Archive for July, 2012
By now, you’ve read plenty of articles extolling the virtues of open plan offices. And we concede that they are less expensive, more collaborative, and just plain cooler to look at than stuffy cubicles. However, there’s one small problem with the open office, and that’s privacy.
Fortunately, where there’s a need, there are companies that want to sell you something to fill that need. These are a few of our favorite new products designed to offer just a little bit of old-fashioned privacy in an open office world.
Essentially a high-end cubicle for people forced to toil away in a world without walls, the “Me Place” offers privacy — and style. And they are stylish. PearsonLloyd calls them a place where “workers can remove themselves from the background noise and distraction associated with the general office when they require a space for total concentration.” FastCompany calls it a cubicle that “won’t make you want to gouge your eyes out.” We call it adorable, and want one for our home office.
Urban Office Interiors sells a wide range of privacy screens in every conceivable shape and hue. (Seriously: there are curved screens, flat screens, screen pods … it’s like a festival of privacy over there.) If your company won’t supply you with walls, we fully support your right to put some up wherever you happen to be sitting. Bonus points if you move the screen with you over the course of the day.
There’s a lot of debate about whether or not it’s a good idea to wear headphones in the office, so we’ll shelve that for now, and suggest that the real problem in the open office isn’t just the noise … it’s being able to see your coworkers lurking behind you out of the corner of your eye. The solution is obviously to start wearing giant 1980s style sunglasses with blinders on the side. As an added benefit, if you wear these, your coworkers will think you’re so odd, they’ll stop sneaking up on you altogether. Everyone wins!Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Since its founding in 1938, Knoll has focused on bringing modern design to the evolving American workplace. The company has such a strong aesthetic that 40 Knoll pieces are on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City!
For nearly 70 years the Pennsylvania-based furniture manufacturer has worked with clients to produce office interiors that meet specific functional, aspirational and economic needs. Today, Knoll offers a variety of options for both open space plans and private offices.
The company continuously conducts research to better understand the needs of today’s workplace, using independent field studies; collaborating with customers as well as universities and business associations; and seeking expert advice from designers, architects, psychologists and business managers.
With the popularity of open space offices, it has built an inventory of office furniture that promotes collaboration and new technology while still affording some privacy and plenty of flexibility.
In addition, it’s been an industry leader in sustainable design, seeking out certification from a number of organizations including The Greenguard Environmental Institute, The U.S. Green Building Council (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), The Forest Stewardship Council and the GreenStandard.org.
The company offers many different product lines built especially for for open-office planning, but each fall into three general design styles:
Focused Planning: This design uses medium-height panels and storage, which give individuals the opportunity to concentrate on their work without being isolated from their coworkers. This line comes with three different enclosure heights: 42-inch offers seated visual access; 48-50-inch provides some seated privacy and shields computer monitors; 64-inch offers maximum privacy and some overhead storage.
Shared Planning: Two to three people who work together frequently can share desktop space in this scheme. The spine system has removable screens and freestanding furniture allows groups to be reconfigured as needed without disrupting the infrastructure. Shared tables and facing desktops allow for more spontaneous collaboration.
Team Planning: With this “big table” configuration, teams of four to eight can communicate freely and openly at all times. Members of the team will not have to leave their workspace in order to engage one another. The corners of each workspace are defined by L-shaped cabinets for personal storage. This configuration also features bench seating similar to a conference table, with glass dividers that can separate teams and house infrastructure. Parallel standing-height counters can be used for personal or group storage.
Here are product lines offered by Knoll that can be used for the aforementioned design schemes.
Antenna Workspaces: This award-winning line – one of Knoll’s newest – uses desks, tables, storage and screens to create spaces that fit both task-oriented work and team projects. New: $13,427 for two-person workstation to $32,291 for eight-person bench workstation. Used versions are a fraction of the price.
AutoStrada: This line offers four distinct planning models tied together with a modern aesthetic. New: Starting at $28,586 for two-person workstation to $95,217 for a 10-person bench workstation; Used: $1,495 for single-person workstation
Dividends Horizon: This line is a contemporary solution for individual and group workspaces. New: $21,443 for four-person workstation to $38,897 for eight-person workstation; Used: $785
Equity: This line offers utilitarian, space-saving options. New: Starting at $8,870 to $21,984 for a one-person workstation; Used: $799
Morrison: This line uses an elegant, coordinated aesthetic to define the whole office. New: Starting at $12,216 for a single-person workstation to $78,212 for a six-person workstation; Used: $1,199
Reff: This line is more traditional and tailored, featuring wood workstations and flexible design. New: $31,339 to $39,052 for two-person workstation; Used: $1,250 for single-person workstation
Tips and Accessories
When purchasing Knoll workstations, look for special features like the Currents Service Wall, which offers advanced technology management – giving you easy access to cabling, power and communications.
Fence is another Knoll accessory that facilitates open-office planning. An alternative to traditional panels, the Fence screen allows natural light to pass through workstations while still affording workers some privacy.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
There’s something about the office environment that brings out the prankster side of most people. We don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the presence of so many potential victims, all sitting in close proximity to one another in adjoining office cubicles. Maybe it’s a mini-rebellion against the daily grind of meetings and deadlines. Or maybe we’ve been breathing in too much toner. Whatever the reason, some of the funniest pranks we’ve ever seen have come out of offices. For example…
How do you make a sports fan cry? Wait until they go on vacation right before the NHL playoffs, observe as their team loses, and then redecorate their cubicle in the winning team’s colors. That’s exactly what happened to this New Jersey Devils fan, who returned from vacation to find his cube redone as a shrine to the Los Angeles Kings.
We have no idea who poor Sergey is, and what hideous crime he committed, besides apparently taking a vacation. But when he returned — rested, we hope, and able to cope with minor annoyances like not being able to find his computer, keyboard, or phone — he found this. That’ll teach him to use up his allotment of paid time off.
Courtesy of “The Office,” we bring you the only office cubicle prank we’ve ever longed to try, but skipped, due to a fear of ants: the ol’ stapler in the Jello. For those of you who don’t watch the show and tend to space out when your coworkers are talking about TV, it’s exactly what it looks like: a stapler, or any office supply, in Jello. We’re really hoping that the series finale of this show features Jim putting Dwight’s entire work station in a ginormous vat of Jello. Or better yet, maybe he could just encase all of Dunder Mifflin.
“This office furniture is like cardboard,” we picture the occupant of this cubicle complaining, right before he went off to lunch or out to the dentist and left his worldly belongings unattended. And then we he returned, he found this. Is it wrong that if we were on the receiving end of this prank, we’d sit down and pretend to work at our new paper workstation for, oh, just a few hours? Come on. Someone put a lot of work into this. And it’s important to be supportive of your coworkers’ creativity.
Okay, this didn’t actually happen. Although we’re going to pretend that this photo was taken at a zoo where they’re trying to offset the cost of caring for the animals by teaching them how to do data entry. Which is how you get in serious trouble with animal rights groups. And also eaten.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+