“My office has an open layout, everyone sits together. I have these people all around me: talking loud, discussing, brainstorming, playing radio; I sometimes go to the conference room and I have this large room all by myself. Sometimes I get kicked out because groups wants to meet and then I have nowhere to go. How am I supposed to concentrate and get some serious work done?!” exclaimed Nora.
One aspect of Nora’s work include (the most talked about) 3Cs: Communication-Coordination-Collaboration; but an equally important aspect of her work is a product of the creative solutions she comes up with when she can concentrate and focus on the work at hand without any external disturbance or stimulus. Nora – introvert or not – has a different working style. While conference rooms, open-semi open meeting/touchdown areas are great for the 3Cs, focused work is equally important for employees who need to do some deep thinking.
This calls for zoned areas: semi-private and private areas in an open plan offices.
- Furniture: The first and the most flexible solution is zoning furniture separate from the open office areas. Use of alcove sofas with a high back & side wall sofa provides the user a comfortable seating experience and an acoustic division for some noise reduction.
- Booths: The second option is open office booths, planned early in the design stage. Compared to the high back sofas, these have a desk to dock a laptop, comfortable seating, a power and data/WiFi connection.
Private: Phone room or focus rooms are high walled small rooms that provide most privacy for focused work. The room layout includes a desk and a chair, hence the room footprint is small; it is advisable to have a glass wall to make it visually open and let light to remedy claustrophobia. Provide distraction banding at eye level to cut visual stimulation. Providing a fabric wrapped panel and soft furniture can increase acoustics in the room. Provide for power data outlets or WiFi connection; and if you wish to go a bit high-tech a room-scheduler will prove useful to reserve the space. Make a percentage of phone booths ADA accessible.
How does your office incorporate different working styles? Please let us know your thoughts.