(DGIwire) – Finally more corporations are starting to realize that small changes can go a long way toward keeping staff happier and more productive. The key is understanding how to give employees private space but still facilitate easy access to others while working on collaborative projects. Outdated designs based on a maze of gray and brown cubicles are being replaced with open, airy floor plans. Instead of individual “cubes,” it is becoming more common to see groups of employees sharing areas. Some of the newest office layouts include curved walls with cut-outs, which allow people to peek through and communicate. Walls are also featuring interesting accent colors. These new designs are more than just attractive; they provide real solutions to everyday workplace concerns.
Modules: New modular furniture provides the privacy of the old cubicles but allows for far more configurations. Modules can be arranged to accommodate the specific needs of each area or department. For instance, as the number of staff grows, larger executive “offices” can easily be turned into multiple workstations. Manufacturers are also paying more attention to the proliferation of laptops and cell phones by creating modular walls with additional “plug-and play” features.
Flexibility: Fewer and fewer workers sit at one desk all day. Their work areas should accommodate their need for movement. Flexible workstations allow employees to move around furniture as needed. Worktables with castors are very functional, allowing people to gather together for brainstorming sessions.
Casual: As business attire has become more casual, so has contemporary office design. Brighter colors and lighter wood finishes reflect this trend. Some high tech companies have even included lounge chairs where employees can gather to share ideas. While all of these trends are interesting, the most important aspect of any design is how it will be used. Before making any changes in your work space, consider what actions and behaviors you want to encourage or discourage. For example, open floor plans may be popular, but they do not work well for staff members whose jobs require long periods of quiet concentration. Office design, no matter how trendy and innovative, only works if it meets the needs of those who use it. If you would like to redesign your office, J. West Design Services can help you create the perfect environment for your business.
This article was contributed by Jacqueline Brathwaite-West, J. West Design Services, LLC.