December 15, 2017

We were interested to read last month that the open-office trend that defined the early part of this decade seems to be winding down. The movement gained traction in the mid-aughts, when Silicon Valley firms began do to away with small, portioned offices in a favor of large, open rooms with communal tables. Their intention, these firms said, was to promote transparency and foster collaboration. The open-office layout was embraced nationwide as companies clamored for ways to save money during the Great Recession.

The open office concept has always had its detractors; the Washington Post reported that nearly half of employees working in such a layout had serious issues with their lack of privacy and bevy of distractions.

Now that the complaints have been tallied and the economy has bounced back, employers and furniture makers are eager to usher in a new phase of office-layout philosophy. 

Instead of scrapping the open office entirely, or reverting back to the cubicle kingdom of yore, research is suggesting companies provide their employees with both spaces: room to collaborate and room to recharge. This means bright, inspirational meeting rooms with long executive tables as well as individualized stations for workers who need to be the master of their own domain to be productive. This hybrid layout also encourages employers to make use of previously unused spaces like hallways and alcoves to provide gathering areas where employees can chat and get their creative juices flowing, or simply blow off steam. 

Seems like a win-win, right? Consider that a flexible office like this could benefit from flexible pieces. This White Modern conference table can extend from 63 inches to 95 inches, making it suitable for meetings large or small. 

For retrofitting communal spaces with quieter work stations, check out some modern desking systems, like this one with a lively red tackboard and privacy panel. 

To encourage employees to stop and sit a spell in those once-neglected corners, try visually arresting pieces like this sunny seat, 

or this sophisticated guest chair, made from bonded leather:

We're not sure how many folks will be sad to see the open-office trend bid adieu, but we're confident most people will find their niche (both figuratively and literally) in the flexible workspace of the future. 

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