3 Ways That Office Design Is Becoming "Smarter"

In the bad old days, offices were one-size-fits-all. Sure, you had a few choices (Cubicles, or offices? Should we put the filing cabinet to the left of the desk, or to the right?), but for the most part, office environments were more alike than they were different.

All of that is changing now. Office design today reflects a work world that’s very different from the one we toiled in just a few years ago. Here are a few ways our work space and office furniture has changed.

1. Offices Are Making Us Healthier

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Thanks to innovations like standing desks and treadmill desks, we have a chance to actually become more physically fit while we work. If these trends continue to take off, we might soon see an end to the recent stream of articles about how sitting is gradually killing us all. Even better, perhaps we can finally cancel those gym memberships none of us are using anyway.

2. Offices Are Making Us Better Team Players

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Gone are the days when every office had a door and every cubicle had sky-high walls. Today’s offices are likely to be open plan, which means that everyone sits out at long tables or at temporary desks, working on mobile devices and moving around as needed. The upshot of all of this is that we’re a much more agile, less desk-bound work culture. Done the right way (with some private spaces, and white noise machines to cancel out distracting sound) open plan offices can make people more collaborative and encourage them to be more creative.

3. Offices Are Better for the Environment

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If we offered you a choice between furniture made from sustainably harvested natural materials, or stuff made of toxic materials that vent noxious fumes, which would you pick? Yeah, us too. But the real winner when you pick environmentally-friendly furniture isn’t the folks in the office. As this piece points out, your desk probably isn’t venting harmful amounts of poisonous fumes while you’re going about your daily business, no matter what it’s made of. On the other hand, the folks who made that chair are definitely exposed to whatever it’s made of, for good or for ill. And then there’s the air, soil, and water around the factory while it’s being manufactured, and by the landfill when it’s finally outlived its usefulness. No wonder more and more companies are pursuing ecofriendly furniture sources.

And finally, of course, we have to point out that if you really want to save the planet, you can’t do better than buying used furniture, especially from us. Our furniture is refinished and restored to better-than-new condition. And you never have to worry about it taking up space at the dump.

Images: myfreeweb/Flickr, chrismeller/Flickr, officenow/Flickr

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