Tag Archives: Get the Most Out of Your Office Space
How our work environments and the use of architectural walls will change due to the COVID‐19 pandemic is changing daily (and sometimes hourly). Since many of you have asked my thoughts on the future of office architectural walls, I thought I would point to eight factors to watch. Much like the world changed after 9/11 and the 2008 recession, I fully expect the world to change after this global pandemic. As the world goes back to work and social distancing morphs into professional distancing, (and assuming the economy comes back quickly compared to 2008), I would offer these trends to watch.
1. Growth in Wall Market:
While the office footprint will shrink (many people have been working from home, and this will carry forward for some), the use of architectural walls in offices will continue to rise. I have already seen an uptick in inquiries around glass partitions, space separators and demountable offices. This should not be a surprise; glass lets natural light in, shows transparency and is a good space divider. As companies balance expensive office real estate, open floor plans and small group interactions, the real growth will be in open space dividers such as Allsteel Beyond Pavilion and Allsteel Viz
2. Room Size Will Shrink:
Conference rooms will morph into smaller huddle and collaboration spaces. Wework is cutting conference rooms in half to keep groups to a manageable and comfortable size. Collaboration will be important…just in smaller groups and with walls that meet the needs.
Video conferencing will continue. Technology will be required in each collaboration space, and it will be important
that camera and audio connectivity are seamless. Architectural walls have an important role to play in this transformation, as demountable partitions have great acoustics, technology integration and correct camera angles.
4. Traffic Patterns:
More thought will be given to how workers move through and in and out of office spaces. Adding an extra door to a conference room might help as “professional distancing” lingers with us for some time to come.
5. Air Quality:
Buildings will move away from minimal standards of fresh and clean air. Wall dealers will need to
partner with clients and designers around diffusor and circulation locations for better, fresher and cleaner air.
6. Healthcare Moves to the Office Environment:
Easily cleanable surfaces will be a focus, so there will be fewer fabric wall panels and wall materials that are difficult to clean. Look for manufacturers to follow some of the creative surfaces that healthcare uses and adapt them to business settings.
7. Fewer Touch points:
COVID-19 has made us keenly aware of how many things we touch every day. One of the most intriguing ways this will manifest itself will be in architectural walls with auto door openers and doors that swing both ways that you can push with your feet.
8. Changing Materials will be in Focus:
While some amazing new inventions are coming out from Hong Kong around self-cleaning door hardware using both photocatalytic and blacklight technology, older metals like copper, brass and bronze will make a strong comeback.
Bob Batley, COFCO
I am sure I will amend and change this list as we move forward, but it is a good way to get the conversation started. So, what did I miss? What do you see coming? I cannot wait to hear what your predictions! Bob Batley is the Vice President of Architectural Products at COFCO, a mid‐Atlantic regional commercial furniture and walls solution provider. With over 35 years of executive leadership in the hospitality, commercial construction, and work environment fields, Bob consults, speaks, and is a thought leader when it comes to the challenges of today’s fierce competitive work environments. Bob can be reached at BBatley@cofcogroup.com or follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Let’s look at How to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space. There’s nothing worse than working in a cluttered cramped space from 9 to 5. The space you share with your team matters. The culture of your business depends on the comfort of your employees. However, before you evaluate how much square footage you need, look into the design of your floor plan. Make a list of what is most important in your office space in order drive the most business and keep employee morale high. Is your company heavy on meetings? Do you have a need for a fun and extensive lunch area, or do most people leave the office for lunch? Do you entertain in the office space? Do you need specific areas for storage of marketing goods or other products? You may be holding onto a layout you no longer need, when you can be maximizing the space for more important things. There are many ways to make the most of the space you’re in now, therefore take the time to properly evaluate your office space using the steps below.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space
LET NATURAL LIGHT IN to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space
Natural light not only affects mood, but also the aesthetics of a space. Light can make rooms feel larger and better the mood of your employees. This comes down to color contrast. If you’re in a room that is dark, it will feel like you’re in a tight constricted space. Consider opening the blinds to let light in. If you have light colored walls and furniture, the light will bounce off and give the feeling that you’re in a larger space than you really are. If
you’re feeling adventurous, install a skylight in the office. You’ll be surprised how much light a skylight lets in. To avoid glare, add a filter so light is spread evenly throughout the office.
BECOME LESS RELIANT ON PAPER to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space
Not only is printing documents killing trees, it’s not as necessary as it was in the past. With the technology that we have today, you can share documents easily without having to print on a single piece of paper. This will also allow you to minimize the space needed for a printing station and using the space for something else. You will also save on ink, paper, and electricity costs by switching everything to digital.
UTILIZE COMMON AREAS to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space
You may not have as small a space as you think! Do you have dedicated areas specifically for meetings like conference rooms or a dining area? Those spaces can be used as extra work space.
It’s refreshing to have a change of scenery when you’re working. This is great, especially if your employees have their own laptops. Spread out and utilize the space you already have, but may not be using 80% of the time. Your employees will feel happier and their productivity will go up as a result.
CREATIVELY STORE to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space
You would be surprised on how many “dead spaces you actually have within your office layout. Underneath most desks and cubicles there exists an empty space where you can add either low bookcases or filing to hide items that require long term storage. By examining this storage option you will eliminate the need for storage in other areas, and gain back some of that wasted square footage. Cubicles and office desks now even have options for built in coat closets which allow employees to store their coats within their own space and allow you to eliminate the need for a central coat closet. Gaining the closet space back can allow you to rethink how that area can be designed.
MAKE SMART CHOICES ON FURNITURE to Get the Most Out of Your Office Space
Select furniture pieces that are easy to store and tuck away neatly when furnishing areas that are used less than 25% of the time. Plan your space with the overall design in mind. Whichever is your preference in color and style try and stay consistent throughout so that your message is as consistent as your sales process. Filing cabinets tend to take up a lot of space. Save your files digitally in a cloud instead of having physical pieces of paper, folders, binders, paper clips, etc, whenever allowable. You and your employees will be much more comfortable with the fresh open space!
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