Successful workplaces to harmonize
productivity and collaboration

Photo courtesy and used with permission by One Workplace

The open-plan office continues to be popular for companies seeking a leaner, more mobile work environment. At the same time, critics cite excessive noise levels and lack of privacy as major concerns for open-plan spaces.

But a new report suggests that successful open-plan offices are all about thoughtful design. In other words, planning every last square foot matters, and companies who want happy, productive employees should think carefully about how their employees will best use the space.

Along with her design team, Stephanie Hamilton, a Senior Project Manager at The Bridge Group, recently completed an open-plan office design for a Silicon Valley medical services company. Here, she shares a few ideas that enable collaboration, concentration, and privacy.

1. Work Lounges

Sit-down work lounges can help organizations optimize their real estate by delivering a high-performance workspace in a more compact footprint.

Place work lounges in your office’s perimeter to offer heads-down work without interruption.

The design team suggested Steelcase’s Brody WorkLounge seating solution, which provides more privacy in open layouts and incorporates ergonomics for the user into its overall design. However, a Herman Miller product was implemented for the client instead. The team arranged these lounges around the office window’s perimeter so employees could enjoy outdoor views, designate heads-down space and truly focus on their work without interruption.

Consider placing similar solutions around window areas to embrace biophilic design and bring a sense of privacy to employees.

 

2. Huddle Rooms

During Stephanie’s project, the client’s HR and engineering departments expressed a need for heads-down work, privacy, and the ability to take video conferencing calls in the same space.

Huddle rooms, which hold between two to four people and incorporate video conferencing technology, provided the ideal solution. This setup was especially important for HR, who needed additional privacy frequently to talk about confidential matters.

We recommend introducing a reservation system for these rooms so that employees can sign up in advance to use the video features. Since these spaces are also ideal for holding interviews, consider placing a couple near reception and a few in the middle of an office’s floor plan.

3. Benching Solutions

For benching solutions, the client needed something as modular as possible to fit many different teams, individuals, working styles, and tasks.

Stephanie and her design team recommended Herman Miller’s Canvas Channel workstations for their needs. It’s a freestanding structure with height-adjustable desks and clean, simple boundaries between workstations. They also proposed and implemented mobile whiteboards and automated panels to configure workstations around the office.

For your own workspace, consider the different working styles at your company and how these modular benching solutions can accommodate those needs.

4. Phone Booths

One-man phone booths were another invaluable addition to the client’s office when it came to addressing privacy needs. The single phone booths, also from Herman Miller, provided a place for all of the client’s employees to step away from the noise to make private phone calls.

Some offices require larger solutions than a one-person booth can provide. In this case, similar solutions such as One Workplace’s Architectural Solutions, integrate acoustics, air circulation, removable roof panels, and lighting and power sockets into pod-like spaces around the office.

Companies planning open offices should consider some of these options for their designs. And since there are more products and solutions on the market than any Facility Manager could possibly sift through, it can help the process along to have an experienced PM assist you.

Ready to start designing your open office workplace but need guidance on privacy and collaborative work solutions? Reach out today for solutions tailored to your company’s needs.