The new trend in office design is taking collaboration to a new level. Private companies are taking their cue from the slew of shared office concepts offed by Regis and other shared office venues. Most notably, the open concept working environments that can be found at these locations. While private offices are still essential in a private company, there is less focus on the size and design.
In today’s technologically advanced world, employees can make their desks out of any space in an office. With laptops, smartphones and iPads, employees are able to move freely about the office, taking their “desk”with them. Because of this, employees are able to work collaboratively and easily bounce ideas off of each other. After all, two heads are better than one.
Offices are now being designed with smaller private offices for phone calls and meeting while incorporating larger areas entitled break-out spaces. These break-out spaces are often seen as conference rooms, lounges and cafe areas with bench seating. With today’s high-tech generation, private offices are shrinking in size because of the growing trend of break-out spaces that encourage employees to collaborate more often. Therefore, no longer are private offices for those of a higher status, but just a space where one can have a private conversation.
NeoCon celebrated its 44th year at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart this year where the top furniture companies displayed the new office furniture trends. This year’s focus was on bench seating with no divider between the person to your side and only a minimal divider from the person directly across from you. These bench seats are a space saver, as well as a way to give employees their own space while still being surrounded by others. Bench seating is a far less bulkier version of the cubicle. As mentioned before, with portable devices and wi-fi, all the bench desk really needs is line of power outlets.
As far as private offices are concerned, there are creative alternatives. Chairs with high backs and sides have been designed for phone calls or moments of time where you may need a quick privacy. As shown in the photo, they are quite a lot smaller than a whole office and provide a suitable amount of privacy for semi-private conversations or just some quick alone time. When private spaces are absolutely needed however, for conference rooms and offices, glass wall systems are ever so popular. Glass wall systems are great because they still provide the office with a sound barrier, but they give that open feel and allow light to penetrate through the space.
Other furniture showcased at Neocon seemed to provide a “home-like atmosphere”; couches and lounge chairs with table tops attached, for example. If you don’t have the budget to purchase the higher-end products featured at NeoCon, there are always creative ways to accomplish the same goal. Recently, The DiCosola Group renovated a space for a health insurance company, using Ikea desks and dividers to create bench seating, which, in the end, turned out beautifully. What you should take from this information is that workplaces are evolving, and even on a small budget there are ways to design an office in alliance with today’s trends where private offices are becoming obsolete, and collaboration is the key.