The open office is here to stay, but as walls go down, new challenges arise for architects and designers. In an office with fewer divisions and less privacy, how can one design spaces that provide emotional, physical and cognitive comfort for staff and employees?
Our research has found environments that combine comfort, function and emotional satisfaction inspire people to do their best work. We incorporate these insights into our furniture and planning ideas, and we’ve created three takeaways to consider in your next open office design.
Use furniture as architecture
Create versatile space division and enclosures while keeping the overall feel of an open, social environment by applying furniture as architecture. Booths and screens can create the feel of a conference room while remaining open to a larger environment. These spaces can serve as a spot for teams to meet and collaborate, allowing them to be separate from the large group while close to their work stations.
Create private refuges
In the midst of an open office layout, staff needs space where they can experience sight and sound privacy. Private enclaves allow employees to be easily accessible while enjoying personal focus time. Make the private spaces desirable with beautiful furnishings that support heads-down work, such as personal tables, lounge chairs and power.
Incorporate lounge destinations
It’s not necessary to always sit in a task chair, two feet on the ground, to be creative and productive. Lounge postures put people at ease, reduce stress and generally make people feel more comfortable.
Incorporate lounge destinations throughout your open office design that feature comfortable lounge furniture. Encourage staff to take advantage of the opportunity to put their feet up in the middle of the day by having leadership set an example. When staff observe leadership using the lounge settings, they’ll quickly follow suit.
Interested in our research about comfort in the office? See our 10 tips for bringing wellbeing into the workplace.
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