The absolute certainty in life and worklife is change. Finding inventive ways to adapt to the demands of the evolving workspace starts with a flexible design. Setting a foundation for the adaptable workspace will give your office an edge and allow you to continue evolving along with your team. Designing ahead of the change will give you longterm flexibility.
Designing For Growth Potential requires some thinking ahead. No one wants to work in a huge space surrounded by empty desks. But planning for growth still needs to be on the agenda. Open plans are extremely adaptable for this challenge, but there should be secluded areas incorporated for more focused tasks. Common areas in the center and more secluded areas around the edges is a popular design trend to fit this need.
Collaboration remains a significant part of the equation. It has surpassed a trend and become a fixture in office design today. You can control how much and where in your office this is best utilized through savvy space planning and the right furnishings. Creative professions like design, marketing and advertising thrive on the energy created by open collaborative design. But the accounting department probably won’t like it, especially at month-end! Developing zones is one way of making this work to your advantage. Furnishings that allow an under utilized area to quickly adapt from touchdown spaces to full conferencing can provide controlled collaboration.
Use Adaptive Spaces are a little trickier, but will provide you with continual flexibility. Allocating at least two functions per zone will take some of the guesswork out of this process for you. Keeping it relevant is the best way to define it. For instance, with a growing sales force that you know will fluctuate in numbers and require continual training and learning opportunities, mobile furniture that can quickly transform open desking into a conference table, and later into an impromptu classroom, will maximize the usage of the space and the furnishings.
Quiet Zones should find their way into your design. Too much of a collaborative thing can wear down the creative process. Providing spaces for those needing some alone time to complete a task or a project is a must in open plan design. There is a growing demand within the open office for personal spaces that can accommodate the requirements of the lone creator. The use of modular room dividers, which can be moved elsewhere or be put into storage in a matter of minutes, can help firms provide smaller spaces when they are needed, without having to constantly redesign and refurbish the entire workspace to accommodate these needs.
Climate Control is a challenge that needs to be addressed early in the process to achieve optimal overall comfort throughout the year. Adaptive use spaces that constantly change shape may alter airflow through the overall space and can become a comfort zone issue. Planning ahead in a new office space is easier than adapting an existing space. Hiring a professional HVAC consultant would be advisable to optimize your zonal airflow.
To really get the most out of an adaptable design, you need to examine how your work practices affect your team and their environment. Continuing to do the same things in the same way may have become counter-productive and you didn’t even notice. Ask your team! They will have some valuable input centered around their personal experience.
Aside from the basics of a clean office and updated technology, the work environment has a huge impact on productivity, focus and bottomline. Taking the time to forecast a little on the design side will help you in the long run. Haworth has put together an informative white paper to open your mind to the possibilities.
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