Let there be light.
Let there be flexibility.
Let there be savings.
Let there be lessons learned.
Workers are being sprung from their claustrophobic cubicles and cast into more open, airy workspaces. According to an International Facilities Management Association survey, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, about 70 percent of American offices feature an open-seating design.
And now with the sleek trend of seamless glass walls, modern offices are getting some polish – with a purpose too.
Light fuels productivity
Just as the right tools help harvest crops, so do seamless glass walls help harvest daylight. No longer being stopped by sheetrock, natural light from a bank of windows can now flood into the interior office space.
Plus, they look cool, too.
Employees who are around more natural light during the day are more likely to be healthier and in a good mood, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Test participants with windows in their offices got 46 minutes more sleep per night and even reported getting more exercise after work.
So glass walls:
- Increase productivity and mood
- Reduce energy use by reducing the need for artificial lighting
- Help spaces feel larger – even when dividing the office footprint
- Invite collaboration because workers are visible
- Cheer up a drab environment
Flexibility helps keep costs down
Glass walls are demountable – unlike concrete walls, which require demolition. So workspaces can more easily be reconfigured with changing needs – or changing tenants from a landlord’s perspective - and without the cost of construction.
Glass can offer a multi-use surface solution by incorporating whiteboards or other types of interactive surfaces. Big boon to small spaces.
Glass can enhance office aesthetics – particularly if decorative glass is used.
A few stones thrown at glass offices
While the benefits of a modern office space accented with glass walls are irrefutable, there are a few potential snags.
- The “bird factor,” as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Yes, people walk into glass walls. Frosted bubbles or circles at eye level help.
- Glare. Solutions:
- Enclosed blinds in the glass walls
- Privacy glass
- Glass film
- Custom curtains that can be closed when needed.
- The “fishbowl effect.” While glass offers some privacy, some employees complain of too others looking in. The solutions for glare can afford more privacy.
- According to Robert A. Hansen Associates, acoustical consultants, glass walls allow 50 percent to 100 percent more noise to pass through, compared with soundproofed drywall.
- Consider this when mapping out the office.
- Isolate the conference room or boss’ space, for example.
- Add soundproofing to the glass.
- Make white-noise devices available to staff.
Glass walls are clearly an exciting trend for a modern office. Let the professionals at Beaux-Arts Group literally help lighten up your workspace.