Office Space Design: Getting Your Office Furniture to Work for You 

a group of young employees collaborating in a shared work space

Research into how we work is nothing new. First, there were factory floors, then large office spaces that resembled factory floors, then cubicles, then the revolution against cubicles, then the technology and internet age. Every step of the way business executives and heads of major companies have been trying to figure out a way to improve the way we work. A big part of improving productivity and increasing collaboration lies in the way that people’s workspace is arranged, although not many companies consider this as an asset or tool for growth. Here at Indoff Office Furniture, we understand that the office is not just the place we arrive at in the morning with coffee stains on our shirt, our hair undone, and flustered from the morning commute. The office space needs to be so much more than that. 

Many startups and tech companies today are trying innovative ways to propel their workforce to improve workflow. Sometimes it feels like they are at odds with themselves. After all, the office is not one dimensional. Here at Indoff Office Furniture, we understand that. We see the office as a place that should inspire creativity but also encourage comfort; it is a place that lends itself to quiet solitude and focus but also makes interaction and collaboration easy. The office space should do all these things while maximizing space and suggesting a feeling of modernity and coziness. 

Let’s take a step back, where did all this begin?

The roots of the office design were born out of necessity. As the white-collar age began, many big-time company execs understood that housing all of their employees in one building could present a series of problems but also opportunities. During the turn of the 20th century, Taylorism was born and would today be looked at with some scorn. The office layout consisted of a fully open layout with all employees laid out in one big room as company executives looked on from above the way that factory floors were often structured. This creation of hierarchy and separation would not bode very well today but the movement was deemed Taylorism, after Frederick Taylor, who was obsessed with productivity and efficiency. The levels were soon done away with and the arrangement became more utilitarian by the mid-50s, although much of the space still remained relatively open. Later in the 20th century, Herman Miller created the Action, a semi-personal workstation that created dividers between workers but gave enough space for some conversation. This little station has gained quite the reputation and has in some ways become synonymous with the drone and tedium of modern life, yet it did change the way that office space was conceived for many years. This is, of course, the cubicle. 

The Move Towards Collaborative Spaces Using Furniture and Space Arrangement 

The modern age has us not only working with technology but working to further technological advancements, services, software, and more. Regardless of what your office works on or develops, the space where your workers attack the problems and challenges must be conducive to a better work environment. 

Approaches to Better Office Design and Increased Productivity 

See your office design and furniture as tools for growth. For the modern age, this might include re-engineering office space to encourage interactions and communication between different departments or types of employees. Let the developers mingle with the designers, let the creatives watercooler-talk with the salespeople, and let the managers interact free with their teams. This happens simply by re-thinking the way our spaces are laid out. In terms of furniture, it might include using different types of desks in one area and other more private cubbies in another. 

Use furniture as a way to set the tone and create comfort. There are so many more options today than simple cubicles or bland desks that tend to create clutter. One thing that does increase people’s stress is the clutter that begins to form when the arrangement of the room is not conducive to storage or the maximizing of space. Today’s office furniture offers a lot of interesting alternatives, many of which can increase employees’ comfort level and set different tones for different rooms. Technology companies like Google—who have truly revolutionized the office space— have found that productivity happens in a spectrum, so they have designed different rooms to be conducive to different types of work, from solo work to semi-quite focused areas, to full open collaborative spaces. 

Indoff Office Furniture is meant to help you maximize and reengineer your office space in a way that inspires your employees to be more productive, comfortable, and happy at work. 

 

The History of the Office: Where Productivity and Creativity Flourish

a modern open office space with plants and white office furnitureOffices have a long, storied past. It’s where great deals are made, and where world-changing inventions come to life. But how did we arrive at the modern office? And where are offices going in the future? Today, we’ll delve into the history of the modern office to see if we can uncover any secrets to this crucial piece of modern society. If you’d like to convert your office into a more efficient, comfortable, and professional space, then Indoff Office Furniture can help.

The Origins of the Office

Here’s a fun fact, did you know famed English author Geoffery Chaucer is credited as the first person to use the term “office” as a place where business transactions take place? This was way back in 1395, appearing in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Prior to this, the term was generally used when referring to a position that involved certain duties. 

We can find the true birth of the modern office in the 18th century when the East India Company and other large-scale, complex organizations began to grow and take hold of the world. It was during this time that the first office spaces were being built. These buildings were built with the sole purpose of getting work done. 

Productivity³ 

At the core of every office is the need for productivity to thrive. This need gave birth to the office cubicle. In 1964, office equipment company Herman Miller teamed up with industrial designer Robert Propst to create a concept of a “modern” office that would fight against the monotony of past office spaces, thus allowing for higher degrees of creativity to flourish. What they came up with was known as the “Action Office,” a precursor to the modern cubicle. Today, the cubicle is seen in a less-than-flattering light but its original intention was to create a private setting where employees could work without distraction, thus letting their creativity and productivity flow. 

Japan in the 20th Century: Birthplace of the First Open Plan Offices 

One the other side of the spectrum is the 20th-century Japanese office. Japanese offices pioneered what is known as an “open plan” which mostly relies on ergonomic decisions that aid in making employees as productive as can be. Unlike most American offices, Japanese offices have no walls dividing desks or cubicles; individual offices are also eschewed in this open floor plan. In order to ensure productivity, the office or group leader sits at a prominent position. From this spot, the leader can assign tasks and keep tabs on work as its completed.

Since this open-plan does away with walls, team members are able to speak freely with one another in case they require assistance or guidance. If this sounds like your current office layout, then you’re in good company! It wasn’t long before the open office plan pioneered by Japanese businesses began to crop up in other offices all across the world. 

Working from Home

There are countless industries in this world of ours. As such, some industries may benefit greatly from open plans while others are actually more beneficial with cubicles or team spaces. It all depends on the particular industry. But with the advent of the internet and the turn of the century, offices actually evolved to become more personal. So much so, in fact, that many individuals have gone on to work from home.

Everyone, from architects and freelancers to therapists and photographers, has made the move to home offices. Although there is still a prestige that comes along with a physical office address, there’s unbridled freedom that comes from working at home. In fact, many modern companies have remote workers who live in different cities or countries. All this can be done thanks to the advancements in technology and internet connectivity. 

Coworking Spaces Explained

Coworking spaces are an interesting development in the trajectory of office spaces. Sometimes, working from home just isn’t in the cards. Perhaps you don’t have an extra room to spare or your family is much too loud for you to properly speak with clients over the phone without interruptions. This is where coworking spaces can come in handy. Coworking spaces seamlessly combine the idea of open-plan offices with the premise of remote work. For low monthly rates, you can have your own desk in a modern, state-of-the-art office.

Coworking spaces are incredibly popular among freelancers, start-ups, and entrepreneurs so you’ll be in good company. In fact, that’s one of the main benefits of coworking spaces. Since like-minded individuals are all around you, you’ll be able to flourish in your own endeavors. Coworking spaces create a unique environment. You’re your own boss, but you’re not on your own. You can take time to speak with those around you and bounce ideas off one another and there won’t be a supervisor keeping tabs on your tasks. As such, creativity can flourish!

Finding the Right Furniture

Whether you’re planning on converting your spare bedroom into your home office or you’re ready to start renting a space for your startup, you need to make sure you have the right office furniture to guarantee productivity, comfort, and organization. This is where Indoff Office Furniture comes into play. We carry the best of the best in business and office furniture. Give us a call today to learn more about what we have to offer!