With many of us spending so much time at work, Office Design is changing. Office Design is beginning to look more like our homes. This article takes a look at how Office Design is changing.
By Dean Molz, VP of Business Development, COFCO
We have seen a tremendous evolution in Office Design in the last 35 years. The freestanding “tank” desk with a typewriter stand was the standard at one point. In came the “cubicle” – a modular wall that provided privacy, and data connectivity. We’ve since seen the cubicle “farm” go by the wayside in favor of open office space. Corner Offices – well moved out of the corner, and the completely “open plan” with non-assigned seats came in vogue. Am I showing my age??
All interesting concepts, with a lot of buzz words.
So, what’s next? According to Jeff Pochepan of StrongProject, Inc., there’s no place like home – unless your office can recreate it. This is an interesting trend, of which you will see signs of at COFCO’s newly renovated Resource Center. It is called close-tohome design.
On average we spend 35% of our waking hours in the office. That’s a lot of time. Therefore, our clients are listening to the wants and needs of their workforce now more than ever. They are also paying attention to what recent graduates are looking for, given the recent influx of millennials in the workforce. This makes for good business, and is a time when we must compete to attract and retain top talent for future generations.
What is it? It’s the simple idea of making your office feel more like home – a place where you are relaxed, have no trouble putting in more hours and feel comfortable doing so. A place that creates a sense of community where you can collaborate with colleagues, work anywhere and in a variety of different types of spaces, based on what you need and want at the moment.
The institutional breakroom has turned into a café. A place where more intimate lighting, restaurant style comfort, and large café’ tables inspire casual conversation. A place to bond, share a meal, and where some of the best inspiration can happen. Maybe the happy hour can come to us, instead of going out to the corner restaurant.
The board room has turned into a living room of sorts. Where more comfortable couches make conversation feel more like friends having a get together, than doing business. This is a space where you may be encouraged to formulate ideas, before they become formal presentations. A place where you enjoy spending time, and can put your feet up.
The office space is more bright, open and collaborative. We are creating a sense of community where you can collaborate, see, talk and mingle with my colleagues. A place where meetings can be simple conversations in the hallway and ideas can come casually and without pretense; where decisions can be made and executed in a flash. It’s about fostering a culture of involvement. The saying “two heads are better than one” has real meaning.
Some common ideas include:
- Game rooms
- Yoga rooms (generally in the vicinity of onsite exercise facilities)
- Food trucks
- Living room style conversation pits
- Quiet spaces designed like a study
- Phone rooms
- Outdoor spaces
How far should you go?? Your individual culture will determine the answer to that question. Here at COFCO, we have created a sense of relaxed professionalism. This is a perfect blend of comfort, design, collaboration and culture.
Creating this comfort is so intrinsic, that people relax when they enter their workplace. Just like you would when you get home from a long day. We put in longer hours than ever at work now. Technology has allowed us to work “anywhere, and at any time”. Why not create a space where people won’t HAVE TO go to work every day, they’ll WANT TOO.