In every social code, there are unwritten laws. Like, to listen when someone is talking. Or, it’s polite to open the door for someone walking in behind you. In an office, the same goes. It may not be written somewhere in an employee handbook, but we know the lounge is used for breaks, the conference room is used for meetings.
Choose the Space
In A Work Design article, an excellent point was made: “Productivity can be improved by offering a variety of interior settings that allow employees to choose where they want to work that day based on the mode of work required. For example, in the morning, workers can gather in a bistro area for coffee and informal interaction; in the afternoon, they can move to a gathering place designed for teamwork or to a privacy ‘hive’ for focused work.”
The People Have Spoken
A Business News Daily article backs the ideology up with cold, hard data: “A combination of open and closed floor plans is also an option, and a highly desirable one to consider. According to the Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey 2019, 77% of employees prefer work environments that incorporate features from both open and closed office plans.” So, it becomes a switch from either/or to yes/and.
Boundaries & Balance
Furthermore, the same Business News Daily article gave concrete suggestions on how you can support both atmospheres in your office: “While open offices may be popular today, many companies are finding out the hard way that they need boundaries. You can have the best of both by finding a balance. If you decide on a more open layout, provide private booths for phone calls and conference rooms for meetings. If you go with a more private office space, ensure you're still collaborating and maintaining positive company culture through team outings or check-ins.”
Space Division Furniture
Define, space division and collaborative furniture, is a great way to delineate your space to achieve these different zones. With options for seating, it can be used in a lounge area. Also, Define can accommodate tech integration, so you could use the piece in meeting areas for conference calls. Tackable acoustic boards can be used to cluster together important papers to keep in a gathering place.
Zones for Both
In the end, the key is creating different zones to accomplish different types of work. Mainly, focus on maintaining areas for both public and private tasks. Make sure you have plenty of areas for employees to collaborate, but also areas for quiet and focus.