Open Office Furniture and Layout Concepts

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Furniture and layout can affect the success or failure of an open office design more than any other single factor. To build an open office to increase people’s productivity requires an honest look at the customer’s company culture and business methods.

Open office design means different things to different people,

, Is an architecture, interior design and urban design company.

Even companies that fully embrace the concept of open office often don’t have 100% open design, so it’s a good idea to start the design process by understanding why customers need open design solutions in the first place.

"If the organizational culture itself does not support employees to choose these types, it is difficult to make it successful. This is related to behavior and whether management is willing to speak up. This is a top-down scenario. Ensure that senior management or the leadership team accepts these The type of choice offered to employees’ ideas." – CEO Jonathan Wasserstrum

Companies that implement open office strategies tend to do so for one of two reasons, explained Angie Lee, the company’s vice president of office buildings

, A global design company:

An open office allows you to accommodate more people in a space, thereby minimizing the need for square feet.

The implementation of an open office can be part of an overall upgrade designed to preserve your talents and attract newcomers.

The most functional open office design addresses different work patterns by including flexible spaces that can satisfy each type of work. Most office workers don’t do exactly the same job a day, working eight hours a day, so it doesn’t always make sense for them to stay in a space all day long.

Lee explained that Stantec designs spaces for five basic working modes.

This key type of space promotes concentration. Lee explained that private offices, workstations and benches in quiet areas can all contribute to a healthy and focused space.

People should be able to dive into specifically designed for

When they need to have a conversation or brainstorm with colleagues.

Cafeterias and other multi-purpose meeting places are great for quick conversations with colleagues so that you can further collaborate in the future. Lee said: "It is important to incorporate these types of spaces into planning and design."

Lee explained that most organizations do not need dedicated training space, but they will have to conduct some type of full-staff learning on a regular basis. Consider the flexible layout and layout of conference rooms and other spaces. Customers can convert them into auditorium-style or classroom-style seats when they need to train groups.

Lee said this category describes any area where employees can rejuvenate and rejuvenate. this might be


Or any other unsuitable space for work.

Lee added that there is no fixed formula for the ratio of focal space to other space types. The secret of success depends on the industry the customer is in.

For example, a technology company may reward collaboration space, while an insurance company may need more focal space for sensitive conversations. Lee said that company culture is also part of it. It is not enough to provide different space types. Employees need to know that they can actually use them.

"If the organizational culture itself does not support employees in making such choices, it is difficult to make it successful," Lee explained. "It has to do with behavior and whether management is willing to discuss it. This is a top-down scenario. Make sure that senior management or the leadership team accepts the idea of ​​offering these types of choices to employees."

In open office design, the correct size of space for various working modes is a continuous task. A workstation that is too small will make employees feel like they are working in a sardine jar. The huge meeting room is idle or underutilized, accommodating a dozen people a week, and vacant the rest of the time.

Check how much your total space is, and the current square feet per person, and then consider how to reallocate this space to the different balance between open workstations and other space types.

Lee explained that a recent Stantec project merged the offices of two Washington DC business management consulting firm Gartner. Although the number of employees increased from 1,600 to 2,000, the total area was reduced from 450,000 square feet to 350,000 square feet.

The density ratio of the office dropped from 280 square feet per person to close to the industry standard of 175-180, and the ratio of open plan to closed plan changed from 70% open and 30% closed to 95% open and 5% closed. The client eventually eliminated several floors from the saved square footage of rent.

Lee explained: "The CEO at the time had a vision for relocation because he knew that the existing space was dense with private offices, and people would not talk or cooperate with each other." "It is mainly composed of sales and research. Departmental occupation. You can imagine that salespeople operate differently from researchers. But they need to recruit the best talent, and to do this, the work environment must reflect the most advanced 21

The environment of the century. It was his vision that drove this project. "

The layout of the open office may be retained. But customers can make the most of them to achieve tenant success and employee retention. The way you arrange your commercial space is almost as important as the space in it. Consider these five tips to maximize the limited square footage.

Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO of commercial real estate technology company, said that the transition between the various space types of SquareFoot is “very smooth and well-designed”

. "However, one way to create a certain kind of separation is to place a sofa. The back of the sofa can naturally "seal" the space. People do it in their apartments and houses all the time. The same concept can be applied to modern workplaces. Attract those who want to work on the sofa, as well as those who pass by desks or meetings."

SquareFoot’s engineering team often needs to quietly write code or plan infrastructure, but brokers usually talk to customers on the phone. Wasserstrum explained: “This work can make people spend a long afternoon, especially when there are a dozen in-house brokers like ours.” “We did our best to separate the two departments in the old office, but we Can only do a lot of things."

The new space separates the two, but at the same time provides a lunch and relaxation area for all departments, so the two teams will not be completely separated from each other. Monthly birthday events and happy hours after get off work encourage socializing between different areas of the company.

Glass walls and partitions allow daylight to penetrate deeper into the core of the building, but they also reduce visual privacy. At base camp

At the new global headquarters in Atlanta, created by Perkins + Will, some collaboration rooms have added graphics to the glass to help visually distract.

Chip DeGrace, the chief design officer of these rooms, said: “You can see others, but not documents.” Other spaces (such as meeting rooms, large conference rooms, and other collaboration spaces) are arranged along the perimeter, and have glass inside and outside. To make full use of daylight.

Place meeting rooms and utility rooms in a central location to provide the same convenience for everyone. The resting space where people can recline on a sofa or comfortable chair may not be in or near the office, but they are not in the middle. Buying from the customer’s leader is essential to complete this work, but placing the space in the right place will make buying much easier.

Wasserstrum said: "If everyone sees themselves as a mobile office, and the office as a shared workspace that meets everyone's needs, then we have no problem to solve." "Fortunately, so far, this is ours. Way of working."

"Every successful company has a three-year, five-year, seven-year, and ten-year business plan to help them develop their business." said Andrew Cisisly, the company's Western sales director

, Contract office furniture expert. "A good facility manager should have a similar plan."

You may not implement the current customer's 10-year refurbishment plan on site, but you can use the easily reconfigured space to set it up for success. This means creating layouts and specifying furniture that can be moved and changed without too much work, such as removable walls and partitions. Cicisly recommends: “Think of the real estate portfolio as a blank canvas and try to make everything as fluid and flexible as possible.”

The most successful open office layout is the one that frees up your customers' energy to do the best work. This is a tool for enhancing capabilities-therefore, it cannot be a cookie-cutter approach that is the same for every customer. Use the client's existing footprint to create a customized mix of space types and paths that perfectly suits the people using it.


It is to find tools that can support the activities occurring in each space. Madson suggested that the small meeting room that was originally intended for 15-minute meetings might not even have chairs.

"Is there a task to write or conceive on the wall?" Madsen asked. "We think it is vital to ask such questions and create with our customers to understand the reasons driving these space needs and what resources are needed to help them complete their daily tasks."

The customer vision meeting is the ideal place to discover these needs and guide your design. Madson explained that the CBT process is called a vision laboratory and can last from 4 hours to 3 days. The company collects representative employees from customers and leads them to understand their office needs, needs and culture.

Madsen said: "Everyone in the group does not work in the same way throughout the day or have the same idea of ​​what tools they need to complete the work." "Computer developers, human resources personnel and legal analysts are all in the same house. Technology companies work, but may need different tools throughout the day, that’s okay. How do we solve each of them and let them flourish in the new workspace?"

A commercial real estate technology company, which aims to help the company find office space, did a similar operation when it moved its New York headquarters to a larger office space 9 blocks away from the old office building. It turns out that most day-to-day interactions are informal and do not require meeting rooms or scheduling time, explains founder and CEO Jonathan Wasserstrum. 

"When it is necessary to plan the office space we really want, we deliberately build in many small corners and areas, which will attract people who want to get rid of desk changes or meet with colleagues. Project." He said.

Wasserstrum said that the furniture specifications for the project follow the same strategy. The design team searched for furniture that supports casual gatherings, and finally adopted customized products specifically designed for placement in the space.

Wasserstrum pointed out: “We also keep an open mind and work with suppliers that are not traditionally known for office space furniture.” “For example, our whiteboard tables come from school supplies suppliers. But it’s important for us to know what we want. Said to be perfect. The line between

Employees want to feel comfortable in the workplace, so there are more and more ambiguities every day. We also want to choose furniture of a certain size to make it move naturally and encourage cooperation. We chose a rotatable recliner to enable people to shift their attention to others or other things. "

Thoughtful layout and flexible furnishings will not guarantee the success of your customers, but they will go a long way in creating spaces where people can grow.

The design of each open office is different, but they all have one thing in common: the need to increase productivity and ROI.

In any space, specifying the right furniture is crucial, but in an open office design, this can mean the difference between the open concept workspace that people like and the one that complains about. The designer solves the problem of open office furniture for customers in the following five ways.

Colleagues can chat in a space with ledges or seats to facilitate habitation. They are very suitable for use in blank areas such as under stairs or near meeting rooms.

Informal habitats are not a unique type of space in themselves, but when they are in the right place, they can be a useful (and welcome) addition to the office.

Interface’s new Atlanta headquarters was designed by Perkins + Will, using stacked carpet tiles as floor mats to encourage employees to “plant themselves here and hang out,” explains Chip DeGrace, the company’s chief design officer.


Ideally, your customers should be able to quickly disassemble and rebuild detachable walls without making a lot of noise or trouble.

It should be easy to dump some walls and put them back to create spaces of different sizes or shapes, and run power and data to that area. "Some departments change with the wind and they need to be able to reconfigure," said Andrew Cisisly, the company's director of sales for the western region

, Contract office furniture expert.

Technological advancements such as flat screens allow you to make your workspace shallower than it was a few years ago.

File storage is another area that you can specify less than before-most companies don't take up a lot of paper as they used to, so you may over-specify storage solutions.

The ability to fine-tune the space according to their needs encourages employees to take ownership of your design.

However, this does not mean that you have to customize each space according to everyone's ideas. Instead, flexible furniture is provided to adapt to a variety of different subjects, such as height-adjustable tables with height adjustment settings, rather than just some presets.

"One of our design philosophy is that 100% of the space should be used 100%," said Dave Madson, the company's principal.

. He likened design to chef Alton Brown's dislike of any "single task" or kitchen tools that only do one task. Madson explained that the same is true for design. No space can be a single demand side.


"The cafe should be used all day," Madsen said. "You will provide space for a cup of coffee. It needs a table and chairs. Lunch is great, but there can also be a white board next to it, so it can be a temporary meeting space. It is private and will not hinder you, so There is no need to book a meeting room for quick conversations. If it can only do one thing, then it shouldn’t have a place in workplace design."

Janelle Penny has more than ten years of experience in journalism, with a special focus on facility management. She aims to provide practical and feasible content for facility professionals.

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