Is there such a thing as a “too quiet” office?

Hon Open Office furniture from Workspace Solutions

Sometimes, less is more.  It seems to be that way in today’s modern offices.  With ultra quiet heating and cooling system, no more clunking of electric typewriters, and emails replacing rining phones, the modern office is quieter than ever, and that seems to be the problem.  It is now easier than ever to be distracted by a conversation, evenone fifty or sixty feet away from your work station or desk. Being able to hear office conversations more easily has also had a chilling effect on having office conversations.  People know that everyone will hear every word.

Still, the advantages of an open office are many, with an increase in collaboration and idea sharing on the top of the list.

When Autodesk, a software company, moved into a an open-plan building in Massachusetts, three years ago, it installed what is known as a pink-noise system: a soft whooshing emitted over loudspeakers that sounds like a ventilation system but is specially formulated to match the frequencies of human voices.

Autodesk ran the system for three months without telling the employees — and then, to gauge its impact, turned it off one day.

“We were surprised at how many complaints we got,” said Charles Rechtsteiner, Autodesk’s facilities manager. “People weren’t sure what was different, but they knew something was wrong. When the system’s on, speech becomes unintelligible at a distance of about 20 feet.”

Others, like Anne-Laure Fayard  a professor of management at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University are studying the issue. According to Fayard, “Everyone is still experimenting with ways to balance the need for collaboration and the need for privacy.”

Sound proofing materials, and designing for privacy are a considerations taken into account by the office planners at Workspace Solutions.  Having a wide variety of office furniture options from the nations’ top providers, as Workspace does, helps as well.   Meantime, it’s nice to know that research continues into the creation of the perfect office.

How Cloud Computing will affect Office Furniture Design

The cloud is simply a digital file storage system you access through the internet rather than through your network.  Your documents and spread sheets are stored in buildings thousands of miles away from the office and are accessible to you, and other employees, no matter where you are.  So, if you don’t need company servers anymore, maybe it’s time to think about converting the server room to another conference room.  With wireless cloud technology, you can plop down on any computer anywhere in the office, or on the road for that matter, so why do you need your own cubicle?  Work more comfortabley from a large work table, or sit and collaborate with fellow employees and still easily work on or share documents from your laptop to theirs through the cloud.  You don’t need as many non-assigned desks as you do private workstations.  Half you staff may be on the road at any given time anyway, especially your sales staff.  This means using limited space in a more efficient manner, even reducing square footage and high rents with come with that.  This cloud may not bring rain, but it does bring new ways to designe and utilize work space, and Workspace Solutions designers all over it.

If you’re still a bit cloudy on what cloud computing is, here’s a video that can shed some light on the subject.

Extreme Offices

The Bill and Melinda Gatets Foundation built a half billion dollar office facility in Seattle where they hope to solve some of the world’s toughest problems.  The first problem they tackled was how to better utilize office space to use less of it per employee, while increasing collaboration.  The way they accomplished this is strongly influencing new furniture design and office layouts.

 

To read the whole story, click here

Saving Green on Going Green

(Third of a four part series on Office Furniture Trends for 2012)

Most of us like the idea of saving the world’s resources for future generations, but it hasn’t always been easy to put our money where our heart is.  Happily, this is changing.

Office furniture stores like Workspace Solutions are now awash in green goods. Furniture made from recycled content, low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints that emit fewer greenhouse gases, organic fabrics and Energy Star business equipment that uses less electricity have become commonplace. The best news, they are price competitive with ordinary, non-green counterparts. Our top office furniture suppliers all feature green lines and products, and are introducing more every day.

Goodbye Brown and Gray Desks. Hello White?!?

Voi from Hon

 Productivity is key for any piece of office furniture. White laminates provide a clean, blank work space that can spur creativity for the user.

It is refreshing and brings brightness. Previously shunned due to its strong reflective quality, white is becoming a popular option for the office. White is the sum of all colors and has no negative connotations. It can be used as both a main color and a contrast color. White creates room and size, brightens up and allows room to breath. It lends exclusivity and drama to spaces or objects. Black against a white background delineates and emphasizes form and design.

It may not be right for everyone, but more and more, white has become a color of choice in office design.  What do you think?  Are you ready for a white desk?

Oh Boy! Here Comes Voi, Laminate Desking from Hon

We used to design every work station the same way, and each worker just had to adapt. Today, we design work stations for the task that person will actually be performing, thereby increasing their efficiency and productivity. The downside to doing this in the past was having to mix and match furniture from different manufacturers or style lines. With the new Voi line from Hon, we can now make all of your office furniture look the same from the boardroom to the reception area. Voi gives us the ability to create incredibly flexible offices with a common look. Every desk and work station can be different, yet colors and surfaces all match.

Check out the Voi Video, or contact Workspace Solutions to learn more about Voi from Hon.

Collaborate with Allsteel’s new Involve

Cubicles divide office space into private spaces all with the same function.  That’s great as long as everyone performs the same tasks and you never have the need for collaboration.

Involve, from Allsteel, was developed to support collaboration spontaneously at each individual workstation.  This makes work areas far more productive and efficient.   The collection incorporates soft seating to encourage spontaneous interaction, laminate storage options that support active work, and screens that define space and create varied separation. One unique solution supports all the ways work happens.

You can download the brochure by clicking here.

Workspace Solutions is your AllSteel dealer for Fort Wayne, South Bend and Indianapolis, providing you with 21st Century ideas for designing your office for maximum efficiency.  To find out how you can use new ideas in office design, contact us today at Workspace Solutions.

The New Look of Office Design

It’s the new look of office design, with storage built across one side, and plenty of desk or table room on the other. It’s more efficient, ergonomic and works better with technology. Workspace Solutions has just added the new Keel line from Abco that is designed to fit today’s office styles. Check out Abco on our website here. Check out the Keel video:

Keel NeoCon 2011 from izzy+ on Vimeo.

A Revolution in Classroom Furniture

Learning environments are more flexible, diverse and technology-driven than ever. The Fixtures line from Izzy+ was designed after long discussions with actual end users, students, teachers, and educators. As a result of that research, Fixtures is focused on outfitting the perfect learning environment: flexible and adaptable, supporting technology, encouraging collaboration, and supplying the kind of easy-care durability that are must-haves for high-use schools and corporate training areas.

Workspace Solutions is proud to handle the Izzy+ Fixtures line for Northern Indiana. Contact us and we’ll be happy to show you more. You can also visit the Izzy+ website and see some great examples of how schools are using this innovative product.

Stand up for your Health!

Don’t take this sitting down! In fact, do yourself a favor and stand up to read this post. The May 2009 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise published the results of a study of over 17,000 adults over 12 years revealed that those who sit all day at their jobs are at greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Exercise is great, but there appears to be little you can do to undo the effects of sitting down eight hours a day at your desk, unless you stop sitting. Then, how do you get your work done? Easy, with a stand up desk.

Workspace Solutions has some great ideas for a stand up desk arrangement. One of their companies, Humanscale, offers a desk that easily adjusts up and down. Combine this with a monitor arm for your computer screen, and with a simple adjustment, you can work standing up, or sitting down.

Workspace Solutions has a lot great ergonomic ideas that can make your office a healthier work environment. Call or contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss them with you.