Mad Men might look great on TV, but the layers of traditional offices for each person and a secretarial pool in a space all their own have been slowly peeling away for years now.
The cubicle alternative isn’t great either. Cubes can turn a space that otherwise has great potential into a depressing, monotone landscape that’s blue, gray, and anything but inspirational.
Enter, modern office design. Here are four aspects of the 21st century office, and why they work.
Collaborative Work Spaces Encourage Bright Ideas
More and more offices lean toward a collaborative work model. When creative individuals are routinely separated by four or even just three walls, something is lost. That something is the creative spark.
Massaud Canopy creates a quiet space within a public area, allowing users to be in control of their work environment with integrated lighting, built-in bluetooth audio and hands-free mounting of devices.
With an open model, those creative ideas can easily travel to others working on the same projects without resorting to an email or phone call.
This open idea might seem like the same old great hall of cubes, but it isn’t. This is more like suites or enclaves of open spaces. Imagine riding a bike through a gallery of chairs or sitting around a fireplace while working on the next great idea. Groups of people share collaborative work space, and there may be several suites within the same office.
Quiet Work Spaces Aren’t Necessarily Sacrificed
Everyone needs time to think without distractions, even those working within the same suite. But instead of spacious offices with all of the accoutrement surrounding one open area, these are small, den-like areas designed for the concentration and focus of an individual.
The design for separate individual areas is open to a lot of possibility. Imagine a suite with open spaces, and a row of tiny, stand-alone offices that resemble miniature cabins. That’s right, cabins inside a larger suite. That’s what Pixar provides for some of their talent.
There is plenty of room to work together, but each worker has his or her own spot to get away, think, and focus on a task.
Comfort Can Make or Break the Workday
Style is a big consideration in 21st century office design. Wild colors and unusual artistic and architectural elements are everywhere, but working in a comfortable environment is still a priority.
Desks, chairs, lounges and guest furnishings aren’t just pretty, they’re designed with ergonomics in mind. The right desk and the right chair at the right height mean less fatigue. Less fatigue means happier workers.
This comfort also extends to anti-fatigue flooring, especially in areas that offer another trend, standing work stations.
Technology Frees Workers from Traditional Offices
Technology, whether work or personal, is growing toward an untethered model. Mobile devices mean people can take files and communication anywhere, and the modern office should be no different.
What use is all of the open, collaborative space when workers have to run back to a cube or desk to access the files for a project? It’s counter-intuitive.
If workers can ride a bike through an enclave, recline and watch a fish tank gurgle while brainstorming, or sit in a round of comfortable chairs in a collaboration session, the office technology model should be able to move with them. So if a company relies on hard copy files and those stored on individual computers, it’s time to think about the switch to all digital, and mobile.
The design possibilities for the 21st century workplace are open to whatever you like. The flexible workspace that Jefferson created for Mintz and Hoke, a creative design agency in Avon, CT, showcases some extraordinary examples of the directions some offices can take with their layouts.
The colors, themes, elements, and perks aren’t as important as the concept. And that concept is collaboration.
Work spaces, smaller spots to concentrate and close off the rest of the office for a while, comfort everywhere, and the freedom from tethered technology is what makes all of these elements useful. Take it all in one gulp, or integrate the elements a little at a time. It is the new work model for now, and for years to come.