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Cubicles, offices and collaboration

In the working world today, evolving fashions, tastes, work schedules and work style preferences are shaping how an office functions. Businesses today need to balance different behaviors and work styles to create efficiency and productive work spaces for every employee who walks through the door.

The primary need we see in office design today is flexibility – where employees sit, stand or lounge to accomplish their work; how a room or space is used, whether for private focus or a team meeting; and the ways employees engage with each other to promote innovation and build relationships.

Providing an office that adheres to each person’s needs to be productive is possible, even on a budget.

Open spaces vs. cubicles & private offices

bizinsights-national-business-furniture-sample1There is difference of opinion on how to organize the office that can be seen as Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z come together in the workplace. While many companies have embraced the new trend of open concepts, there’s still push-back from employees who are used to their private, assigned cubicle or office. Trends are moving toward a more open concept, with freedom to work from various locations, as Millennials and Gen Z join the workforce. This portion of the staff is continuing to grow and influence how the office is laid out and work conducted.

Open spaces, cubicles and private offices can live harmoniously in one office. The cubicle walls can be lowered, and even have removable dividers instead of a permanent fixture. Open space doesn’t need to be a large portion of the office – it can be as simple as adding a grouping of armchairs in an alcove or providing lounge furniture to a common area to offer a cozy spot to curl up and work in luxury. Making a space feel more relaxed or like home gives users a sense of calm that will enable them to enjoy their work and be inspired in a more low-pressure setting.

Sometimes a private space is needed to focus and provide the quiet some employees need to produce their work. These private offices can be assigned or open for any employee to take advantage of, and can be used as an impromptu meeting place for team collaboration.

Technology = mobility

bizinsights-national-business-furniture-sample2Many companies now provide employees with their own laptops which they can take anywhere in the office, or even telecommute. The flexibility to be mobile within the office and find inspiration or solitude to work means businesses need to provide different types of spaces to allow for productive work – open space for collaboration, private office or cubicle for focus, touch points and meeting rooms for group work.

Health & wellness built into design

Businesses can promote employee wellness through an active design of the office. This is the practice of designing a workplace that inherently encourages mobility. Standing or adjustable height desks make excellent additions to employee workstations to give workers the option to sit or stand while they work.

Providing multi-functional, versatile spaces and furniture within an office will help make a cohesive, productive environment for each employee’s work preferences within your budget.

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Mike Brooks is the Director of Human Resources for National Business Furniture. With over fifteen years of HR experience, the southeastern Wisconsin native develops and implements strategies to guide and nurture employees. Mike understands that it is not one-size fits all when it comes to building a productive office space; he provides insights to help develop strategies that can construct a productive and motivated workplace.

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