Two white outdoor lounge chairs with white coffee table with decorative plant, against dark wooden wall.

The Benefits Of Ancillary Spaces In The Modern Workplace

Today’s employees can often can work anywhere, anytime. As a result, many organizations are offering ancillary spaces that are more informal and have a “third place” vibe – like a coffee shop or a hotel lobby. From the café to lounge seating, outdoor furniture or enclave, these types of casual environments are a rising consideration in workplace design. In this month’s news aggregate, we explore a few ways that ancillary settings make a positive impact.

Residential Influences

One of the key factors driving the shift toward ancillary spaces is a desire for comfort in the office. Rather than the rigidity of more formal workstations, ancillary settings often have a residential sensibility with a more relaxing atmosphere.

Inc. proposes “tranquil spaces” like a Zen room with flexible furnishings to help foster creativity and enhance productivity. Meanwhile, Business Insider highlights the library at hedge fund Two Sigma, a retreat for a quiet solo escape.

Fast Co. Design features the Japan headquarters of Fast Retailing (fashion brand Uniqlo’s parent company), which features lounges that resemble outdoor gardens. Allied Works Architecture incorporated lounge chairs, sofas and wood tables throughout to help people feel at home.  

Organizations are realizing the need for employees to be able to rejuvenate and recharge, and ancillary settings are a key element in this endeavor.

Two white, round tables with black and white office chairs and round, copper style hanging ceiling lights.

Versatility & Variety

Ancillary spaces are a welcome alternative to a person’s primary personal workspace, offering choice of space when a change of pace and perspective is needed. In a roundup of cutting edge media and tech headquarters, Interior Design highlights the Saatchi & Saatchi Group London offices, with a reception desk that transitions into a coffee bar for the café.

CNBC discusses Apple Park and its divisions into “modular sections” or different pods for socializing, collaboration and other activities. As the campus is home to more than 12,000 employees, varied spaces help accommodate the range of teams housed together. Architectural Digest also delves into the importance of variety in a discussion of Capital One’s 2017 Work Environment Survey, noting “reconfigurable spaces “varied furniture options” and dedicated spots for “relaxation, wellness and socializing” as key needs for the modern workforce.

Supporting different work styles and promoting a culture of choice is a growing priority as employers manage up to five generations simultaneously. Companies with ancillary areas are adjusting to this shift by providing diverse options with the LessThanFive Chair and Montara650 Table, and encouraging people to work where they feel most inspired.  

Large blue sectional with grey dividers, a large white coffee table with decorative plant and books and large floor to ceiling windows.

Community & Rapport

Ancillary settings that help foster a sense of community are gaining steam as informal, spontaneous meetings and creative collaboration become increasingly essential for innovation.

Bisnow explores Salesforce’s first Ohana Floor, a community area developed as a place to support and welcome “employees, partners, customers and communities.”  Forbes interviews the Vice President of Workplace Solutions and a Workplace Strategist from Capital One, who comment on the importance of social areas and the need for spaces that offer opportunities to relax and cultivate relationships.

In a discussion of the Capital One 2017 Work Environment Survey, Metropolis Magazine acknowledges: “Nearly two in three office professionals believe that workplace design is equally as important or more important than the workplace location.” Employees are looking for more a comfortable, versatile and social experience in the office, opening up opportunities for ancillary spaces to move to the center of workplace design.  

Published On: September 27, 2017
Filed under: Design News

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