Although open office floorplans may have a bad rap, don’t brush them off so quickly. They still have a purpose and can easily be integrated into ABW. Use that open environment as a shared space. Select collaborative furniture that allows seating configurations so they’re simple to arrange in a variety of positions and settings. Include cool ottomans, community tables, swivel arms with task tables, benches, casters or a swivel base, comfortable sofas, console tables, and don’t forget power options. Make this area spacious enough for teams to gather when discussing group projects but useful enough for individuals who either work remotely or freelance and only make it into the office a few times a week. The idea is to create a space that’s agile for diverse groups and people, promoting engagement.
Quiet, Please: Quiet and Private Spaces
These areas are for what the name implies…projects or tasks which require focus and concentration. Quiet spaces should be positioned away from open or shared environments so that trickling noise doesn’t create interruptions. Use seating pods and enclosed booth seating for privacy and quiet.
Just Lounging: Break-out and Lounge Areas
Similar to the collaborative space but not to be confused with it is the break-out or lounge area. This space should have comfortable furniture such as upholstered sofas, armchairs, banquettes, ottomans, and coffee tables. It’s meant for people to chill, converse, and unwind in a casual atmosphere. This environment can double as a collaborative area for colleagues to gather when brainstorming, hold a last-minute meeting or also be a waiting area for guests.
Every company and office space are singular to their culture and size, so obviously what may work for one company may not work for the other.
Before you begin mapping out all the great spaces you’ll create for your team with the activity-based workplace design, consider some “Don’ts” before you “Do”:
Don’t select the first activity-based workspace model you read, hear, or see. There are several ABW concepts, so be sure to explore all options before you decide.
Don’t make the commitment to go ABW alone. Speak about the pros and cons with your team to make sure they understand what is ABW and how it will affect their workspace. If you have a very large team or don’t feel comfortable talking about the topic, consider inviting a consultant to provide a causal presentation and answer questions. This way, everyone feels they’re included in the decision-making process.
Don’t lose sight of creating a better work environment that will lead to increase productivity and all-around efficiency just because a few people are not on board and may not see the bigger picture. Those naysayers will witness improved organization, sustainability, and overall effective space and will go from thinking this was a horrible idea to thinking it was the best idea you’ve ever had. And for those who don’t, unfortunately, you can’t please everyone all the time.
Don’t cut corners. Let’s face it, every business has some kind of budget when it comes to optimizing office space. Therefore, you should be mindful of the costs to transition from cubicles or a totally open floorplan to activity-based workspace design. You should also keep in mind to deliver what you promised your team. Meaning, if you’re too focused on cost rather than function, you’re bound to drop the ball on the ABW model. To change the dynamic of your office environment, you’ll need to go all the way.
Who got Activity-Based Workplace design right?
By now you’re thinking…sure this all sounds great and I’m ready to jump into an ABW design, but do you have examples to show me of other companies who have successfully adapted their space to the activity-based workspace model? Glad you asked.
5 companies around the world we think nailed activity-based workplace design.