Systems Furniture and Collaborative Workspaces
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Occupant Needs Shape Systems Furniture DesignPt. 2: Systems Furniture for Health CarePt. 3: This PagePt. 4: Furniture Product Showcase
Systems furniture is part of an integrated interior design scheme. The furniture a facility executive chooses based on the needs of the organization will affect other components of the space. It may even have an overall effect on employee productivity.
One trend in the workplace right now is collaborative space. Generally in the past, there have been some teaming areas with seas of cubicles or offices taking up the majority of the space. With organizations taking on flatter hierarchies and real estate footprints getting smaller, areas where informal meetings can take place are becoming more and more popular. Organizations are also encouraging employees to work together, literally breaking down the barriers between people by lowering or even removing panels altogether.
Many of the same companies embracing collaborative space are also looking into sustainability. The two trends complement each other well. Lower panel heights mean daylight permeates deeper into a space and more people will have outside views. Having less square footage and less furniture reduces the amount of energy needed and the carbon footprint. And the sustainable concept of hoteling has an effect on systems furniture set-ups as well. Facility executives should weigh the goals of their organization to determine which ones may be complementary and use that to their advantage when choosing systems furniture.
Perhaps the largest benefit to an organization from properly appointed furniture is increased worker productivity. Giving employees exactly what they need where they need it, as well as ergonomic furniture and workstation set-ups, helps ensure that employees aren’t spending needless time searching for things or readjusting their chair. “When people aren’t complaining or calling in sick,” says Spencer, “they’re being productive.”