Wireless technology, laptops, handheld computing devices, and virtual meeting software like Skype and WebEx have given workers the ability to work from anywhere. As a result, the modern office environment is dedicating more square footage to more common gathering areas and less to workstations and cubicles.
Despite technology and its ability to give workers mobility and flexibility, human interaction in the work setting is still important. The best ideas are conceived during meetings, gatherings and conversation. Current office buildings are providing attractive spaces of different sizes for collaboration which include conference rooms, small cafés, lounges, and nooks with comfortable furnishings.
Shrinking and Open Workstations
Laptops, cell phones, and digital file storage and the need for less space is resulting in smaller workstations and cubicles. The traditional 8 x 8 office cubicle is being phased out and replaced with 6 x 6 spaces in many office facilities today. In additions to being smaller, workstations are also becoming more open. Partitions are being lowered, are being constructed with windows or from a translucent material or glass for a more open feel and to optimize light while still providing a private space.
Gathering and Common Spaces
As workstations decrease in size, the popular trend is in office buildings is to provide more gathering spaces for collaboration and communication in different sizes. To maximize opportunity for employee interaction, most new office designs provide a “living room” space, suitable for 6 people, a “huddle space”, suitable for 4 people, and a few conference rooms of various sizes-large and small.
With more open workstations and gathering areas, acoustics can be a challenge. To keep the facility from getting too noisy, there are a few strategies you can implement which include sound-absorptive ceiling tiles and flooring, breaking up the space to lessen the number of workstations connected to each other and quieter HVAC equipment. Many of these options for a more quiet building are often sustainable solutions as well which is now an important component of office buildings today.
As technology and the workforce changes, it is important for the design of an office facility to keep up with the times. It will be easier to keep tenants, attract the best workers and have overall success when the office building is designed with current trends, attractive aesthetics, functionality and modern features in mind.
If you have any questions or need additional information regarding facility design changes, contact MAC today. MAC is a contractor Kansas City property and facility managers have trusted for more than 25 years. We provide tenant finish and remodeling services, custom furnishings, construction services and more!