As the work environment continues to change, it is important to keep in mind how both potential employees and clients view your space. Traditionally, most work tasks were completed in private offices and cubicles. Now there are lounges, break-out areas, huddle rooms, and other collaborative areas that serve multipurpose within the workspace. Employees and guests map out the different uses and advantages of these areas to choose the correct space for their tasks. Proper design and spatial delineation can help make this process a little easier.
Many companies have added more collaborative and fun spaces to their offices to compete with other top businesses and to attract new talent. They are adding spaces such as game rooms, high-tech cafés, relaxing lounges, and other areas to create and encourage a more casual work atmosphere. However, these spaces can be confusing for employees due to their suitability as both work and break areas. Proper design and visual delineation can help reduce confusion. For instance, if you are looking to create a space for employee collaboration, consider a small lounge area next to a group of workstations. Thanks to its spatial relationship to the work area, the collaboration site will tend to be used for small employee meetings and work-related phone calls. If, on the other hand, you are looking to create a more private break-out area, using glass walls can create a closed-off space while keeping an open feel. Walls, whether made of drywall or glass, tend to be perceived as more private and secluded.
The arrangement of furniture within the space can also be a good indicator of how that space should be used. If there are four chairs set up in a circular or 2-and-2 parallel type configuration, then that space is expected to be used as a discussion or small meeting area for coworkers and clients. In contrast, couches create a more lounge-type feel and traditionally are not used in areas meant for work. Arranging furniture around coffee tables or television screens can also define break areas, where furniture arranged in front of whiteboards or power towers would be more likely to indicate work areas.
These simple guidelines can help any organization design their space with visual cues to make the mapping out of their office space simple.