As the 90’s ended and the internet (and tech startups) exploded, the limitations of the cubicle-filled office were decidedly outdated. The walls came down and the age of “open space” work environments was born. No more walls to separate us, no more doors to keep us out, now simply a community of employees working together, sharing ideas, sharing space, sharing… everything. But, did we swing too far in the opposite direction and cause a host of new issues? Probably. The solution to the problem is going to take some change.
If too many walls limits collaboration, and too few walls hurts productivity, we need to find the middle ground: a Hybrid Office. Here are the features of a modern, hybrid office from Business.com:
Meeting spaces for specific functions
Instead of one-size-fits-all conference rooms, modern offices benefit from a variety of spaces to meet employees’ diverse needs. These range from large boardroom-style spaces fully equipped with one-click, app-enabled audio and video conferencing to small, soundproof enclaves for concentration and calls. These spaces should be outfitted according to their purposes, from the type of technology to the tables and chairs to the color on the walls.
Well-designed common spaces
Like meeting rooms, common spaces should be thoughtfully designed with a specific purpose. Eating, socializing, playing ping-pong, quick impromptu meetings, it doesn’t matter. Create spaces that allow people to blow off steam, connect with their colleagues and take a break without impacting employees who are still working. The location of these spaces is critical.
Think of your office in zones, from silent to rambunctious, and make sure that the transitions and buffers between those spaces work well, and make sense. Don’t forget to extend functionality like audio and video conferencing beyond discrete rooms to facilitate those impromptu meetings. After all, remote workers should feel like they’re part of the team and have ideas to contribute even if they’re not physically in the office, or even technically talking about “work.”
Options for workspaces
Some people like to roam, while some like a designated desk. Some people work best sitting, some prefer to stand, and some like lounging in a common space. Workers may want pictures of their dogs or kids or a wall poster of the Death Star. Provide options for different styles and sizes of workspaces and let your employees choose what works best for them. Don’t forget jump desks for remote workers, too.
The days of the desktop and landline are behind us. Instead, workspaces should be outfitted with charging stations and flawless network access. That means configuring wireless access points and networks to work equally well across stations, regardless of location. More connected doesn’t mean more wires, however; consider solutions like underfoot cabling to avoid clunky columns and beams that make open spaces feel fragmented.
Smart office technology will take customized workspaces even further in the future. Imagine a world in which employees can adjust the lighting, temperature, and climate of their zone with a touch of a screen, or meeting rooms that “turn on” the moment that someone enters. A hybrid office environment drives these innovations forward by focusing on the needs of individuals, not rooms.
The biggest hurdle to making these changes can be the daunting task of moving your IT hardware and reconfiguring your network to function smoothly in the new space. An IT professional can help you get the modern, clean setup without the messy wires and connection hiccups you may experience when trying to do it yourself. Contact Great Lakes Computer to help with all your cabling and technology moving needs.