Once again design teams are back to the drawing board for 2020, crafting the future of office spaces to accommodate new cultural shifts in society. What are the challenges and how are companies dealing with them today? As a leader in custom-built furniture catering to designers globally, the dTank team feels the pulse about what key challenges designers are facing on a daily basis and shares what concepts, products and solutions can best prepare the changing workforce for success and happiness now and in the future.
Workplace environments have shifted over time, evolving from efficiency to experiences. During the last decade the trend for open office spaces has been in full swing with designers anticipating things like densification – more employees per square foot – and the ever-evolving mobile work styles. Newer technologies have paved the way for less equipment and space. However, open office design concepts have caused controversy, leaving designers aware that it isn’t really about “one size fits all.”
Initially, the open space concept was thought to encourage team collaboration, in addition to the cold, hard fact that a company could save money by squeezing more employees into less space via bench seating, etc. However, the open space office design concept has caused controversy and speculation. With increased competitiveness and pressures at work, many employees working in open office spaces are distracted by co-workers. Individuals have different personalities and work styles, and some people simply cannot focus in a crowded open space environment.
In fact, a Harvard study of two Fortune 500 companies found that people in open-offices spent 72 percent less time interacting face-to-face—but instant messaging increased by 67 percent and email increased 56 percent. This shift might prove that employees want privacy spaces in which to do their work.
As usual humans have found ways of adapting to their individual spaces to avoid distractions and work privately by wearing earbuds, staring at their screens, or simply heading to Starbucks.
This doesn’t mean the end of the open office space. Millenials and younger generations are actually quite accustomed to open-space architectural designs both at home, and even at some high schools that now boast modular furniture, charging stations, big-screen smart TV’s, custom bookshelves, ping pong and foosball tables.
Other factors compound the latest design processes. The global workforce is more conscious than ever before of things like environmental sustainability, ergonomics for comfort and health, non-toxic materials composition and even issues that can affect our psychological well-being. This affects everything from designing purposeful workspaces made from sustainable non-toxic, eco-friendly materials and fabrics, to a variety of seating options that support physical comfort and ergonomic support to textures and colors that support well-being and emotions.
The key is, what will we design and built to meet all of these challenges for a more productive, healthier and successful global workforce? These are the questions and challenges that the dTank designers ponder daily, coming up with solutions that its clients are loving.
dTank’s team believes that it is not just about office enclosures or lack of them when it comes to open office spaces, but rather about thinking outside the box and creating a total work environment that is adjustable, solves noise issues, addresses cultural shifts in society and allows for access to the resources needed for people to do their jobs and be more productive.
The company looks to the total picture for healthier and diverse workspaces including everything from purposeful workspaces with more natural light and acoustical integrity, to a variety of seating options that support physical well-being, to materials, fabric and art in colors that support sustainability as well as emotions.
dTank has addressed these issues for new custom furniture for design teams like Smith Group JJR who did these workstations for the Baker Ave Asset Management office in San Francisco, CA.
Workstations offer privacy to employees (and customers) via Bend Plywood with High Pressure Laminate Panels. High Pressure Laminate with Plywood Work Surface, Resin Panels, Dry Erase and Forbo Tackable Material, Powder Coated Steel Storage. dTank continues to revolutionize the industry by creating sophisticated work environments that incorporate the latest ergonomic features and technology solutions.
The dTank furniture pieces feature White Laminate Surfaces, Raw Cold Rolled Steel with Matte Clear Powder Coat, Wool Felt Tack Panel, Spalted Maple Laminate, White Dry Erase Powder Coat Panels, Laminate Overhead Storage
Most commercial designers know that it’s essential to look at every company, their office and employees holistically. How many employees are there? What are the roles and personality types of employees who sit in open spaces? Are there teams or individuals working collaboratively? Do some employees (e.g. sales dept.) require more telephone time than others? Do people work independently, or do they require team and or client meetings? As a company grows in a dynamic environment, the needs of its employees will always be changing, so it’s natural that the physical environments often need to be updated.
If the goal in 2020 is to create an engaging office experience and overall wellbeing amongst workers, this may also mean introducing more activity-based social spaces where workers can go – small collaboration/meeting spaces, focus rooms, rejuvenation areas, work cafes and/or kitchens, living hubs, gyms, game rooms, privacy booths, areas for yoga or meditation and even outdoor nature-workspaces. Think resi-mercial designs – where office spaces become more like a home away from home for increased productivity, privacy and overall well-being.
Contact us today to let us help you with your 2020 planning!