Open Office Etiquette | Workplace Research by Knoll

Introducing Policies, Protocol, and Politeness

It can be challenging for companies to transition from a private office workplace into an open space work environment. A significant number of workers do not know what to expect. Moreover, they may not how to handle the difficult situations that often arise in open office environments. That is why it is extremely important for companies to develop a clear path for a smooth transition and to provide each employee with the necessary tools to alleviate possible anxieties. This new research prepared by one of our favorite manufacturers outlines in very simple terms how we can easily implement a program that will benefit the whole organization.

Photo by Knoll

“By improving collaboration and communication, flattening hierarchies and eliminating siloes, open environments can catalyze the innovation businesses seek.”

Photo by Knoll

Source: Open Office Etiquette | Workplace Research | Resources | Knoll

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Everyone Needs a Place to Plug In

Flexible work environments need to provide more flexible products. Since we are relying more and more on our mobile electronic devices, so does the need for keeping mobiles, laptops and tablet devices charged. Consequently, a good portion of the furniture manufacturers have answered the call and are incorporating charging points into upholstered seating as well as desks and tables.

Let’s take a look at some of those options:

Highlights:

≡ The PowerCube by Knoll is a lounge table that does double-duty as a digital charging hub and an analog communications tool,  with whiteboard writable surfaces on all sides.

Jolt by Kimball Office has a USB charger and a wireless power-charging surface that seamlessly integrates technology vital to connection, collaboration, and productivity.

≡ The Pairings Lounge Collection by Kimball Office merges simple sofa/lounge collections with the more informal space where people work, team up, and gather, creating adaptable, lounge-based work settings that host teams and technology in comfort.

≡ The Power Up Arm available in the Fringe Lounge Seating Collection by National Office offers extreme flexibility. It features two power outlets and
two USB ports.

Charge it!

 

10 Ergonomic Tips for a Healthier Workspace

Eyestrain? Sore back? It is amazing how making even small tweaks to office furnishings or work habits can make you more comfortable. To reduce your risk of injury, and improve your performance, consider these ten practical ergonomic tips for your workspace — and work style.

Check out this very useful infographics created by Knoll:

 


 

NeoCon 2016 | A Look at The Latest Trends and Products

In case you did not have the opportunity to attend this year’s NeoCon show in Chicago, do not worry….we got you covered.

Let’s take a look:

 DIRTT Environmental Solutions

 

Kimball Office

Knoll

Shaping The Fluid Office: What Can We Learn From Buildings 20 and 99?

Even as open-space environments have become increasingly more popular over the past few years, companies continue to debate the open- versus closed-office environment concepts. But there is another concept that lays a solid foundation for both – the “fluid office.”

The dynamic environment of the fluid office seems to be taking shape and is gaining more and more attention. The fluid office is not confined to a single set of walls but, instead, is one that flows with the worker and task allowing for even greater productivity.

Because it addresses the situational demands of the activities and roles performed at any given time, the “fluid” office is flexible and adapts continuously to your organization’s changes and growth.

CLOSED + OPEN = FLUID OFFICE

Fluid Office Workplace

The closed-office environment works best for tasks that require intense concentration. Interruptions and distractions are minimized, but it is usually more expensive. Conversely, the open-space environment encourages communication and collaboration and often reduces costs. Yet this approach can also lead to a lack of privacy.

Instead of trying to design office solutions around the worker or team, the fluid office approach is designed to match the worker and environment to the requirements of different types of tasks. Workers have the flexibility to choose their space at a moment’s notice, based on the tasks they are performing. And the overall environment becomes more configurable through the use of architectural products such as raised flooring or movable walls.

The Benefits of Fluid-Office Environments

  • Encourages communication and knowledge sharing, when necessary.
  • Isolation available, when necessary.
  • Shared office space and the open-office floor plan still saves on real-estate expense.
  • Higher visibility of worker work habits, when necessary.*
  •  

The real trend – and therefore the real advantage of the fluid concept – is more about creating spaces that can quickly and easily adapt to the changing needs of your organization.

BUILDING 20: THE FLUID OFFICE CONCEPT – Design by Surprise

MIT Building 20 - Fluid Office Workplace

 

The fluid office concept is not only NOT new, it is genuinely intrinsic to innovative and productive working conditions as revealed by chance in MIT’s infamous Building 20 (also known as “The Magical Incubator”).

During WWII, MIT was growing quickly and needed extra room for scientists to conduct research. In 1943, Building 20 was built as a temporary facility that was supposed to be demolished at the end of the war. It was hastily constructed, with thin wooden walls and a leaky roof, yet served as a home for groundbreaking research from a wide variety of professors and students, including Noam Chomsky and Amar Bose (of Bose Corporation).

According to MIT professor Paul Penfield, “Its ‘temporary nature’ permitted its occupants to abuse it in ways that would not be tolerated in a permanent building. If you wanted to run a wire from one lab to another, you didn’t ask anybody’s permission — you just got out a screwdriver and poked a hole through the wall”.

And precisely because of its temporary nature, Building 20’s occupants were free to reconfigure work spaces, move walls – even floors in some cases – to accommodate their changing needs.

To get an idea of just how Building 20 bred productivity and innovation in its 50 years before being torn down in 1998, check out this list of amazing stories. And if you’d like to know more about Building 20, I highly recommend reading How Buildings Learn: What Happens to Buildings After They’re Built, by Stewart Brand.


BUILDING 99: THE FLUID OFFICE CONCEPT – Design on Purpose

Microsft Building 99 Fluid Office Workplace

While MIT’s Building 20 birthed fluidity as a result of fate and circumstance, Microsoft’s Building 99 was meticulously designed to foster flexible collaboration in all the right ways. The main atrium was designed to accommodate all 650 people who work in the building at one time, if necessary. Writable (and erasable) surfaces line the walls at every turn. And the interior is filled with a thoughtful mix of private offices, formal and informal meeting rooms to be used according to the task or project at hand.

Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, describes it best: “In a sense [the building’s designers] built the water-coolers first, and then designed an office building around them.”

Building 99 is based on meeting the changing needs of its workers. And since it’s the headquarters for Microsoft Research, the need to optimize change is paramount.

Robert Scoble, an American blogger, technical evangelist and author, wrote of his visit to Building 99, “The floor is actually elevated so all networking, and air control can be put underneath. The carpet isn’t actually one solid piece, but rather is tiled so that each piece can be lifted off and things underneath can be reconfigured. If a researcher is bothered by the location of the air vent in her office she could have it moved to some other location.”

Scoble also mentioned that all of the interior walls were movable. “So, if a group wanted to change its space they could do so without costing Microsoft a lot of money in rebuilding costs.” Check out Scoble’s photostory on Bldg. 99 here.


THE FLUID OFFICE CAN BE A SOLID CHOICE

Primarily due to advancements in technology, the world we live in changes on a daily basis. Businesses must be prepared to adapt and that means creating flexible and efficient working environments that foster innovation and productivity. You don’t have to be MIT or Microsoft to incorporate fluid workspaces. Yet doing so can help you build success and longevity into the foundation of your organization.

*Source: The Fluid Office: An Open and Closed Case University of Missouri, St. Louis