By: Janet H. Thomas, RID There’s so much buzz about workplace trends in the office environment. Opinions are abundant on what the environment should be to promote the most creativity, productivity and cultural connectedness. So I asked myself, are the Industry professionals promoting these trends actually following them in their own work environments? Some on-line research revealed the following:
- Environment – pre-dominantly these highly creative professionals have placed themselves in white box open plan environments. Work zones have white walls, ceilings and furniture. Floors are black or white. Neat and tidy is the overriding theme. Benching prevails with expanses of straight fixed height planes and open sight lines. The rationale is that a clean slate is needed to distill creative ideas. (HOK Houston)
Storage surrounds these work zones to hold files, plans, reference material, books, samples, models, etc. Natural daylight is abundant. Color is reserved for common areas and trends toward bold saturated colors with very high energy. Furniture becomes more relaxed, engaging interaction and spontaneity. (HOK London)
- Influences – A secondary layer may appear around the Work zone and in the common areas that consists of mementos, gifts, historically significant items, artwork, trinkets, prototypes, found objects, sketches and pin up boards. These totems bring color, texture, context, connections to inspire the creative process.
- Pets – Pets in the work place is a split vote. Offices with a more relaxed culture included animal friends as a positive influence for employees. Canines were most popular, several known as office mascots. The more highly tuned a clean crisp image is to brand the less likely pets are acceptable.
- Technology – Amazingly in a world so highly tuned to technology, a high percentage of design professionals start their creative process with pens, pencils, and paper or moleskin journals. Model building and prototyping were the second most popular means of exploring concepts. When ready for technical detailing, then I-phones, I-pads, Mac books and Mac pc’s are utilized in combination with sophisticated 2 and 3-D printers.
Will the open plan white box approach prove to be a timeless solution? As technology speeds up the way information is exchanged and the work place becomes increasingly global it will drive change and test today’s solutions. Photo courtesy of: http://www.monkeybusinessimages.com/