For the last year, I’ve been majorly honing my skills in corporate office design, all the while, still maintaining a rigorous residential design business. I have met some amazing commercial designers, furniture manufacturers representatives, and business professionals that have all helped me along my way. It has become very apparent to me that office design is in the throughs of a remarkable revolution, and I’m so excited to be apart of it.
Businesses are making a major shift from employer-centric to employEE-centric. The value of a team member is being recognized as an invaluable factor to the greater success of the company, therefore there is much emphasis on enriching their spaces. As you can imagine, the expactations of the employee has grown. Team members are expected to be independent thinkers, self-starters, and extremely self-motivated to forward the success of The Whole. As this change in the workplace grows, so does the way we design businesses.
I noticed a funny thing while attending NEOCon in Chicago last year, a lobby full people, but virtually no conversation because they were all on their iPads or smart devices. Why wouldn’t they just sit in their room, and do their work in solitude? Because that’s BORING! We don’t want to be cooped up in a 250 square foot box alone, instead we would rather be proximately close to another, even if we have nothing to say to the person next of us.
PRIVACY IS OUT! COLLABORATION IS IN
An energized environment is one where ideas are spouted and plans develop. High partitions and el shaped desks are the biggest deterrent of this type of communication. Benching has become a common solution adopted by many big city companies. this semi-private solution encourages collaboration and fosters productivity.
Office lounges have become popular production stations where a group of people can huddle up with their laptops and communicate new ideas.
STAND FOR WELLNESS
Movement in the workplace has become essential, and ergonomics is a hallmark of good office design. Virtually every new office I have designed incorporates sit-to-stand desks, where the employee can alternate between a seated work position to standing one. My Human Scale rep shared with me that standing for 2 hours, burns 300 calories. Not bad for a morning work flow. Another way to encourage movement in the office is locating a central trash and recycling area, thus we have to get up and move!
Ergonomics used to be a luxury, now it’s a necessity. Monitor arms, keyboard trays, specialty seating, and desktop accessories are all used in combination when creating a healthy workspace.
Power is king. Laptops, iPad, smart phones, the list goes on and on. We do not simply use the standard desktop computer to conduct our daily work duties. Therefore we need to have ample power options, and smart ways to conduct presentations. Wi-fi and cloud-based files are must have components of every office space.