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Activity Spaces Can Increase Office Collaboration & Innovation

Activity Spaces Can Increase Office Collaboration & Innovation

Posted In // Design Tips

One of the major focuses for research and development at world-renowned office design firm Knoll is the concept of activity spaces, in contrast to the primary spaces assigned to individuals. These spaces, which are areas that exist in different locations from individual workstations, are far from an afterthought for most businesses. Rather, they represent the physical environments in which most work is now conducted: studies have revealed that unassigned spaces account for more than 50% of work hours.

The office is becoming more dynamic and customizable, developing characteristics that better mesh with the life process and discard rigidity, embracing the full range of activities and communications that can give an organization a competitive edge.

In its 2012 report on the subject, Knoll lists five different types of group spaces that can be used for activities beyond what is possible in a cubicle or open workspace. Alternately, they can simply provide variety in one’s surroundings, boosting creativity and productivity.

Five environments for better office collaboration

• Refuge – This space is ideal for intensive work on a specific project by either one or two people. A room for this type of space is generally enclosed, measuring between 35 and 50 square feet. It often contains a video screen, whiteboard, and furniture with wheels.

• Enclave – Allows three or four individuals to gather in an open or enclosed space that is approximately 100 square feet. You want a table (either standard desk height or coffee table height), video screen (allowing for remote office collaboration), and whiteboard.

• Team meeting – This space, which can be enclosed or open, measures around 200 square feet and accommodates five to eight people. You can either have one table or various tables, a video screen, and mobile whiteboards.

• Assembly – Measures approximately 400 square feet at the minimum, in an enclosed setting with countertops (for refreshments). It includes multiple setups for video and whiteboard. This space suits 10 or more people.

• Community spaces – This space should feel less structured and more casual. Interaction can be scheduled or unscheduled. Furniture in these settings can include barstools, couches, and comfortable chairs surrounding small tables.

This interactive map details different types of activity spaces. (Note that you can only click on the boxes, and they correspond with the color chart at the top of the page.)

Productivity enhancers from DeskTime

Beyond changing the environment, try these four tips from Julia Gifford of office workspace analytics company DeskTime to increase productivity in your office:
1. You want your office to be as close to 72°F as possible. Employees will slow down if it gets hotter.
2. Plants have been proven to improve productivity and creativity. They are also calming.
3. Breaks should be seen as essential to the process rather than as distractions. It’s always necessary to allow your mind to refresh and recalibrate.
4. Consider your colors, with lessons from the field of color psychology . You also don’t want glossy paint: it may excessively reflect sunlight, leading to eye strain.

Multifaceted office design solutions

The notion of activity spaces helps to reimagine the possibilities within office environments – necessary now that a majority of office work is completed away from one’s primary workspace. Our position as the exclusive Knoll dealer for West, Southwest and Central Florida allows us to craft solutions combining both of our organizations’ design expertise. Review our catalog to spark ideas.