By Penketh Group Insights Team
26th September 2018
With open plan workspaces comes a number of advantages and disadvantages – most of which can be boosted or combatted with the right office furniture. When clients ask our experts which is the best furniture for their open plan office, we always offer the same pieces of educated advice…
Acoustic office furniture to control noise
One of the biggest cons that comes with the many pros of open plan working is excess noise. With a limited number of walls and doors, there is less chance for unwanted sound to be absorbed which can create issues with concentration, communication and mental health.
Click for our tips on how to reduce noise in an open plan office and the acoustic products you need for your workspace.
Furniture which doubles up as storage
Another one of the main challenges open plan workspaces often face is a lack of sufficient office storage. With prevalent trends towards minimal interior design, storage can often be overlooked so choosing furniture that aids organisation and decluttering is ideal.
The Double Top Table from the new STUDIO by Bene collection (pictured above) is a perfect example of a discreet but effective integration of furniture and storage.
Click for more advice on how to limit clutter in an open plan office.
Products which provide privacy
A study by the University of California shows that the average office worker is disrupted every 3 minutes. This feeds into Steelcase’s research around The Privacy Crisis which explores the idea that modern, open plan workspaces are giving rise to a problematic lack of privacy for staff.
Creating privacy in an open plan office is therefore paramount and can be achieved by incorporating products such as the Frovi Jig Shed or the Boss Design Aspect pod (both pictured above). This enables staff to find a sanctuary for confidential tasks or individual concentration and focus work when required.
Tech-integrated furniture for connectivity and collaboration
Open plan offices encourage more agile approaches to work and increased freedom of movement around the workspace. As staff become more nomadic, it’s essential that you provide enough places to power up and connect so they don’t have to be tethered to one specific workstation.
A great way to do this is by incorporating technology-integrated furniture such as the Steelcase media:scape (pictured above) which facilitates mutual idea and screen sharing away from the desk.
Soft seating for breakout and social areas
In order to further cater for this increased mobility and agile work modes, we also suggest including some soft seating to create dedicated breakout and/or social spaces.
Here, staff can go to collaborate casually or rejuvenate by themselves, boosting productivity and workplace wellbeing. This also gives a nod to the trend for resimercial design and more domestic commercial interiors to help staff feel more ‘at home’ as private and professional lives continue to merge.
Creating dedicated breakout, collaboration or social spaces also gives staff the chance to get away from their desk when surrounding noise issues infringe on privacy or cause significant distraction.
Products which minimise use of floorspace
When it comes to open plan office design, space is a hot commodity. In order to avoid wasting space and overcrowding, you could consider something like the Four Us Wall (pictured below) which minimises use of floorspace.
Although open plan design has many advantages – including improved communication and collaboration – there are also times when space division is necessary.
Whether it’s to conceal a noisy brainstorming session or temporarily divide one work setting from another, including something like BuzziBlinds into your product portfolio is something we would always recommend.