Variety is indeed the spice of life, and nowhere is that more evident than in the modern office environment. Whereas workers were once tethered to spaces that held their computers, today’s technology seamlessly bridges distances and other physical limitations to make seemingly far-fetched designs a reality. And who knows? A tantalizingly impressive design may earn you a few extra clients as well.
A well-designed office space can transform your business
Do your visiting clients see a fully engaged staff occupying beautifully designed work and conference spaces, or tired old offices and inefficient cubicles with distracted workers?
A rigid approach to office design is moving aside to make room for more creative activities and the human connections that lead to greater personal and organizational success in all types of businesses. Architects are leading the movement to embrace more flexible workspace designs.
Studies point to declining enthusiasm among workers for their jobs, across all industries. In response, architects are creating workspace designs that foster innovation, provide readily available places for collaboration, and offer distraction-free hubs for independent activities. Even more impressively, all of that is taking place in less space than ever before.
Good design does not come off the shelf
In today’s human-focused workspaces, space planning has changed radically; there is no one solution. Instead, architects are pushing aside the outdated concept of corner offices with windows for management and a mass of centrally located stations for everyone else. The old office design benchmarks, believed to encourage greater productivity, are a thing of the past.
In addition, large conference rooms are rarely used as planned; the square footage devoted to them is often wasted. Instead, architects are using small bursts of that space, scattered about in convenient settings, where a few people can almost instantly connect and just as quickly move back to more focused activities.
Good design results when there is clear communication between the occupant and their architect. For an open office space to be effective, the designer must understand how a business operates, its goals, its brand, and its identity, along with its culture.
Balancing open and closed spaces
Motivating workspaces and a collaborative environment can attract clients, foster productivity, and promote your company. A few open office approaches are uniformly recognized as encouraging innovation. First among them is the provision for varied workspaces. Open and connective spaces lead to greater teambuilding and collaboration, but there is also a need for individual spaces where anyone can go to focus on a complicated activity. Labeled "hubs" or "havens" by the experts, these spaces are considered critical to the success of an open office. The best designs allow an individual to decide what type of space they need for the task at hand.
Offices with varied workspaces provide a balance between the needs of workers and the work underway. Open and closed spaces need to coexist, but also need to be mingled. Whatever your needs are, an architect can help find the best mix to transform and grow your business.
About the author: Elena Marcheso-Moreno writes about architecture and design from McLean, Virginia.