Open Office Workspaces: Better mobility, collaboration, and more
When businesses began to boom after the return of soldiers from WWII, office spaces began expanding to accommodate growth. That often meant adding more rows of cubicles where conformity and private production were the name of the game. But times have drastically changed, in large part because of technological advances and changes in the way people work. Today, open office workspaces are being utilized to improve employee collaboration, mobility, and employee health.
While cubicles have not disappeared, they have substantially changed over the last 20 years like most things in the typical office. No longer are tall walls meant to keep employees isolated and working. The office of today incorporates the comforts of home, cubicles with shorter walls, technology that allows worker mobility and collaboration, and comfort that allows workers to stay healthier than ever before.
The Resommercial Open Office
Where there was once a room filled to the brim with row upon row of high-walled cubicles, open office workspaces have morphed the modern office. The comforts of home have moved into the office with what is now known as “Resommercial” furnishings, which is all about combining residential design with commercial spaces. This fairly new office design trend adds a homey feel to the office by incorporating everything from furniture designs to fabrics that have traditionally been reserved for home spaces.
Some of the most cutting-edge employers have offices featuring shared workspaces with couches that have small desktops for working and USB outlets. Large computer screens in open spaces allow for shared input and collaboration among several employees. Fewer walls or those made of glass allow offices to feel brighter and more open than ever before. Offices featuring resommercial furnishings in common areas create a feeling of welcome for employees and visitors alike.
The technology of today is leaps and bounds over what the workforce had even 20 years ago. Computers have been minimized from the bulking mainframes of the 50’s and Apple IIe’s of 1983 to sleek laptops, tablets, and cell phones. Employees now require little space and businesses can do more with less square footage than they could even a decade ago.
With extra room to move around, 21st Century employees are now seeing fresh benefits as a result. Businesses are using extra space and funds to incorporate everything from in-house coffee shops to fitness studios in order to lure new employees. By offering extras that help employees multitask in today’s fast-paced world, businesses can draw a workforce that wants to spend more time in the office because it is a cool, comfortable, and exciting place to be.
Arguably one of the most exciting aspects of technological advances is mobility. With Wi-Fi now a mainstay in most offices, workers have terrific mobility and are no longer chained to a desk or a set workstation. Technology has allowed for greater flexibility in creating work environments where employees have the option of using a private workstation as well as inviting shared spaces where they can enjoy a cup of joe while chatting with colleagues about projects they are working on.
With fewer wires comes mobility which lets employees choose to enjoy couches, standing desks, and communal workstations in addition to their traditional private seating area. Many offices now even harbor large kitchen tables with seating where a dozen employees or more can eat, chat, and work together on their mobile devices.
Cubicles are still employed today but are much smaller than the traditional 8-feet-by-8-feet of the past. Most modern cubicles are now only 6-feet-by-6-feet and can even be smaller than that. The modern open office workspace features cubicles with two or three shorter walls, allowing everyone to see what is happening around them and participate in collaborative conversations.
In 2017, roughly 70 percent of offices in the United States either had low or no partitions, according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune. Rows of cubicles are now often broken up with shared spaces such as open meeting areas, shared seating, and fewer walls. While employees could balk at the smaller personal workspaces, they don’t because there are such lush common spaces they can also enjoy and have the freedom to move around.
Open office workspaces have been shown to improve both employee health. For starters, studies have shown that spending the day sitting in a chair can be detrimental to one’s health. One study by researchers at the University of Sydney showed those who sit for eight to 11 hours a day have a 15 percent increase in death from all causes over four years compared to those who sit in the same position for only four to eight hours a day.
“Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, independent of physical activity,” according to the conclusions derived from the Sydney study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “High volumes of sitting time have possible associations with increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.”
With open office workspaces, employees are encouraged to move around and find different ways to get things done. From height-adjustable desks that allow workers to stand or sit to inviting common areas and even treadmill workstations, the employees of today can get moving while they work.
If you would like more information on open office workspaces, designs, or furnishings, please call CORE today at (520) 999-3470 or visit us online.