New Working Environments: Choose the place you need

New Working Environments Office Trends Open Space

Working as if you were in a cockpit or temporarily docking in at the office – the modern workplace provides knowledge workers with new qualities of space that are custom-tailored to the requirements of today’s working environment.

Mobility, flexibility, teamwork, motivation, creativity, quality work... Gerd knows what is expected of knowledge workers. Yet why is it that existing spaces don’t really fulfil these criteria? A question that he often asked himself – until he visited Karin in her office...

Recent years have made it clear, and confirmed the forecasted trends – our working conditions and processes have changed fundamentally thanks to globalisation, mobility and digital networking. Traditional office layouts, with their rigid structures and uniformity, are no longer appropriate for these extraordinarily diverse and changing requirements. Modern knowledge work requires an environment that offers the ideal – i.e. most supportive – surroundings for each type of activity. What we need are open structures and different rooms with different qualities to choose from.

Modern office planning picks up on these needs and develops a broad range of office landscapes that clearly borrow from urban landscapes. The office becomes an attractive living space defined by diversity and offering different zones and areas. Knowledge workers can select an area to work in that best suits them, depending on what tasks they need to accomplish, along the lines of: Choose the place you need. Much like a city, the office develops identity, personality and character. Inspiring, exciting, productive.

Gerd stared in astonishment as Karin took him through the office. The reception area welcomed him with powerful colours, organic-shaped chairs and a sophisticated lighting system. The corporate design continued in the back office in a cultish way – to his left, behind a glass wall, an inspiring meeting room with sofas and seating cushions on a floor that seemed to undulate; to his right, compact workstations with surprisingly colourful storage systems that provided views, and further forward, an inviting landscape of couches with a presentation screen. Friendly, transparent and open - the office’s design seemed to embody motivation and creativity.

New Meeting Environment

Innovation, creativity and interaction have become decisive factors in modern knowledge work. This is because they exercise a measurable influence over the quality of work results. Knowledge workers therefore need a working environment that is state of the art regarding information and communications technology, that promotes networking and exchange. It should offer access to necessary information and not only allow routines in the workflow, but above all also enable creativity.

We-Places are ideally suited for this kind of interaction. They are designed for cooperative activities and offer the perfect environment for collaboration and communication in groups of various sizes. Such areas can be meeting and conference rooms, but also reception areas, cafeterias and break-out lounges. Add to these the places for spontaneous collaboration, stand-up meetings or spaces for presentations, workshops and discussions in small, informal settings which are usually located in the traditional central zones. Special products such as the successful PARCS series help to create an inviting, inspiring ambience, with sophisticated media integration and flexible adaptability.

Karin walked towards a cylindrical element – a room within a room. "Here we are", she said. After they entered the space, she laid her tablet down on the table in the middle. "Do you have the plans with you?"

Focused work in Shared Space

Despite all of these communications requirements in the new working environment, contemporary offices must also offer attractive and easily accessible areas for concentrated work where people can withdraw: Me-Places. In addition to areas for recreation, there are also think tanks and libraries available. These are usually located in fixed, allocated places and their numbers are often limited due to the construction expenses involved. Now this range of products is receiving a fundamental, qualitative addition: DOCKLANDS.

DOCKLANDS are high-quality individual modules for temporary, focused solo work. They offer versatile options in room planning while also fulfilling room-shaping functions.

As Karin and Gerd left the Toguna, he asked: "So where is your actual workstation?" - "I don’t have a fixed location", came the unexpected answer. "I’m almost always on the move. Whenever I come into the office, I just dock in at an open spot over there." She points to a furnished niche in the middle of the room. "It’s perfect – I’m not disturbed there and have everything that I need."

Dock in, work a bit, move on

Similar to an urban port, DOCKLANDS are available for use by knowledge workers who are either operating in or visiting the office.
They offer users privacy in the smallest of spaces. To work a bit, and then move on. Intelligent and compact Service Docks are also available as a printer island, a Coat Rack and an updated Phone Booth.

The workplace as a cockpit

Workplaces are the third typology of the classic workplace (in addition to We- and Me-Places). Space-efficient design, ergonomics, capacity for individual organisation and a high level of functionality are dcisive for these areas. This is because workplaces still take up the most amount of space, and this is the main reason why they need to be intelligently planned and well positioned.

While Gerd was waiting for the lift, he turned his gaze back to the office once more. Now he noticed how compact the workplaces were. The employees seemed to have everything they needed within reach, and the intelligent design of the desk-storage combinations offered generous legroom as well as a skilful mixture of screening elements and the opportunity to interact with colleagues. Moreover: the walls were not "just" walls; they were always also storage elements, or a pinboard as a third working level.

The new and intelligent Workplace programme CUBE_S makes it possible to structure a room in an optimised and less expensive manner. Free-standing carcass furniture rarely contributes much to the quality of a room. But CUBE_S is special: an efficient and comfort-enhancing combination of storage space and workstation.

CUBE_S offers modular workplace types of combined desks and storage areas that can be joined into compact workstation arrangements. The lateral sides of the storage area provide maximum comfort for the user. Personal storage is within arm’s reach, and everything important is nearby; horizontal surfaces, compartments and vertical pinboards can be organised optimally. Like working in a cockpit.

Gerd almost regrets that he has to leave this office with its inspiring atmosphere. But maybe he can convince his boss to do something similar – they’ve been discussing an office redesign for quite a while now...



Ronnie Heiner