As summer begins to wind down and we return to the office from vacations, we thought we would explore the ever-growing trend of flexible office environments.
From American Express and GlaxoSmithKline, to Facebook and hundreds of other companies, businesses have been shifting away from cubicle-style floor plans to a mix of individual and collaborative work areas.
Inc. magazine notes that the variety of choices for employees is increasing as businesses offer “comfortable living rooms, libraries, stand-up tables, outdoor spaces, nooks and crannies–to collaborate, create, contemplate, present.”
More Collaborative Spaces
It’s not just the layout of the office that is making a difference. Metropolis magazine’s “The Living Office—The Action Office for the Digital Age” takes a look at a new office system designed by Yves Behar and fuseproject. The design, titled “PUBLIC Office Landscape,” addresses the desire for employees to collaborate at a desk area. This allows individuals or groups to use a desk area equipped with storage bins, mobile privacy screens and more.
Another take on the fluid workspace is the practice of “hot-desking.” This practice allocates desks to workers when they are required or on a rotating system, rather than giving each worker their own desk. According to Gensler’s 2016 workplace survey, everyone can benefit from this new approach. The study suggests that organizations, “empower the entire organizational community, not just senior leadership, with the ability to choose when and where to work.”
So how does flooring fit into this new workplace paradigm shift? When it comes to carpet, it can be pretty important. Consider the following:
- Way-Finding — Carpet color and patterning can help with way-finding and navigation between spaces, such as down hallways or corridors.
- Space Differentiation – Carpet can create differentiation between different spaces when moving between such things as office departments or different end-use areas.
- Acoustics – Open spaces, bereft of offices or cubicles, can sometimes be loud and noisy. Carpet’s inherent acoustics can also make workspaces quieter, thus contributing to greater productivity.
- Visual Balance — Carpet provides a nice visual balance and design element when paired with a hard surface such as wood or LVT in an open floor plan – a growing trend in many office environments today.
Here are some photo examples of how carpeting is being used to define space:
Image credit: Still from video footage, courtesy of videographer Jason Cheung via Work Design Magazine
Image credit: Photography: Manuel Martinez via Crain’s Chicago Business
Image Credit: Shaw Contract
What are your thoughts? Do you work in an open/flexible office? If you specify flooring, how are you using various flooring to create the open, flexible and productive workspaces of today?