The age of CREATIVITY is upon us. This year, PDR’s brave, CREATIVE voyagers squeezed their way through the halls of NeoCon. Their focus was on discovering how we create human-experience-driven spaces that support creative thought. The upcoming 5-Part series of blog posts describe the movements we see and how they can be implemented to facilitate, and increase, the opportunity for creative thought in your workplace.
Part 3: Working Ancillary Style
Oftentimes our typical 8-5 jobs can get monotonous, and quite honestly a bit stale if we are constantly working in the same way and same setting every day. The workplace is adapting and we as designers need to be able to design spaces for new work styles. We are seeing a growing need for more creative workplace design, which calls for a new way of working.
Shifting how we work also means shifting where we work and what tools we use to work. It has become more common for there to be a higher ratio of touchdown and collaborative places to workstations in the workplace. A change of atmosphere from a typical workstation will give the user a fresh and destressed mindset. Working at a destress zone can boost energy, enhance creativity and improve productivity.
A range of products to furnish an organization’s less-formal “soft seating” settings and support a range of postures is considered ancillary furniture. It is common for ancillary furniture to be at a lower, more relaxed seat height and have a lounge-like feel. We are seeing an increase of workplace settings with ancillary layouts and furniture options, and the variety of seating is supporting difference work types.
In past years, lounge-like furniture was used solely for lounging, but now has acquired another purpose, and become a bit more acceptable and adaptable to the multi-user’s needs. For example, power is now integrated in more functional and discrete ways, as well as additional built-in work surfaces and tablet arms. This allows for anyone to be able to plug in laptop equipment directly into the furniture piece and work comfortably on a surface right next to them. Some of these work surfaces and tablet arms are either removable or can swivel to adjust to the user.
A greater variety of lounge chair sizes, scales, back heights, and base options (pedestal or x-base with swivel, metal legs, wood legs, etc.) are also more common on lounge furniture. Now with all of these base options, it is easier to blend lounge furniture with the workplace. A swivel base on chairs and occasional tables between them can really help with visibility and communication between a team. Bar-height “loveseat” benching at bar height tables is another growing trend, providing more intimate setting, while also adding comfort with the lounge-like loveseat.
The residential trend is still going strong in workplace design, because it is greatly supported by the additional comfortable, customizable work settings. More ancillary furniture pieces in the workplace can boost socialization, or “social spaces.” With an increase in social spaces, creativity is enhanced as employees naturally engage with one another. Ancillary furniture provides a comfortable, homey, destressing zone for the mind to be at ease to work and collaborate.
Danielle’s experience with furniture, finish selection, and design, and her passion for sustainable design enable her to create spaces that contribute to wellbeing and longevity.