living office

The Living Office Concept

The Living Office concept was developed by office furniture manufacturer HermanMiller to embrace the fact that not everybody works the same way. In your business, exceptional teams detect problems and find solutions, all the while bringing exceptional creativity to the table. The Living Office design philosophy takes that strategy into your office design by creating a culture where individual workstyles are encouraged. Elevating the contribution and the commitment of the people spending time at the office every day.

In a 2013 survey of hundreds of organizations across six continents, HermanMiller found that between 75 to 99 percent of office managers indicated that creating spaces that facilitate employee engagement was a priority. Office design today works in tandem with envisioned leaders and management methods that strive to rise above the standardized, hierarchical, financially driven model of the industrial era to fully integrate the holistic components that enable individuals to grow and flourish within their organizations.

Even technology has taken on the more instinctive and supportive connectivity that is so important to the success of your business. Office spaces have become more casual and open to facilitate engagement. Starting conversations is how we get things done. Every year, dedicated individual workstation spaces decline by between 11 and 22 percent (depending on the region), while non-dedicated team areas are on the rise. According to HermanMiller’s research, the typical workstation is unoccupied 60 percent of the day, with private offices averaging 77 percent vacancy. Traditional conference rooms are rarely used to capacity.

You’ve probably already noticed this in your office. If you are due for a refresh, the Living Office concept is worth considering. It caters to the office needs across all generations and tasks. It’s geared for high-performing work atmospheres with the goal of helping businesses achieve their unique objectives. The Living Office embraces and enables the natural chaos of day to day business and encourages an office space design based on the way people naturally work. Providing space for collaboration, contemplation, and curated conversations. 

So just how does the Living Office benefit your workplace? Casual is the new normal, and this extends to how we conduct business. Creating a culture that supports your brand and the goals for your business is an integral part of the Living Office. Creating this kind of connected environment that supports each individual as well as their connection to the whole takes several things into consideration:

  • UTILIZE A SPACE PLANNER to evaluate your existing space, the tasks performed there, your growth trajectory and your budget. Working in tandem with management and HR professionals, a designer can help you gain the most use of your space and find a layout that makes sense for your workflow and efficiency while applying Living Office principles.
  • CONSIDER MODULAR WORKSTATIONS OR BENCHING SYSTEMS for the open collaboration aspect. They feature integrated power/data, and come in a variety of shapes and heights to meet your needs. Modular benching can be configured to include a built-in soft seating area for small impromptu meetings, and cushion topped storage cabinets for extra seating.
  • INVEST IN MOBILE FURNISHINGS that can be nested for simple storage but easy to access so you can decide how, where and whether to use them. Multi-purpose tables can be a hot desk or conference table. These pieces can multitask in your breakroom when not in use for events. Smaller tables could be useful as an extra work surface for presentations or group activities.
  • CONSIDER PRIVACY OPTIONS. Certain tasks require a little more privacy. This is the perfect opportunity for comfortable seating groups with built-in power. Creating privacy zones in underutilized corners of your office gives people a place to break away for alone tasks, or group discussions for two or three brainstormers. High backs provide a sense of privacy without closing people off completely.

Sharing information is the most necessary component of the Living Office environment. Flexibility, collaboration, and a sense of well-being in the office environment all factor into this model. Experience-driven design provides for any scenario that may arise in the workday. Integrating a Living Office design into your workspace sets a precedent for productivity. When unexpected clients stop by there is nothing that speaks to your acumen better than being prepared. Take a look at how HermanMiller put the Living Office into practice. And let’s have a conversation about how we can put this to work for you.


MEET CHELLY BELL: Chelly provides a well-rounded approach to your office furniture selection. Have a conversation with Chelly about your space planning needs. Her visionary skills will help you find the best solutions for your Living Office design. Connect with her via email chelly@officefurniturenow.com or by calling 888-910-3769 x137.