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Belinda Newman Office Design April 14th, 2018 - 10:05:25
Office designers have noticed that societies environmental consciousness has transferred into our offices in a number of ways. Owners and managers know that energy costs are rising so there is a need to look for alternative energy sources. They have also seen an increase in the purchase and use of recycled furniture which is a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way of furnishing their office. Office collaboration means that offices are becoming more open plan with less offices and more cubicles or partitions. This type of office design means that space is being used to its maximum ability and owners are getting more for their money. It is useful in offices where there is a lot of team work as it brings people together. Office designers have seen the rise in popularity in partitioning which is a large element in the creation of office collaboration.
Employees have difficulty working productively in noisy environments since stress levels increase and concentration is lowered. There are many design tricks architects can employ to deal with poor acoustics. Using the correct materials in the correct location is key to achieving the proper level of sound absorption. For example ceiling tiles should generally be applied at a low ceiling height. If the ceiling is very high then other methods need to be applied such as lining the walls with fabric banners or acoustical wall panels to avoid the sound bouncing off of drywall or other non-absorbent materials. To keep voices from traveling too far it is useful to places highly-absorbent materials at mouth level throughout the office. Another effective technique in limiting a noisy environment is to create a monotone background sound known as white noise. This can be achieved in a variety of ways such as through the strategic placement of fans and air conditioners the use of water fountains or by installing a sound masking audio system.
How does this urban planning model play out in terms of office productivity? Office assistants for example are generally situated in spaces that are more public often close to the main passageways so that they are more accessible to their supervisors and other staff members. In contrast more senior management tend to have offices with doors so that they are able to hold private meetings or work in seclusion if their tasks require a deeper level of concentration. Of course the company culture will ultimately dictate where senior management put their offices. It is a trend among some types of companies for managers and CEOs to sit in open workstations along with their staff so as to appear more accessible.
Break Free from Cubicle Design A recent trend is to have everyone working in an open floor plan model. This means doing away with window offices for managers and cubicle offices for other employees. Upper management is seated in a large room and shares their space with every other employee in the company. This allows for open communication between employees and their managers. It is just one way to improve communication in the workplace. Remove cubicles and take down the barriers that prevent employees from open communication. Base your new office design on functionality ease of use purpose of office space and a mobile work style model. Create small hubs where employees can gather and discuss ideas.