Creating a space that can be easily adapted to fit the times
With each passing day, it seems as if the office is on the frontier of a brave new world. The combination of globalization, shifting demographics, advances in technology, economic pressures, and increasing ability to work from anywhere are coming together to change the design model of workspaces.
Rather than throwing out the old to make room for the new, it’s imperative for today’s office designers to create spaces that are able to smoothly evolve to meet the challenges and changes that are around the corner.
The future is people
In the past, office design was often defined by trends. Remember the mad rush to take down walls to create cubicle cities, or to remove cubicle partitions in favor of wide-open spaces? Missing from each of these decisions was the human factor, how people make use of available resources to do what they have to do.
According to Allsteel, it’s imperative for designers to consider work behaviors and patterns. “People work in a wide variety of places, many of which are not designed to support their work needs and behaviors.”
If there is little control over available resources, and if those resources are unable to adapt to changing requirements, then those same resources can either enable or limit work practices.
Consider the employee who flees for the coffeehouse down the street to get work completed, or the staff member who chooses a stairwell or a poorly lit corner with a power source to achieve focus.
Flexibility is key
We already know that technology will continue to advance, that people are people, and that the first will always alter how humans work. That’s why flexibility is a critical element in all aspects of office design – from furniture selection to space utilization.
No matter the technological changes, humans will always be engaged in tasks that require group collaboration and/or quiet focus, either in-house or remotely.
Unfortunately, there is no easy formula for determining a balanced ratio between open and closed spaces, team conference rooms and private work areas. That can only be determined by understanding the needs, work processes, culture, and tasks required by each individual company.
Meeting the needs of today and tomorrow
To help foster a smooth transition between today and tomorrow, Allsteel has developed NetWork, a support platform for work that is based on thoroughly understanding work and how it is carried out, and appropriately provisioning employees with the necessary resources to complete tasks. In other words, the support platform is both process and product.
In terms of design, it’s essential for designers to consider the changing definition of the workplace. Design decisions must encompass a range of home, office, third place (public spaces) and fourth place (specialized third place sites specifically designed for work on a drop-in basis) work options, as well as the needs of the mobile and stationary workers.
- What do workers need in order to make them effective at any location?
- What needs are not satisfied by settings that are currently available?
- What settings and provisions are needed to complement those and to fulfill the unmet needs?
Answers to these questions, as well as careful pattern and behavioral analyses, leads to design that is purposeful rather than generic.
South Florida design with a purpose
Compass Office Solutions believes proper design for the future is cost-effective today. That’s why we’ve made design and ordering easy by moving all phases of the process online. To speak with a member of our design team, call us at 954.430.4590 or fill out our online form to get started.