Office Furniture

Flexible Office Plan: Having Both Open and Private Spaces Isn’t Enough

Flexible office plans are all the rage right now, as companies have begun to understand the need to provide employees options. They now realize these employees need flexibility because they perform a variety of tasks and have different personal preferences. And these businesses know productivity suffers when they go with a purely open office or an office offering only private spaces. But here’s the thing: having a truly flexible office plan requires more than just a combination of open and private spaces.

We have plenty of benching systems and other modular, shared workstations as well as cubicles to help companies get their office furniture right for a flexible plan. However, even with the right furniture, without properly planning other elements of office design and atmosphere, businesses won’t maximize productivity as much as they can. With that said, we’ve compiled a list of other things to consider when creating a flexible office plan.

Temperature

Remember that episode of The Office when Oscar talked about how he goes to work early to set the thermostat, but everyone changes it throughout the day? Oscar liked it at 66 degrees, and of course, Kevin liked it at 69.

Obviously, not everyone chooses temperature based on what number they find funny. People have different preferences for temperature based on a variety of factors. For example, women typically prefer warmer temperatures due to generally slower metabolic rates than men.

To alleviate workplace discomfort — and battles — in the workplace, some companies have tried some innovative ways to approach the issue. One Italian company gives its employees “thermal bubbles.” Other businesses have decided to use the app Comfy, which allows office workers to choose a 10-minute blast of cool or warm air by choosing “Cool My Space” or “Warm My Space,” in attempt to put an end to thermostat wars.

Of course, other approaches exist to this problem. A company could set up its office to have multiple thermostats, one for each room or zone, and go from there.

Lighting

There are many reasons to utilize more natural light in an office. Still, that shouldn’t be the only consideration companies make when it comes to lighting. Some people prefer dimly lit rooms, while others prefer brighter ones. One study showed that dim lighting leads to more creativity, while bright lighting proves better for analysis and implementation.

Businesses can utilize this knowledge by offering dimmer areas employees can choose to work in as they see fit.

Color

As discussed in a previous post of ours, what colors work best in office environments often differs based on workers’ personalities and tasks. With that in mind, businesses can use different colors in different areas of the office and allow employees to move around as they wish.

As one can see, people’s preferences in a workplace vary in several ways. In order to ensure everyone works their best, employers should provide options beyond offering both open and private spaces.