard & Stylex

Basics of Developing Corporate Culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo: Stylex Seating

Know Your Brand When Planning Office Layouts

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

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

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

What’s your brand?

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


Photo: Scale 1:1 Lean2 Dividers

Know the Atmosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aim for the Right Type of Culture

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

The type of work is only one element in culture.

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

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

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

Choose the culture that’s right for your needs:

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


Photo: Trendway Clearwall

Developing Office Landscapes

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

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

It’s relevant to ensure standards are in place.

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

Select co-working sites that meet your office requirements.

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

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

Planning Office Layouts Input and Advice

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

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

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

Ways to Make the Workplace More Kind and Caring

Ways to Make the Workplace More Kind and Caring

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

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

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

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

Create a best practice that centers on caring.


Photo: AMQHumanscale & The Senator Group

Why Caring and Kindness Matter

Stress is a known presence in any work setting.

Why?

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

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

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

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


Photo: OFS Lounge

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

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

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

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

The Tested and Proven Results of Kindness

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

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

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

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


Photo: National Marcelo

Encourage Caring and Kindness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Create a Positive Interior

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

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


Photo: National Alloy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Proven Input to Make the Workplace More Kind and Caring

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

Contact them with your questions and project requirements.

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

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.)

Creating Your Best Work Environment to Boost Your Brand

Creating Your Best Work Environment to Boost Your Brand

Think through the times you’ve stepped into an office setting and wondered about the work environment. The warning signs were likely subtle, weren’t they?

  • How was the office planning and layout?
  • Did the furnishings seem functional and up to date—or out of date?
  • What about tension? That’s the people part.

All of these elements contribute to the quality of the workplace. This becomes part of the company culture—a daily living out of the values that your business stands for.

A positive company culture is similar to office ergonomics. In ergonomics, the work environment is designed to support and meet the needs of the workers. A healthy or positive company culture recognizes that employees have needs. Those individuals are supported to blend their talents and create great products, achieve more sales or help customers be satisfied.

They are motivated to turn the company vision into reality.

Staff and executive decisionmakers have to communicate and place trust in each other for the best possible outcomes. Details like dress codes, restrictions or freedoms on where to work, and perks like benefits create a positive or negative culture as noted in a write-up on culture in Investopedia.

If you’re wondering how to improve the office work environment, now you can read on and learn how.


Photo: HON Voi Workstation

Company Culture Impacts Personal Energy

Company cultures form from the existing needs. A start-up in fast-paced do or die moments is quite different than a mature corporation where departments are neatly laid out and each person’s work is clearly defined.

Let’s say there’s a younger company moving into Hollywood, intent on disrupting the entertainment industry. They’ll have an entrepreneurial buzz and excitement that’s missing in an older organization.

Start-up offices and mature ones impact people and their energy. Any work setting can help someone thrive or suck the energy out of them and the room.

Not every person wants to work in a frenetic, high-stakes office unless stability and profitability are in sight. Working in a tried-and-true cubicle environment, in an area like the Mid-Wilshire District, where the most exciting event is the second hand ticking away on the clock isn’t a career dream, either.

Tricky, isn’t it?

Now let’s look at how two basic office layouts impact workers.


Photo: OFS LeanTo Lounge Seating

Consider these two layouts and their challenges:

  • Open Offices — can dilute the energy that people bring to their positions
  • Walled, Private Spaces — can make employees wonder what secrets are shared behind closed doors


Photo: HON Empower Open Plan Benching


Photo: Krug Artemis Height Adjustable Executive Desk

How do you make sense of it all?

Realize that you can plan and design an office to have different environments.

The open office should utilize modular furniture to create private areas. Employees can take phone calls, type on their laptops and have small group discussions without disturbing others.

Providing a range of workspaces helps create a positive work culture.

Give team members freedom to work from a part of the office that best suits their need. If someone wants to step away from the desk and work in a lounge chair, then let them. Infuse an entrepreneurial spirit into the office and let people take responsibility for how they work.

This doesn’t mean the office space becomes like one giant recess time Monday through Friday. Instead, you’re respecting the qualifications of each employee and trusting them to handle their tasks. After all, if they earned undergraduate or graduate degrees and are responsible for their families why not trust them on the job?

Trust and working together toward a clearly defined goal boosts morale and that keeps the energy vibrant.

Make sure the physical space supports the work with the proper layout and equipment. Here’s how to create an office that supports everyone’s work.

Start with knowing what you want to and need to achieve. Don’t just rely on architects or interior designers to do it for you.

The 2010 Space Planning Strategy weighs:

  • Your company’s goals
  • How your team interacts to reach those goals
  • How their personalities affect their work habits

Doing this creates a relationship between your company’s brand identity and the workplace. Customizing your plan takes you to the next step in creating the best possible work environment.


Photo: Global Swap Tables, FreeFit Workstations & SAS Seating

Proper Space Planning Creates Identity

Here’s a tip to improve the office environment: focus on space planning.

Office space planning provides a plan for workflow and balances that with the needs of employees.

Done well, can you predict what happens?

Your staff will develop a connection to the space.

This personal tie, one that’s internalized, is an important step in creating the best work environment for your company. It’s a principle that transcends industries.

Whether you have an engineering firm in El Segundo or a growing, small business in the Inland Empire, be deliberate in how the space is laid out. An article in the Harvard Business Review, How to Make Sure People Won’t Hate Your New Open Office Plan, describes a concept called “place identity.”

If employees believe the space “aligns with their self-image and enhances their sense of belonging” then this is typically what happens:

  • They’ll become more engaged
  • They’ll build their personal brand
  • They’ll be more likely to cultivate a positive work environment


Photo: OFS Brands Dallas Showroom

This is where leadership has to channel the energy by sharing the vision for the office space, being enthusiastic about it and letting people adapt the space to their needs.

Use these principles to guide your planning:

  • Determine which employees have to talk with each other on a daily basis
  • Count how many employees need extended hours to focus on projects
  • Know which employees need to sit close to printers and copiers
  • Note how often small group huddles or large group meetings are needed
  • Do clients visit often now or will they visit more often in the future? If so, is there adequate space to host them if inter-office meetings are happening?
  • What growth and changes does the company project? Will this include using temporary workers when demand is high?

Planning for change creates a positive office workspace while reacting to circumstances eventually makes people tired, creates uncertainty and leads to a negative workplace culture.

Now that you have a map of interoffice communication and workflow you can supply your great work environment with the right furnishings.

A Welcoming Space Helps Form a Positive Work Culture

Every morning when your team walks through the front door what’s the vibe that they’re bringing in and what’s the vibe that will greet them?

Once they leave the work setting at night and walk in the next morning you’ll have no control over their personal lives. People will experience some type of family crisis like the death of a relative while others are bragging about their kids’ sports achievements.

Moderate the personal highs and lows by creating a comfortable place that provides positive energy and channels conversations. Little things matter.

Present a welcoming atmosphere beginning with the office reception desk. An inviting and stylish design versus a boxy, bulky fortress can reinforce your company’s brand.

Open office plans have plenty of critics but some of the positives include not feeling boxed in. Let as much natural light as possible flow throughout the work setting. Make sure there’s adequate storage space at each workstation and for each department.

Bring in cozy and comfortable accessories to define space like attractive bookcases with embroidered pillows on the shelves and soothing artwork on the walls.

Here’s an example of how this works. Do you know why real estate agents stage homes for sale instead of simply showing an empty shell of a house?

Staging gives the potential buyer an understanding of the home’s potential. Furnishing the office helps your team members experience the potential of working together to achieve the goals that are set before them.

Creating a nice look in an office can be done in a budget-friendly manner. No one has to feel like the office is being decorated at the expense of their salaries or bonuses.

Attitudes brought in from the outside can mesh into a work atmosphere that’s pleasant and supportive. People will feel valued instead of feeling like they’re forced into a survival mode so they don’t get fired.

Furnishings set the stage for a positive workplace. You also create brand equity in people.

Remember, your employees are dedicating themselves to the company. Yes, they need a job that pays the bills and lets them enjoy a decent quality of life.

They also interact with the brand promise every day. They see what happens on the inside and can tell if your company does or doesn’t live up to what you tell customers.

A well-designed office setting positively reinforces the brand among your team. The result is achieving the best and most positive work environment possible.


Photo: DeskMakers Overture Reception Desk

Define Key Areas

Use workstations that help people do their best work. Modular furniture is a strategic purchase since it’s easy to re-configure spaces as changes take place.

Evaluate what works best for the work that needs done and the personalities of your employees. Work surfaces that accommodate several people, known as open plan benching, has one type of functionality while cubicles provide another type of function and form a certain atmosphere.

Your team’s introverts will thank you for the private break areas so they can withdraw as needed to get refreshed.

Meeting spaces are important and architectural walls create clean, well-defined areas for trainings and larger groups. These can be clear ceiling-to-floor walls or a cubicle-style room for small group huddles.

Now that you’ve designed the space for positive productivity, take it a step further to encourage healthy living and reduce absenteeism as much as possible.

Make Office Wellness a Priority

A healthy workplace includes how our bodies react physically to the surroundings and our emotional well-being. Productivity and positive energy face setbacks when people are struggling with bad backs and aching joints.

Here are two ways to take care of the body:

Ergonomic office furniture adapts to a worker’s body and physical needs. Height-adjustable desks help people set the work surface to a position where they can work comfortably and maintain good posture.

Quality ergonomic chairs allow feet to be flat on the floor and keep the knees relaxed. Ergonomic chairs will swivel easily based on a person’s natural movements. Arm rests reduce strain on elbows and shoulders while the chair provides proper lumbar support. Leading manufacturers of ergonomic chairs include 9 to 5 Seating, SitOnIt and Friant.

Computer keyboards and monitors should be at a height where wrists don’t have to be bent to type. Adequate lighting and screen protectors reduce eyestrain from computer monitors.

Encourage your employees to stretch or get up and take a brief walk every 90 minutes to two hours. The purpose isn’t to burn calories but to keep blood circulating well. That reduces foggy brain syndrome by getting oxygen flowing to the brain.

Care for emotional states by providing break areas with healthy snacks. Decorate with plants to bring nature indoors and create a positive ambiance.

You may have a manufacturing facility, legal office or direct a program at a university. Your core strength is turning out a quality product or service, but you should also offer resources for employees who are in a personal crisis.

Ask local gyms if they’ll offer group discounts. Provide chair massages once or twice a month during lunchtime.

Check on counseling and mental health services if you offer insurance. Your local city in Los Angeles County, Orange County or the Inland Empire may have a local college, university or faith community where graduate students need clinical hours for a degree like a Marriage and Family Therapist. Counseling services can be accessed for low costs.

Put it Together for a Positive Workplace and Culture

All of this shows employees that you value them and you’re dedicated to their well-being. This is an important way to keep them engaged on a day-in, day-out basis.

Creating a positive workplace doesn’t just happen and it’s not the result of having a charismatic company president or entrepreneurial founder. Those personalities set the tone, but it’s the setting, furnishings and small perks that show people that they’re important.

This will encourage buy-in from them and that makes it easier to retain top talent. Engaged employees who want to do their best leads to a tremendous competitive advantage in the marketplace.

What creates a great office varies from one industry to another and from culture to culture. This leads to a feeling of “We’re in this together” and the forms cohesive units.

Studies by the organization Great Places to Work reports that a sense of community is the biggest driver of employee engagement in the United States and Canada.


Photo: Trendway Semi-Private Workstations

Several companies in California made the Great Places to Work’s list of small to medium-sized companies including Network Capital in Irvine; WestPac Wealth Partners in La Jolla; and Invoca in Santa Barbara.

In Europe, fairness is critical and “psychological safety” is prized in Latin America. Workplaces in Asia and the Middle East were shown to be the unhappiest work environments.


Photo: Trendway Workspaces

Get Expert Input

The 2010 Space Planning Strategy helps you prioritize and create a positive work environment.

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs. Call or submit your questions.

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: Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity
Main Photo by: Trendway
Resources & Special Thanks to: Investopedia, Harvard Business Review, Great Places to Work & Respective Product Manufacturers: Trendway, DeskMakers, Global, HON, Krug and OFS

Using Cubicles for a Competitive Advantage in Your Workplace

Using Cubicles for a Competitive Advantage in Your Workplace

Walking into an office cubicle has the same reputation as being forced below deck on an ancient Roman ship. Sit down, grab an oar and row. In other words, do your work or else.

Cubicles in popular culture are seen as creativity killers and depression inducers. The partitioned office layout is supposed to take the potential for a competitive advantage and crush it into conformity.

Meanwhile, an open office supports collaboration and productivity, right?

Wait. Not so fast. Workers want privacy in order to focus. Cubicles are a type of modular furniture that define personal space and can adapt to a changing office environment.

Look at the many benefits of modular furniture.

What is Modular Office Furniture

Modular office furniture is pre-made and either ready to assemble or easily moved together or apart. Workstations can be customized for different office space requirements and for the personal preferences of employees.

The components make it possible to have a desking solution for one or two people and then easily add more workstations as needed.

Reasons to Use Modular Office Furniture

Modular office furniture is a perfect solution for companies of all sizes.

Start-up companies can purchase a minimum number of units to get operations underway. As sales and cash flow in, more units can be purchased on an as-needed basis.

Established small businesses and corporations can use modular furniture for freelance and seasonal workers who need workstations on an as-needed basis. This style of office furniture lends itself well to creating collaborative workspaces.

Employees typically want a say in their surroundings. They can easily personalize cubicles, desks and modular shelving.

Businesses that have a lease and will likely move to new surroundings within a few years can buy modular furniture that’s easy to disassemble and store.

Open office floor plans can install modular partitions and architectural walls to create private areas that reduce noise and define individual and department work spaces.

Types of Modular Office Furniture

Look around an office and notice how many items have a modular solution like seating and shelving. Pull modular lounge chairs together quickly and easily for informal meetings. Push them apart when personal space is needed.

Let’s look at one of the most popular types of office equipment—cubicles.

Cubicles can be configured for varying degrees of privacy and collaboration. They work for individuals who want their own well-defined space, and cubicles can be used for individuals or teams who need to work cooperatively.

The components like walls, work surfaces, drawers and shelving can be set up according to workflow demands. Cubicles can have doors and clear partitions so workers don’t feel walled out. Different color options make cubicles attractive so they blend in well with a company’s brand.


Photo: Trendway Snap Workspace

Here’s a fact you likely don’t know:

The cubicle versus open office tug-of-war heated up decades ago.

The Original Need for Cubicles

The legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed an open office layout for Johnson and Johnson in the 1930s. That standard held until the mid-1960s when a designer with office furniture maker Herman Miller created an active office. The layout promoted personal space and focus.

Thus, the cubicle.

In the 2000s, up and coming tech start-ups embraced the open office concept once again.

What about now?

More options exist for cubicles than ever before.

Read on and see how to make decisions based on your company goals and the 2010 Space Planning Strategy.


Photo: Friant Novo Workstations

Understanding Cubicles

Gray carpeting on cheap aluminum partitions are gone. Instead, cubicles have color combinations that can reflect any company’s brand colors. Arrange the many different styles to support personal focus, communication within departments and company-wide collaboration.

Project teams that need back and forth dialogue on the client-challenge-of-the-month can use one type of layout while the finance department can use another style.

According to this description from the website Dimensions.Guide cubicles:

  • Offer Privacy
  • Buffer Noise
  • Reduce Visual Distractions


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

Companies that have an open office floor plan can use cubicles to create a hybrid office plan where some space is open and other work areas are partitioned and designated for individuals or small teams.

Cubicles no longer fit one stereotype. Some products are similar to long tables with workers sitting across from each other. Privacy screens several inches or higher form a personal workspace.

Other cubicles look like small private offices with partitions that create a three-sided setting by blocking workers to the right and left.

Cubicles can also be in a fan-shaped style and act as pods to fit three or four workers in the same department.

Now see how you can make this well-known office accessory benefit your workplace.

Know How You Want Your Cubicle to Function

Match the style of cubicles to the needed function. Standard cubicles typically allow from 6 feet 6 inches of individual workspace to 6 feet 8 inches. Cubicles for managers can be designed with a larger footprint.

An administrative cubicle for bookkeeping or human resources can have a desk with modular storage on one end and a place at the other end to handle computer work or in person meetings. The Friant System 2 and the HON Accelerate Workstations are good examples.


Photo: Friant System 2 Workstations


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

There can be enough space to include a chair for someone to stop in and have a conversation.

Benching cubicles are made for utility tasks like data entry while allowing for personal space and modular storage. Look into a model like the ODS Crossroads Workstation.

You can evaluate who needs what cubicle style by knowing:

  • How much repetitive work an employee has to do
  • How often that person needs to interact with others
  • The use of phone calls with customers.

Choose specific cubicle layouts to support your different office functions.

Clear company goals, supported with clearly defined workspaces and roles, create efficiency and help people work productively.

Competitive advantage: A cubicle can lead to a highly productive work environment.


Photo: ODS / Office Design Studio Crossroads Workstations

Cubicles Can Boost a Company’s Brand Internally

Appearances matter in the workplace—not showy and ostentatious—but neat, functional and inviting styles in furnishings give employees a sense of pride and belonging in the workplace.

Partition colors and clean lines look professional without being overbearing and stifling.

High end cubicles can house executive desks and cubicle workstations can fit easily within an open office layout. Workstations are flexible and space can easily be added as the company expands and new hires are made.

People see the investment made when they settle at their workstations and can buy in to the brand promise being made to the outside world.

Competitive Advantage: Cubicles are flexible and can lend to collaboration or privacy as needed.


Photo: ODS / Office Design Studio Crossroads Workstations

Cubicles Can Channel Workflow

Direct the workflow of individuals into a complete whole with well-defined cubicle pods, cubicle benches and products like architectural walls.

If you have a few people who are making outbound sales calls, they can have one style of cubicle with partitions in an area of the office. Further set the space apart in a green and pleasing manner using indoor plants and crafted bookcases.

A project team can have their own style of workstation where they can focus on their own work individually, yet easily turn around and communicate with others.

Set apart a meeting space using floor to ceiling walls that are clear and that easily install with no construction mess.

Competitive Advantage: Clarity reduces office stress when people know what’s expected of them and how their work reaches the company’s goals.


Photo: HON Abound Workstations

Cubicles Support People

An office has equipment and furnishings, but the reality is talented people need support in their work. The right layout leads to effective planning and communication. Don’t use cubicles just to house workers, but:

  • Respect their space
  • Involve them in layout and needs discussions
  • Implement a solution that’s satisfactory

Partitioned office spaces have another benefit: Wellness

A Sage Journals’ abstract of a study on healthiest office environments showed that the “Best health was among employees in cell offices and flex offices. Workers in these types of offices and in shared room offices also rated the highest job satisfaction.”

Competitive Advantage: An engaged workforce with people who take a personal stake in the outcome.


Photo: HON Workspace Solutions

Using Modular Desks

Modularity means being flexible and adapting to different needs. A modular desk will start with one piece such as a rectangular surface and fit one person. Add rounded sections and the desk can enlarge to serve two employees.

The concept has been used in homes for decades with dining tables that can be enlarged by adding a “leaf.”

Height adjustable desks are a form of modularity, giving employees the freedom to have the desk fit their personal need.

Modular Seating Options and Tables

Keep your office up to date with modular lounge furniture. The pieces are useful for reception areas where they lend to a cohesive design versus randomly placed chairs that are uncomfortable.

Modular lounge furniture is useful for break areas and for employees who want to pick up their laptops and work away from their normal office setting. You have options of using single, freestanding pieces or bringing the furniture together as a group.

Each solution has a clean, contemporary design, fits a variety of interiors and can be arranged at a moment’s notice.

The Encore Dabble Modular Lounge has straight and curved benches.

Need power ports? Those can be added to products made by Krug Zola where the components link together using brackets. The power connections can be mounted flush on the side or under the seat.

A unique seating option is the Encore Particles Modular Lounge. Pieces taper inward or outward and “nest” against each other for the fit you want.

Modular furniture lends itself to creating a comfortable and pleasant environment, a trend that will continue in office design.

Now what happens when meeting and presentation needs change?

The solution is using modular tables.

Products like the Krug V2 Modular Table has cabinets that can handle flat screen televisions weighing up to 200 pounds. There are 12 modular shapes for the tops and additional shapes for corners.

Instead of worrying about change, modular office solutions help you prepare for it.

Modular Furniture is Designed for Long Term Use

You may wonder how sturdy modular furniture is. Foundational parts and connections are made from steel and aluminum. Quality products are sturdy and built to last even though they’re flexible and one person can assemble many of the available products.

It’s not just the materials that are built to last. Trends in office design and functionality matter, too.

Modular workstations and accessories like sofas are highly functional in many different settings and will continue growing in popularity. Some of the trends include making pieces that cross-over from a work environment into public spaces like museums and homes, as noted in dezeen magazine.

Italian designer Luca Nichetto’s approach is to create pieces that are “universal” to “suit various environments.” One sofa is designed to fit in a corporate lounge, art gallery and a homeowner’s living room.

Public spaces and work settings continue to have elements that were once found only in homes.

Today’s furniture reflects changes taking place throughout society and in every industry. Even healthcare office space can benefit from modular furniture. Patients receive consultations and treatments in one-room clinics, mixed-use commercial buildings and community centers.

Furniture is available to fit all settings and to have a welcoming presentation.

Modular Office Furniture is Ergonomically Sound

Ergonomics is the study of people in their working environment as noted in this definition of ergonomics from the University of North Carolina. The goal is fitting the environment to fit the employee’s needs so they can be healthy and avoid physical strains when working.

Sitting in a cubicle isn’t a passive activity. We’re bending to reach for files, leaning to see the computer screen or turning our necks to cradle a phone.

Modular furniture supports a person’s natural movements and allows for good posture when sitting or standing.

Get the Expertise You Need

Make cubicles work for you and your team. Ask 2010 Office Furniture about their space planning strategy so you can create the efficiencies you need to reach your goals.

The 2010 Office Furniture 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: Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity
Main Photo by: Friant
Resources & Special Thanks to: Dimensions.Guide, Sage Journals, Dezeen, UNC & Respective Product Manufacturers: Friant, HON, ODS / Office Design Studio & Trendway

Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity

Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity

Your office may have plenty of desks, chairs and computers but, as you’ll agree, that doesn’t mean the layout and floor plan are designed for the greatest possible level of productivity.

A productive office layout that helps everyone get their jobs done isn’t something you just pick up at an office supply store like Staples or Office Max. A well-planned office space isn’t a commodity—it’s unique to your work environment and what you want to achieve.

Before looking at the elements that create a favorable place to work, consider why you want to plan your office layout.

Here’s an easy hint.

  • Question: Who comes into work each day?
  • Answer: The people.

Your office layout’s goal is to support people so they can function at their optimal level.


Photo: OFS Staks Workstations

Talking about an office layout and furnishings to help us work efficiently seems old school. Most chatter focuses on digital smart tools and the Internet of Things.

Offices have been so taken for granted that we forget that workstations, partitions, and even the break room are intended to support people and the outcomes they’re trying to achieve.

So what has to change to make your office more than just a functional space? Before jumping into the solutions, let’s first get an understanding of what is an office layout.

Defining an Office Layout

write-up by Rivier University noted the importance of taking a holistic approach to designing a work environment. Most layouts will only consider how the furniture and equipment like printers and copiers are arranged.

Here’s something else you need to include: space.

Adequate space for employees to work and take breaks can reduce stress and help them to focus.


Photo: Nevins Leaf Living Walls

Make the office appealing. Aesthetics play a key role in how pleasing the environment is for employees. Use soothing colors and let as much natural light as possible flow in. Indoor plants are attractive and they can freshen air and are proven to boost morale.

Types of Office Layouts

Planning and designing the office workspace will depend on the type of work needing done and the physical space limitations. Here are three main types of offices:

  • Open plan offices
  • Offices with private rooms
  • Hybrid office layouts


Photo: OFS Range Open-Plan Benching

An open plan office works well with fast-paced organizations where groups need close collaboration. Start-up tech companies made the concept popular. This layout is seen as budget-friendly since there are no or few walls to re-configure as space needs change.

Offices with private rooms benefit companies where individuals like attorneys and healthcare professionals have confidential client meetings in person or over the phone. This plan is associated with hierarchical companies where the president is known for having the large, stereotypical private office.

Hybrid office layouts have both open floor space and areas that are partitioned. A mostly open space is divided by modular cubicles or workstation pods that are grouped together. This layout is popular in companies like call centers or banks where some privacy is needed.


Photo: Trendway Volo Walls

3 Basic Tips for Designing a Productive Office

Keep the following principles in mind if you’re wondering how to plan a new office layout.

  • Communication is Key

Create an office layout that works well by understanding how much inter-employee communication needs to take place and how often departments need to collaborate.

Who does most of the communication? Does a project manager handle assignments from various teams? If so, this person, or small team, can be in a central location and act as a hub.

Do managers from different departments frequently share information in-person?

Create a central location where they can meet without interrupting those doing their work.

  • Break Areas are Essential

People need to step back from their daily tasks and take a breather. In an open office setting, workers still need quiet places to think, do some work privately or take phone calls.


Photo: OFS Coact Modular Lounge

Designate break areas that can be temporary work-free zones.

  • Keep Open Spaces

Don’t cram and pack people together. Provide space between workstations so workers don’t feel cramped. It’s like white space on a page.

If you see a printed page or webpage that’s jam packed with words, your eyes will glaze over and you won’t want to keep reading. White space is inviting and lets the reader skim the text. Open spaces inside an office are also inviting and welcoming.

Crowded spaces backfire, even in open office settings. People block each other out instead of collaborating. Architects and interior decorators won’t guide you through the layout process so you need to customize your space.

The lack of personal space is the biggest threat to a productive office, according to design publication Dezeen.com, as described in an article Open-plan office design is preventing workers from concentrating, study finds.

A well-designed office space creates enough privacy for employees to focus on the challenges in front of them and allows for collaboration.

This give-and-take approach to space planning is the 2010 Space Planning Strategy.

  • Ask Employees for Input

Create employee engagement by asking people to give input on what works well in their personal workspace. Get their feedback on their personal experience of what works well and what improvements can be made.

If you don’t want to overhaul a layout, but improve it then see which of the typical problems your office is experiencing.

Office Layout Problems to Correct

Do you recognize the following list of challenges in your office?

  • Distracting Noise
  • No personal space
  • Increased risk of catching colds, illness
  • Regular interruptions
  • Reduced job satisfaction with higher risk of talent turnover

Critics blame the open office. However, offices with thick cement walls can create a bunker mentality and make people feel blocked off and left out.

The office space itself is neutral. It’s how you plan the layout that impacts workers. Both introverts and extroverts can function in an open office plan, as noted in an article on the website of Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM).

The most satisfying office layout for workers is one where people have a choice in where and how they manage their work. An effective office plan can have a variety of private and open spaces.

Strategies to Tackle Office Layout Issues

Make an office as appealing and productive as possible by balancing the need for privacy with the need for collaboration.

This is challenging since there are seating arrangements that are communal like open plan benching. Open plan benching is a long work surface. Desking solutions like the ODS Artiv Open Plan Benching can have attractive privacy screens attached to create personal workspace.

When employees in an open benching situation need extra privacy, let them use the offices of those who are on vacation or family leave.

Reduce noise in an open-plan benching arrangement by installing cubicle-like partitions or bookcases holding plants and fabrics between seating areas. Use plenty of indoor plants to bring nature inside. Certain plants will absorb sound waves and refresh the air.

Install architectural walls or cubicle pods to create a conference room or designated conversation zone away from workstations. The interiors can have white boards and projectors to maximize interaction.

Create a small library or fun room as a break area.

If someone has a cold but is well enough to come to work, let them work in an area that’s away from other employees.

Develop a protocol for employees to let others know when they can’t be disturbed and need extended time to focus on a project.

An office layout that’s designed for as much productivity as possible will go beyond the placement of workstations and equipment. Other elements, like lighting, keep people alert and productive.

 


Photo: Humanscale Vessel Lighting

Lighting Design in an Office Layout

Natural light is the most important lighting system for office productivity. Open office designs allow as much natural light as possible to flow through the space.

Does your office design let workers share the light? Desks should be within twenty-five feet of windows. For those farther away, install solar tubes or office skylights if possible.

Keep artificial light at levels that are bright enough without creating glare. Offer screen protectors to shield people’s eyes if they spend long hours on their laptops or desktops.

Install lighting controls or task lighting solutions at individual workstations so employees can use the amount of light that works best for them.


Photo: Humanscale Element 790, Horizon 2.0 & Infinity Lighting

Plan to Use Quality Workstations and Ergonomic Chairs

A workstation is not just a workstation. A manager will need a cubicle layout that accommodates two or three people to have more personal meetings than a programmer or graphic designer who needs extended time alone.

The best desking solutions are modular and are designed to let people work together well.

The Desk Makers Teamworx Open Plan Desking can accommodate a few people without making them feel crowded.


Photo: DeskMakers TeamWorx Open-Plan Benching

Use benching solutions that define personal work areas such as the ODS Lift Table Height Adjustable Workstation. This is especially useful for shared workstations since each employee can adjust the surface to a comfortable height.


Photo: ODS (Office Design Studio) Lift Height Adjustable Tables

Ergonomic furniture isn’t just a passing fad. Quality chairs promote good posture and support the body’s natural movements. Armrests support the shoulders and upper back while the back of the chair should complement the body’s natural curve and provide lumbar support.

Workers stay comfortable and reduce the risk of strains in the lower back muscles, the elbows and knees.

Adjust the height of a chair so a person’s feet are comfortably flat on the floor and they can look at the computer screen without having to tilt their head forward and lean down.

Planning on what products to use and where to place them makes the most of your available space.


Photo: OFS Obeya Architectural Structures

Get the Expertise You Need

The 2010 Space Planning Strategy can show you how to accommodate your workstations and your break area so that spaces are well-defined and laid out in a logical fashion.

Make the office work for the whole person. Maximizing productivity doesn’t mean just churning through a to-do list. Instead, it’s a strategic process to provide solutions for your customers.

Invest in people by designing a layout that supports their skill set and you’ll boost the overall work environment.

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs. Call or submit your questions.

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: Choosing the Best Benching or Desking Workstations in Los Angeles
Main Photo by: OFS
Resources & Special Thanks to: Rivier University, Dezeen, SHRM & Respective Product Manufacturers: OFS, DeskMakers, Humanscale, Nevins, ODS & Trendway

Office Design Layout Best Practices

Office Design and Layout Best Practices

Setting up an office or re-designing an existing office design layout that creates efficiencies on the job and provides a welcoming atmosphere takes an understanding of corporate needs and individual behaviors. Here are the best practice principles that companies throughout Southern California can use to lay out an office.

What is the Purpose of Your Office?

Knowing the purpose of the workplace may seem obvious. Work has to get done, clients and customers serviced, and payroll met. The reason those functions exist is to support a company’s vision and mission.

A vision statement shows what a company aspires to become while a mission statement reveals how the organization carries out its daily tasks. Plan and design an office design layout that supports current work while allowing flexible options for future change.  A production company near downtown Los Angeles may plan to roll out a series that inspires residents of different races to work together in their communities, while an accounting firm in Glendale wants to be known as setting the highest possible standard of integrity.  Having a clear vision and mission statement and then making sure every employee understands why they come to work each day to a space that’s well-organized provides a competitive advantage. This boosts morale and creates a motivated workforce.

Now let’s dig deeper.

What is an Office Space?

Today’s digital world makes working remotely possible in many professional industries. But the work begins with a specific location. An office serves as a central hub of identity and communications for employees, vendors and clients.

A good example of identity is in today’s university systems. As you drive through Los Angeles, Orange Counties and the Inland Empire, you’ll notice signs for branch campuses of many different colleges and universities.  Although higher education is decentralized, the core values and mission come from a central location.  A franchise is also a good example of a central office with standards and values that’s replicated through like-minded locations.  One obvious way an office can form a clear identity is through its design and set up.

How Do Employees Use the Office?

Employees in different industries are going to use offices in their own unique ways. Knowing their needs becomes critical in creating an office design layout that serves everyone’s purpose.

For CPAs in an accounting firm who may want or need their individual space to focus and talk to clients, executive desks may be the best option. For marketing firms with designers, writers, and other creative professionals who have to come together to brainstorm and then complete their work, shared desks and workstations can work well.  Real estate brokerages have agents who are primarily out with buyers and sellers, but need an office space to copy papers, consult with their clients and sign contracts.  Know who’s in, who’s out and what percentage of time the space is needed. Understanding this will help you choose the workstations and private desks that fit your office needs.

Do Clients Use the Office?

Professional firms vary widely in how clients use an office. Small web design firms may go out 90% of the time to see clients while clinics and law firms will often have clients or possible new clients stop in.  Every office should have a multi-use space that can be comfortable for people stopping in and gatherings for staff. It can be a functional space for meetings and trainings and act as a marketing tool that convinces potential clients to do business with your company instead of a competitor.  Use a reception desk and guest chairs that invite someone to step in and sense a connection.

Office Atmosphere

Included in a well-planned office are the elements that contribute to the overall atmosphere like lighting, temperature and personal effects. Maximize Southern California’s abundant sunshine, use smart controls for energy efficiency, and create an area or defined zones for people to pull back from deadlines and the crush of work to be quiet and get refreshed.

Image Source: Friant

Creating a Great Office Design to Boost Employee Potential

Creating a Great Office Design to Boost Employee Potential

Creating a great office design that appeals to the people who work there is a recent, and important trend in office layout and planning. Does your office provide an environment that’s productive and comfortable? Have you taken a holistic look at it?  Interestingly enough, past design principles that rolled out in the 1950’s are still very strongly in play today.  Read on and learn how to evaluate your workplace to help create a great office design that can help boost employee potential.

When Offices Started Shifting

The layout of offices from the industrial era of the 20thcentury were usually set up in a hierarchy. Employees were meant to come in and serve the company with little thought given to the employee experience. Heavy manufacturing of automobiles and steel, along with aerospace, fueled much of the nation’s economy and provided high-paying jobs for executives and for laborers.  Office design and planning usually reflected the rigid patterns needed to produce the end products. The workplace was typically “rote and uninspired” as author Nikil Saval describes in his book Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace.  A new view came along during the mid-century, wrote Saval, when two German brothers who worked in the furniture business with their father started a consulting company. They saw an office as “an organic whole, made up of finely interlinking parts and an enormously complex network of paper flow.”  Their work, roughly translated as “office landscape,” led to the start of the break room and gave an early model for an open office design with limited use of mobile partitions and plants to create sections.

Questions to Ask About Your Office

The digital revolution has changed the world as much as the industrial revolution and has led to new office layouts. Flexibility, comfort and employee wellness are key. Workstations with height-adjustable surfaces and modular lounge chairs offer creative ways to meet employee needs.

Consider this to evaluate your own office styles and needs.

  • What phase is your company in: start-up with funding, a mature corporation or somewhere in between?
  • Do you have an open office arrangement, cubicles, or a mix?
  • Does the space seem cluttered or not used effectively?
  • If a new employee comes onboard, how do you decide where the new hire will work?
  • Do you have many project or freelance workers who only need occasional spaces?
  • Are your office workstations and chairs ergonomic and promote wellness?
  • Are there designated focus or concentration zones?
  • Do you use plants effectively?
  • Are wires exposed and risk being trip hazards?
  • Have you maximized the flow of natural light?

Future Proofing for a Great Office Design

Future office trends are happening right now. They include: maximizing natural light to boost morale and productivity, using energy smart devices and downloading apps to make mobile communication as seamless as possible.  In addition, designating collaborative work areas as well as separate zones set aside for personal focus will continue to put emphasis on employee well-being.

Remember, in a competitive marketplace, a well-planned office environment provides an advantage. Create an organic flow in an office layout and employees become more engaged, than if they feel they’re just showing up to a haphazard arrangement of desks and chairs.  Employees see their working environment as an extension of the company’s brand. They perform the tasks that attract customers and clients, and they’re the first to know if the brand promise is authentic or not.

Image Source: OFS Obeya