Office environments are evolving. They are changing to keep up with the way people work today in some surprising new ways. The nouveau office is a flexible, open, mixed-use space that incorporates the use of touchdown stations or places for impromptu meetings that are easy to maneuver and convert featuring lightweight tables, chairs and whiteboards.
These stations epitomize flexibility, which will become the new buzzword in office environment design for the future. Accommodating staff who work off site who move between home offices and the corporate office structure is the way of the business world today. With sales staff spread around the country and corporate offices around the globe, it has become more important to create a sense of belonging when the need arises to gather forces.
These days at any given time, about one-third of all workers in private and public sectors are working remotely. Only 30 to 40 percent of employees with desks are actually using them. Mobility is crucial to today’s workforce. In addition to their offices, many employees are working in airplanes, in hotels, at client sites and at home. They need to be supported with technology and business processes that allow them to work effectively wherever they are. Having a place to connect and feel grounded while still on the move is crucial.
Even within the workplace, mobility may require more unassigned or touchdown spaces for individuals who are out of the office for a significant portion of the day. Progressive organizations are now providing flexible spaces for employees who might be visiting from another floor, building or campus. And be ready, because these spaces often inspire collaboration and the fully charged impromptu conversations that can lead to some big corporate ideas! Growth is born out of flexibility and touching down with colleagues is no exception.
Because the nature of today’s work is so complex and unpredictable, a traditional workstation is not always the best solution for most people. So keep that in mind when refurbishing your office! Thinking ahead of the curve and incorporating a variety of flexible multi-purpose-built areas for specific activities should be accessible to all. These areas might include impromptu meeting spaces, formal meeting spaces, project rooms, individual workspaces or break out areas that make up for the shortcomings of exclusively cellular or open-plan environments. The footprints of today’s work zone are no longer one size fits all. Allowing for variable seating from sitting to standing alternatives with also will offer a lot more flexibility.
Part of creating a flexible office requires some planning ahead. On demand office furnishings not only provide your employees the best of both worlds, but they allow visiting guests the same flexibility. The benefits far outweigh the shuffling around of the past. The culture in the office becomes more productivity centric and open and far less confining. Check out this article on why you should include a touchdown space in your office!
Designing these areas should be creative with color and comfortable furnishings. Create a vibrant, comfortable oasis for your valued employees and guests who are probably road weary! There are, of course, some functional requirements, but they can be cleverly incorporated. It’s probably a good idea to have some touchdown spaces that are more private than others so conferencing can be less intrusive to surrounding workspaces. To make these transition spaces work successfully there are some must-haves:
- Lightweight convertible tables and chairs that are moveable and storable as needed
- Variable height seating
- Comfortable conversation areas for smaller gatherings
- Optional cubical space for fewer distractions and phone calls
- WiFi and full electrical access for phone charging and computer use
- Access to administrative support
Another by-product of these transition spaces is that, as you become more flexible in your office layout, you may even find new uses from some out-dated furniture, or you may decide to trade it all up for more modern transitional furnishings. For more ideas visit our Pinterest boards!
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MEET JANICE COONS: Janice assists clients seeking furniture for offices, healthcare, and higher education. Connecting your team with a vibrant, updated workspace environment where everyone can collaborate anytime, anywhere with ease is her forte. Connect with her via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 888-910-3769 x113. For more inspiration visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!