In the global office, regardless of industry, you can count on two givens:
- Workers will increasingly depend on technology to get their work done.
- Employers will increasingly rely on collaborative teams to solve problems and reach competitive breakthroughs.
There’s no separating these two realities; they’re bound together. Technology is a pivotal element of collaboration, and collaboration is a key driver of technology innovations—the tools of modern work.
For businesses to properly support their employees in this context, they need to provide office destinations that encourage team members to engage with each other and with technology—while also providing adjacent spaces for focus and rejuvenation. Let’s look at three spaces that work together to meet these needs.
Integrated Conference Room
The banner image above shows a the E-Table 2 conference table with integrated power and data outlets in the tabletop. Team members don’t have to worry about tripping over cords when they jump from their chair (in this case, SW_1 Conference Seating) to illustrate an idea at the whiteboard.
This tech-enabled conference room also provides a big-screen wall display for screen-sharing, presentations and videoconferencing. Advanced AV technologies make team meetings and remote collaboration easier.
When Steelcase and Microsoft joined forces to explore the future of work, they introduced a series of technology-enabled Creative Spaces that mirror—and encourage—the new ways people are working.
One of these spaces, the Maker Commons, is a warm, communal setting with both lounge and perch seating, plus fixed and mobile technologies that support solo and group work. It’s a perfect space for collaborative teams because it intentionally blends furniture and technologies in ways that let creative work unfold more naturally.
Spaces like the Maker Commons make it easy for team members to switch between conversation, experimentation and focused work in a networked environment.
This Creative Spaces Maker Commons features the slender Potrero415 Light Table and the wall-mounted Microsoft Surface Hub, an interactive multimedia whiteboard.
Enclave with Options
Of course, employees don’t need to be connected all day, every day. Unplugging is part of the rhythm of work, too. But they do need ready access to technology anytime. Enclaves with integrated technology put individuals in charge of their alone time.
The Lagunitas Lounge System offers built-in power options and versatile privacy screens so you can create personal enclaves.
Creating spaces like these three examples is part of a strategy to provide what our global design director, John Hamilton, describes as “a plurality of settings that give employees the choice over where, how, and with whom they want to work at any given time, based on what they’re trying to accomplish.”
For more great ideas on integrating technology and creative collaboration in office design, visit our Inspiration Gallery.