The modern workspace is certainly a sight to behold when it comes to design and aesthetics. With inspiration taken from the hospitality sector, co-working spaces, and silicon valley technology companies, offices are undergoing a radical change in the way they are designed. They are a far cry from the traditional cubicle-based monotonous approach of early 90’s. There are no longer rows upon rows of cubicles and partitions.
Today, organizations are redesigning the workspace to cater to the different methods of working in the new hybrid workplace era. When organizations redesign their workspace, they need to think in terms of functional aspects of the office space. Each area of the must be designed to carry out a specific kind of activity. These spaces revolve around the human element of the workplace.
We have been heavily involved in implementing room and desk booking solutions to companies while they are renovating their space. We have been able to see the different types of spaces that are built into the office and how our booking system helps them.
Here, we highlight 9 essential spaces spaces for a modern office that serve a typical function and the rules and policies associated with them.
This is one of the most disruptive changes to the workspace. Hot desks indicate a transformative redesign from the cubicle to a more open seating concept where no one is assigned a fixed desk. Anyone can sit anywhere and require a desk booking system that allows employees to reserve a desk and check into it when they arrive at the office. This is usually on a first come first serve basis. The consequence of such a change is no more personalization and territoriality.
The desks can be augmented with amenities such as VoIP phones, dual monitors, and other features that become activity specific. Employees must be able to filter the desks based on the type of amenities they need for the specific work that they want to do.
The booking system in place should be able to provide different perspectives of the desk including layout or scheduler based view. This allows employees to have a bird’s eye view of the office floor plan and reserve the desk. Rules such as access rights, zoning and even approvals need to be incorporated in the booking system to control the seating arrangement.
Standing desks are getting popular in offices where the desks are height adjustable. These ergonomic desks allow users to sit or stand and do work. Height-adjustable tables allow employees to stand and work which provides a change from constantly sitting in the same place. Research has shown that sitting long hours at a desk is detrimental to your health.
These spaces are usually open to everyone so reservations are limited by duration or quota.
Telephone booths are small soundproof enclosures that allow employees to have telephonic conversations. They are usually in configurations of one or two people who can have confidential calls or private conversations. When it comes to the open office, taking a customer call or a personal call can be quite distracting to your colleagues and no privacy to the caller. The telephone booth is a soundproof enclosure that can provide the privacy needed to have calls. Amenities are quite limited in terms of space with a small table.
Typically, usage of booths is restricted to a specific duration like an hour per person so that it is available to everyone.
Work Pods like telephone booths are soundproof enclosures that allow 2 or more people to have in-depth discussions. They usually have a central table with seating of up to 2 or 4 people. These configurations help where detailed projectors and meeting rooms are not required.
Discussion rooms are partially open spaces. They are meant for discussion with a group of people, usually more than 2 with a large table. Unlike meeting rooms, discussion rooms are spaces with limited electronic amenities such as projectors and video conferencing. Sometimes they are also called breakout areas. They do have whiteboards and panels to discuss ideas and concepts with a group of people.
Lounges are casual spaces to meet up in small or large groups in an informal setting. They are becoming an essential component of office spaces to have 2 or 3-person discussions or even hang out casually to have team bonding sessions. We have seen lounges connected with a pantry or even a bar for those after office hour gatherings or celebrations. Lounges are usually not bookable so they are not controlled spaces.
The typical meeting room has not changed since before the transition to the hybrid workplace. They are the workhorse for meetings, discussions, and collaborations. However, today’s meeting rooms are augmented with technologies that allow for hybrid meetings. Video conferencing tools that allow near personal experiences, digital whiteboards that allow collaborations, and technologies that can adjust the meeting room mood depending on the type of meetings being conducted.
Yes. The cubicles are still alive but in a different form. They are used predominantly for work that requires a degree of privacy and the need for keeping items such as files, folders, and items that cannot be moved around. Cubicles are occupied by people in finance, human resources, and legal.
The need for lockers has increased with the adoption of open seating. Traditionally, designated desks and cubicles allow employees to lock away their personal belongings when going out for meetings or lunches. However, in the open seating concept, this becomes impossible. So lockers provide employees to keep their belongings while they work at any desk.
The modern office should be designed to be functional in nature, catering to different types of work methods. Companies redesigning their office need to have a good understanding of the nature of work and design the office around these activities. Interior designers also need to provide solutions by closely working with the organization to understand their work needs and propose designs that are aligned with their desires.