The Whole Office Is My Office

Today’s workplace looks dramatically different than it did 10 years ago. Collaborative group work and mobile work are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace. No longer do people spend eight hours a day working from a cubicle or office.

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Wireless technology means people can work anywhere at any time, rather than being wired to their desk. Collaboration fosters creativity, ingenuity and productivity, making it increasingly more important in today’s work place.

This new style of working necessitates the use of “activity spaces.” In the workplace today, activity spaces are “spaces accessible to everyone for everything from focused, individual work through large community gatherings.” (knoll.com)

“Office workers no longer lay claim to just a small square of real estate but share ownership of all the spaces that support the multiple tasks they are called upon to perform. In the emerging workplace, the whole office is my office.” (knoll.com)

Activity spaces are a solution for workspaces to provide multiple opportunities for collaboration among individuals and groups. They vary in scale, formality, privacy and flexibility, but no matter how formal or informal, large or small, private or open, activity spaces require a support for collaborative technology.

Various purposes of activity spaces

There are different types of activity spaces: refuge spaces, enclave spaces, team meetings spaces, assembly spaces and community spaces.

Refuge spaces are small, “get away” rooms that are enclosed workspaces intended for focused or confidential work. Refuge spaces may include a whiteboard or video display and flexible furniture.

Enclave spaces are designed for small groups of three to four to get together and collaborate in a quiet, secluded area. They may be open or enclosed and typically have a desk or table, whiteboards and a video display.

Team meeting spaces are collaborative spaces designed for groups of four to eight to work together on a project. Again, these spaces may be open or enclosed and usually include a large table or a cluster of small tables as well as whiteboards and flexible seating.

Assembly spaces are large enclosed spaces (approximately 400 square feet or more) designed for planned collaboration with 10 or more people to work on and are equipped with multiple display surfaces, storage credenzas and tables or desks.

Community spaces are intended for unplanned interaction, such as common areas or café spaces. Community spaces may include informal seating and small tables, lounge furniture groupings or even standing height counters with stools.

Furnishing an activity space

bauhaus modern furniture activity spaces

Layout, size, and technology of an activity space changes depending on the intended function of the activity space, but the basic furnishing types are relatively consistent.

 The Sofa

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The sofa is the foundation of an activity space and needs to be comfortable and inviting.

The Sculptural Lounge Chair

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This chair can be outside the box. This chair needs to grab the users attention and invite them in to use the space.

The Side Chair

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Not intended for extended use, these chairs should be simple, stackable, and lightweight so they can be moved easily.

The Interactive Table

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Like the side table, the traditional coffee table has transformed into a collaborative meeting table. Many tables are now writable and have connectivity capabilities.

The Side Table

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Side tables are no longer used for just lamps and books, they are now doing double duty as desks and temporary workspaces. They just need to be large enough for a laptop, tablet, or even just a cup of coffee.

The Mobile Board 

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The Mobile Board can help define space and facilitate interactive meetings. They are often magnetic, incorporate paper pads or cork boards, or have integrated storage. Mobile Boards take form and function seriously! These boards are as lovely as they are functional.

Whatever the size, design and furnishings of an activity space, all activity spaces are intended to be adaptable to various projects and needs, attractive to the worker, and provide a place for workers to communicate and collaborate with team members. They are no longer a luxury in the workplace; they are an essential component to the collaborative workspace.