Working Inside Out
Looking across the vista of an open plan office, there are many elements that please the eye: the unobstructed sightlines that allow you to see the entire team, sleek minimalist work stations accessorized with laptops and travel mugs, and the entire room awash with daylight as there are few partitions to divert it.
Open plan offices have continued to gain popularity, not only because they are visually desirable, but for the benefits that result from “transparency-enhancing architectures with fewer walls, doors and other spatial boundaries”1, such as increased collaboration resulting from more face-to-face interactions amongst employees. An article called “The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration” that was recently published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences suggests open plan workspaces might have the opposite impact than intended.
A summary of the findings, which were the result of assessing employees’ behavior during a 15-day study after their workspace was converted to an open plan concept, was shared in The Architect’s Newspaper. The company where the study took place showed an overall decrease in productivity. Many employees have long known what this study has revealed; the lack of privacy and acoustic challenges that come with an open plan environment is stressful. Therefore, a “growing number of workers are searching for quieter environs and wellness spaces outside of the office.”2
The trend of companies creating outdoor work spaces to increase employee satisfaction continues to gain popularity. Here’s a look at some of the benefits:
• Outdoor workspace supports an open and relaxed culture. It encourages people to feel less trapped and expands their horizons.
• The shared aspect of outdoor workspace facilitates co-working arrangements, as well as informal project collaboration and brainstorming.
• An outside work option may improve employee recruitment, retention and satisfaction by providing more options for how work gets done.
• When you have an outdoor workspace to retreat to, it’s easier to take recharge breaks throughout the day. You feel like you’re getting out of the office without really having to leave.3
Maglin Site Furniture’s new Pixel Collection is the perfect solution with its innovative and highly customizable line of modular site furnishings. Inspired by the concept of a pixel and how its square shape allows for near-limitless possibilities in placement and design, the Pixel Collection comprises an interchangeable series of blocks and tops that can be used to create everything from large-scale platform seating to lounge chairs, garden planters, tables, and more. Whether used as an alternate work area or a place for a quick break, Pixel can offer the feeling of privacy through a strategically-placed planter, opposite oriented seating, or incorporating a standing tower into the configuration.
1 Source: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/373/1753/20170239
2 Source: https://archpaper.com/2018/07/harvard-study-suggests-open-office-layouts-might-hurt-communication/
3 Source: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/outdoor-office-spaces/