The ideal office promotes both privacy and communication. With today’s emphasis on workplace collaboration and teamwork, the open office concept can be alluring. But it needs the right open space furniture.
Workstation design has evolved from the static cubicle to an assortment of movable and versatile furniture pieces. Employees can now organize meetings whenever they are needed, and can consult with coworkers who are just feet away.
This flexibility helps prevent the downside of the open office plan. Researchers have found that the constant accessibility can be distracting and tiring for employees.
A Harvard University study of Fortune 500 companies found that the open office concept appeared to be backfiring. Face-to-face communication among employees had decreased by 73 percent and e-mail usage increased by 67 percent.
Today, however, employees can enjoy the benefits of an open office without the drawbacks. Design trends have resulted in movable, lightweight furniture, panels and partitions.
Employees can create meeting spaces or put up privacy screens when they need them. Colleagues can set up spur-of-the-moment meetings and later find a quiet space.
Open Plan Workstations for Small Teams and Individuals
No matter how many people are working in your office, flexibility is key. With a few changes, you can transform your office beyond the sterile rows of cubicles.
Seamless Shift to Spontaneous Collaboration
Teams of two or three people often need to seamlessly shift between single workstations and collaborative spaces. One moment, team members are working individually. The next moment, someone has a creative solution that they need to share with colleagues.
Standing tables and adjacent desks allow a flow between individual spaces, facilitating spontaneous teamwork. Moving from a chair to a healthy height adjustable desk also lets employees stretch and move around during the workday.
To make communication even easier, try installing a blackboard or dry erase board in a central location. Team members can post reminders, requests, ideas or motivational quotes as they find them. No need to interrupt someone when they are trying to concentrate, or to wait several hours before they see your email. Coworkers can stay in touch without feeling pressured.
Huddle rooms are another workspace option for small teams. Interlocking tables and seating units let team members arrange a meeting space that works for them.
High-backed chairs create a sense of privacy and promote focus. Circular seating units let colleagues work face-to-face. Huddle room furniture even comes equipped with USB and power outlets for mobile devices.
Open Office Workstations For Intense Focus
If employees are not part of an ongoing team, working at a desk can become isolating. An open office workstation should let an individual focus on their work but remain able to communicate with colleagues when needed.
Consider using a combination of screens and panels to secure privacy or allow conversations when required.
Partially open partitions can create privacy while allowing some access. For example, a rolling panel can be placed in front of a workstation when an employee needs to concentrate. When it’s time for feedback or brainstorming, simply move the panel away.
Partitions can also be placed around part of a workstation, leaving one side open. This arrangement provides boundaries while allowing an employee to feel connected to their colleagues.
Modern, Collaborative Office Furniture - With Boundaries
When you have a large team, the balance between communication and privacy can be hard to achieve. A group of four to eight people needs individual workstations as well as meeting spaces.
Sometimes an idea or question just can’t wait for a conference room reservation. Removable cubicle walls and room dividers combine with movable desks to help create meeting spaces at a moment’s notice.
An office collaboration pod can accommodate small groups in a portable, private conference room.
Technology When and Where You Need It
Your electronics can be as portable as the furniture in your office space. Technology tables provide cable routing troughs that let you take your devices and laptops to the team’s brainstorming session.
Modular pieces let you add table surface to accommodate more people. Many models have recessed table legs so that no one has to feel crowded or cramped.
Technology spines are another mobility option. Located on translucent glass panels, the spines provide power and data management channels as they define meeting space boundaries. Rather than confining employees to a particular space, technology can now aid flexibility in the open office.
Desk Configurations That Work For You
Modern workstations can be configured to create a large bench or several individual desks.
One or two standup desks add flexibility and accessibility when you frequently consult with a teammate. To create boundaries, try adding privacy or modesty screens to single workstations. Removable panels can create a wall for a temporary collaboration space.
Create Variety With These Unique Open Office Workstations
Another way to perk up an open office is to create a variety of workstations that employees can choose. Color, texture and lighting are just some of the variables that can come into play. Try creating a sunny space by removing window blinds and adding bright lamps.
For example, you can use carpets in various colors, textures and patterns to mark different work areas. Also, ask team members what they would like to see in their work environment. They may suggest a simple change that would not otherwise have occurred to you.
You can even create movable “green” partitions made of living green walls of plants or moss. Try placing these partitions around workstations to create a temporary recharge and relaxation space.
Research shows that people experience a 40 percent increase in well-being when they are surrounded by plants. Imagine how added greenery could improve workplace morale.
Wood is another material that adds a natural, textured look to an open office. The wood grain and warm colors are a refreshing change from the whites and metallic grays often seen in offices. Wood countertops and desks can create a softer look than the traditional metal cubicles. Panels and partitions absorb sound and help minimize distracting noise.
It doesn’t take a huge budget to mix up colors and textures or add a private nook. You and your team can get creative and make your own workstation accessories. Whether you’re a startup or an established brand, options include
- Artwork on panels
- Colorful decals on partitions
- Brand colors on furniture
- Company mission statement on panels
- Overstuffed furniture
Zenbooths for Open Office Workspace Solutions
Meetings that involve confidential or complex subject matter require a separate room. Zenbooth office booths give your team a private conference room without disruptive construction or expensive room reservations.
Our largest model, the Executive Room, provides a quiet, comfortable meeting space for up to six people. We also offer the Executive Booth XL, which comfortably accommodates smaller groups. The booths are shipped flat-packed and are easy to assemble.
Zenbooth features include
- Insulated walls to keep conversations private
- Echo-resistant aluminum walls
- Easily cleaned surfaces
- Slider pads for movability
- Plexiglass ceiling
- Quiet ventilation fans
- USB and power outlets
We also keep sustainability in mind when we develop our office booths. Interest in eco-friendly materials is increasing, and the workplace is no exception. Our booths are made from locally sourced, recycled wood, and the insulation is made from recycled denim.
Roomy and Comfortable
You want your team to feel comfortable so your meeting can go on as long as necessary. With an interior measuring 84 inches high x 84 inches wide x 84 inches deep, the Executive Room offers a roomy, well-lit space. The ventilation fans have occupancy sensors that keep the air fresh and clean as you conduct your meeting.
The smaller Executive Booth XL is an ideal space for two or three people. Its powered adjustable desk adds versatility and comfort. Like the larger model, it includes a ventilation system as well as power and USB outlets.
This model could also serve as a quiet space for one person to make a private phone call or simply recharge. Its interior measures 83 inches high x 75 inches wide x 37.75 inches deep.
In today’s open office, productivity is just one of many considerations when designing workstations.
Employee morale and health are vital to a successful workplace. The advantages of the open office can turn into disadvantages if employees can’t concentrate or feel bombarded by signs and sounds.
Mobile furniture and accessories can provide your team members with the flexibility they need. Natural materials, multi-functional furniture and quiet spaces can create a rejuvenating environment.
Zenbooths can provide quiet, private workspaces and conference rooms in an open office. You don’t need the hassle of reserving a meeting space, coordinating schedules or renovating your office. We bring the conference room to you, so that your open office can better serve you and your team.