3 Modern Designs That Are Replacing the Office Conference Room

The need for collaboration in the workplace is high. Collaboration ensures that everyone has a voice, we can brainstorm new ideas, and have successful communication. Usually, offices use the classic conference room to initiate collaboration and conversation, but today's contemporary office has some alternatives. Let's take a look at the 3 different ways the modern office is replacing the conference room.

Standing Room Only

Standing-room-only meeting rooms have recently been introduced to the modern workspace. Most people sit at their desks for extended periods of time throughout the day, but these meeting rooms encourage movement and increase circulation. Types of furniture used in these spaces include bar-height meeting tables, optional stools (for people who can't stand for long periods), and technology for video conferencing. With no need for chairs or stools, these rooms can even save you some money. These types of spaces are recommended for smaller group meetings that don't go over a 1 hour time period.  

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Productive Pods

Also known as mini conference rooms, these spaces are for small groups collaborating on a project. These rooms usually consist of acoustical panels as walls that absorb noise and they can sometimes be portable. Other furniture included would be small tables, benches, desks, and even moderately sized screens for conferencing. These rooms are perfect for 6-8 people who need a quiet space to work side by side for longer periods of time, without interruption. Unlike standing rooms, which can be held in a cafe, open office space, or a larger conference room, these spaces will cut out non-essential conversation from people passing by. 

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Booths

Privacy booths have been introduced for simple noise cancelling, private conversations. They can be for individuals or for groups with around 4 people. It's a great way to have a quick private conversation without having to go to a cafe or a restaurant. 

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The Great Outdoors

Maybe not for everyone or every season, but some companies find it helpful to take the conversation outside. Some offices have provided patios, rooftop gardens, or landscaped paths to be used occasionally for meetings. If you cannot add an exterior conference space, bring the outdoors indoors with plants, photos of nature, or natural lighting. Outdoor accessories can include a shaded gazebo paired with a round table for meetings. If you don't have an outdoor space, sometimes just taking a walk around the block can add the same effect (this is better for very small groups). The amount of people you can host will depend on the size of your space. 

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What do you think about these alternative conference rooms? Let us know in the comments!

How to Make Smart Workplace Technology Decisions

Smart office technology has arrived and it's here to make our offices more comfortable, safe, and convenient. Are you wondering if your office is ready for this technology? Read more to find out.

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Smart Work Spaces are Comfortable 

In a smart work space, intelligent thermostats adjust the office temperature based on outside weather and seasonal changes. Without a smart thermostat, your employees can become too cold or hot. 

Smart blinds adjust how much of a window is covered based on its location on the building as well as time of day or season. Smart blinds ensure your employees get natural sunlight without annoying glares.

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Smart Work Spaces are Secure

Smart badge systems allow businesses to control access to an entire building or specific spaces within a building, such as secured areas or data centers. Badge systems can protect employees from unwelcome, possibly dangerous, visitors and internal/external security breaches. 

Smart sensors can be tied to work place management software, which notify important personnel if there is an unauthorized individual. 

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Smart Work Spaces have Smart Technology

If you have a smart work space with smart technology, your workforce will have the tools to tackle technological challenges more easily.

For example:

  • IoT (Internet of Things), is a system of connected devices that can include sensors which feed occupancy data into room reservation software so the employee can be sure the space is available.  
  • Way finding systems with digital signage show the employee exactly how to get to their destination without wasting time wandering.
  • Wireless presentation solutions and video conferencing technology are becoming more simplistic. With one touch options that enable employees to easily share information with colleagues, whether they are in the same room or are across the globe. Although you still have to learn the software, it is now easier without wires and confusing set-ups. Employees can now concentrate on communicating instead of wasting time figuring out how to use the technology or figuring out what plugs go where. 
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Building a smart work space isn't easy or inexpensive. Consider what is best for your employees and organization first and then approach it one element at a time. 

How Technology will Shape the Future of Office Design

Technology is advancing exponentially. Therefore, it is important and helpful to stay updated on the new gadgets. Especially in the workplace, where hardware and software is being implemented to make work easier, more efficient, and quicker. Technological advancements over the years have redefined understandings of how an office functions. Let's explore the possibilities of the future and how technology might enhance our office design in the years to come.

The Handheld Device

Everyone has a smartphone. We are addicted. It's almost certain that entire offices will be smartphone friendly in the future. Our phones will be able to open doors, invite people to meetings, make payments solely through apps, and more. It's already starting with apps like Slack, which makes co-workers instantly reachable. 

Smart Walls

No more whiteboards or chalk boards. Welcome the smart walls for collaboration and presentations. Smart walls will bring companies together with in house activities, client meetings, and external collaboration. These walls can act as wireless, innovative whiteboards. You'll be able to save notes, drawings, or brainstorms, as well as, stream media. Smart walls can also be used for digital branding, which enhances professionalism, especially on glass. 

Workstations

Due to increased desire for flexibility in the workplace, workstations are going to look very different. Employees will have a variety of workstation options. Everything will be customized to the employee's needs. Different areas for collaboration, individual work, and meetings will be a must have. Smart workstations will be able to sync with your handheld devices, other computers, and centralized communication systems. Computers will increase in size, since productivity increases by 15% due to larger visual displays. 

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Smart Buildings

Entire buildings will be smart. Smart rooms will provide perfect lighting and temperature. We will be able to monitor energy usage, air circulation, and security from central systems. Corporate apps will integrate with the technology of a building to direct visitors to their location and check their identity for safety. Flexibility, mobility, and collaboration will characterize the focus of office design. Our offices will be defined by the technological systems that exist within. It's all happening now, and will take over in the upcoming years. Are you ready?


What do you think about this new technology? Let us know in the comments!

The 4 Most Beautiful Offices of 2017

Looking for some office inspiration? Take it from these 4 companies. Many of this year's winners effortlessly blend elements, old and new. Plants become conversation pieces, bland staircases are a thing of the past. Let's take a look at these office design marvels. 

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Airbnb- Dublin

Airbnb's new Dublin headquarters, built inside an abandoned warehouse, is the first office the company has designed from scratch. The huge staircase at the center serves as a working and meeting area. 

The office is organized into 29 "neighborhoods," or distinct space configurations, to give staff plenty of options for places to work. The giant staircase offers a view of a huge TV screen that's used during presentations.

Meeting rooms draw inspiration from Portugal, Greece, and other places around the globe. Another twist? These rooms are modeled after actual Airbnb rentals!

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WeWork- Shanghai

Design firm Linehouse transformed a former opium factory into the Chinese flagship office for co-working company, WeWork. The space combines old and new with the original staircase, steel beams still intact.

Customers can pull up a stool and chat over coffee or tea in the kitchen. Fluorescent lights create, what the design firm calls, a "tropical retro" feel. 

Booths and open work areas overlook the building's sunny atrium. Hand-painted, poppy patterned wallpaper plays up the office's opium factory roots.

Uber ATG Center- Pittsburgh

The ride-hailing company wanted its Pittsburgh office to reflect its disruptive ambitions. This particular Uber Center is home to the Advantage Technology Group center. They installed the "Tunnel of the Future," featuring renderings of different prototypes. 

Assembly Design drew inspiration from the City of Steel when creating a vision for the space. Walkways are designed to look like Pittsburgh bridges, while the wall in the open area is made of cor-ten steel, laser-cut to depict a map of Pittsburgh.

The showroom is where Uber engineers research and develop mapping and self-driving car technology. Garage doors slide open so that cars can go directly into the all-hands meeting areas for employees to view. 

Money.co.uk- Gloucestershire, U.K.

Built into a Victorian castle, Money.co.uk combines old-fashioned, medieval elements with modern decor and splashes of color. Design firm, Interaction, gave the space new life but kept its traditional architecture. 

Each room has a Sonos speaker system controlled by a wall-mounted iPad. Outside each meeting space is a touchscreen booking panel that's linked to each employee's personal calendar. 

The fintech company's many Star Wars fans helped influence the theme of the cinema. When it's not being used for meetings, the room serves as a space for employees to screen movies, play video games, and snack from a popcorn machine.


What do you think of these funky offices? Too much? Or an awesome work experience? Let us know in the comments!

5 Office Design Strategies to Make Employees Happier

Interior designers and business owners alike have been experimenting with office designs that cater to the employee. One example would be an entirely open office. Originally, open offices were meant to provide easy collaboration, a sense of equality, and transparency, but the opposite effect is created. People are reportedly more distracted and frustrated, which makes them less likely to collaborate. Here are some office designs that add a personal touch for each employee.

Customize Each Space to the Department 

How people work is what should drive office design. Some people need privacy and silence, while other departments need a whole room for collaboration. Find out what your employees need and design each workstation accordingly.

Use Lots of Glass

Glass welcomes natural light, unobstructed views, and minimal clutter. Glass lets in a lot of sunlight as well as a more open feel which can possibly create a sense of transparency, energy, happiness, and morale.

Open Space Along Windows

Instead of saving all windows for enclosed offices, save them for spaces that everyone can enjoy. This includes, open workstation areas, lobby, break room, and conference rooms. Windows allow for natural light, which boosts mood and motivation.

Provide Multiple Communal Areas

If you provide one collaboration space then everyone will congregate there, which can become disruptive. If you provide multiple spaces, not labelled as collaboration spaces, then spontaneous collaboration seems to erupt. These spaces include, kitchen, lobby, conference rooms, and etc.

Make the Walls Interactive

You can make your walls interactive by having whiteboards, chalkboards, or glass to write on. This is great for brainstorming, notes, and ideas. Employees can also walk around the office and absorb other people's ideas for inspiration. Having the option to draw and be more visual causes people to ooze creativity. 


What strategies does your organization use to make employees happier? Let us know in the comments!

6 Questions to Ask Employees Before Designing your Office Space

Commercial redesigns are daunting. It's a matter of designing for many people with varying needs. Take some time to poll your employees. If your company is large, ask the managers from each department to help you out. This will not only improve your redesign, but also create a stronger bond with you and your staff.

Where do you spend most of your time while working?

If your employees are never at their desks, it is likely that they won't need a personal work station for themselves. Those who are at their desks most of the time, likely will need their own desk space. Knowing if there is constant movement or collaboration for your employees will help you decide what furniture to incorporate.

Is your work style more collaborative or independent?

If your employees are very collaborative, you might want an open space with flexible furniture. Flexible furniture can include benches, couches, rolling desks, and etc. If your employees are more independent, perhaps a traditional work space with high panels for privacy would work better.

How helpful is it to have easy access to your team or other departments?

The open office space, which has mixed reviews, might be good for your more collaborative employees. Some of your employees may not need or want that open space. Be sure to add private quiet areas for those who don't need collaboration.

What's the biggest hassle in your job?

If two departments are always communicating but are inconveniently far away from each other, it might be a good idea to place their workstations closer together. Listen to your employee's frustrations and compromise. Convenient design for them is an easier work day for everyone.

Would you rather be surrounded by activity or be in a quiet solitary area?

Everyone is different. Some people work better with lots of energy buzzing around them. Others need complete calm and silence to concentrate. Accommodate your employee's needs so they can be more productive. 

What is one thing you would change about the design of our office?

It's likely your employees have thought about this already. They might give you some new ideas as well. Plus, it will let your employees know that their ideas are important and their opinions matter. 

Top 9 Eco-Friendly Office Products

Today's Systems Corporation doesn't sell these particular products, but we offer these as some suggestions for an office going green. Let's take a look at some of these simple products that you can easily implement into your sustainable workplace. 

1.) Refillable Whiteboard Markers

Instead of creating more waste by throwing away dried up markers, try the refillable markers that can be used again and again.

Cost: 12 for $30, AusPen

2.) Hand-Powered Paper Shredder

It is possible to shred paper without using electricity with a hand-powered paper shredder. As a bonus, it is a great exercise!

Cost: $24, UncommonGoods 

3.) The Seven-Year Pen

No need to order boxes of disposable Bic pens. There is now a pen that will literally last you seven years. As long as you don't lose it, no need to have 10 pens at your desk that will dry out within a few weeks.

Cost: $8, See Jane Work

4.) 100 Percent Recycled Notes

Post-it notes are important, but they waste a lot of paper. Now you can get the recycled version of Post-it notes!

Cost: $18, The Green Office

5.) Recycled Tissues and Paper Towels

Marcal is the leading brand for 100 percent recycled paper products. They have been saving trees since 1950.

Cost: Contact sales@marcalpaper.com for a wholesale price.

6.) Recycled Trash Bins

You can now buy recycling bins made from recycled materials. Terracycle's models are made from traditionally non-recyclable products such as chip bags, toothbrushes, and anything else that would otherwise end up in a landfill. 

Cost: $15, Terracycle.com

7.) USB Cell

Instead of throwing away batteries, recharge them from a USB port with USB Cell.

Cost: $18, USB Cell

8.) ReBinders

These binders are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as an environmentally friendly product.

Cost: 10 1 inch binders for $34, ReBinder

9.) Moss Terrarium

Plants are great for the office. They clean the air and brighten the atmosphere. They are a lot of upkeep though. A terrarium requires a lot less maintenance and they last longer. This particular model is made from a recycled wine bottle.

Cost: $38, UncommonGoods

It's the little things that count. Each sustainable item you add to your office is a step towards a greener tomorrow.


What products does your office use to stay green? Let us know in the comments!

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8 Ways to Go Green & Save Money in your Office

Recycle 

Americans produce millions of tons of waste per year. Businesses are often the biggest culprits of this. Make sure you have recycling bins strategically placed in your office. The more convenient it is to recycle, the more likely your employees will follow through.

Donate Old Products

Upgrading your computers or furniture? Don't throw away the old ones! Especially electronics, which are full of toxic substances like lead and cadmium. Donate these items to schools or people in need. These donations are also tax-deductible!

Use Less Paper

Print back to back or e-mail documents instead of printing them, when possible. You can also easily replace standard printer paper with recycled printer paper.

Turn off Electronics at Night

Leaving on electronics at night is not good. It is a waste of energy and will rack up your electricity bill. According to the EPA, turning off your computers at night saves between $50-$150 per machine, per year.

Use Power Strips

Even when a computer is off, energy still flows. Smart Strips cut off that extra power when it senses the device is not on. Smart Strips are only $30!

Use Energy Saving Bulbs

Switch from incandescent to florescent. Compact florescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy and generate 75 percent less heat. Each bulb saves you $40 from your energy bill in its lifetime.

Add Some Trees

You can save 30 percent in cooling costs by planting trees around your building. Trees reduce the temperature by 3-6 degrees. Plus they keep the earth clean!


Let us know if you have any more tips on going green, that we could include in our future blogs, in the comments below!

Benefits of a Green Building

Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, resource consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. In the US, buildings account for almost 40 percent of national CO2 emissions and out-consume both the industrial and transportation sectors. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide.  LEED certified buildings have 34% lower CO2 emissions, consume 25 percent less energy, and 11 percent less water. Not only is the construction of a LEED certified building green, but so is its function throughout its lifetime.

Green Buildings are Cost Effective 

Investing in a green building makes properties more valuable. The average increase in value for a green building is around 4 percent. The investment will start to pay for itself in about 7 years.

Buildings that have been LEED certified between the years 2015-2018, in the US, are estimated to have $1.2 billion in energy savings, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.2 million in maintenance savings, and $154.2 million in waste savings.

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Green Buildings are Expanding the Market & Breaking Records

By 2018, LEED green building construction will directly contribute 1.1 million jobs and $75.6 billion in wages.

LEED Buildings Perform Better 

LEED is the international standard of excellence in green building with more than 90,000 LEED projects in 165 countries and territories.

LEED projects are getting results across the board, scoring an average Energy Star score of 89 out of 100 points.

Green Buildings Use Natural Resources Efficiently

These buildings have an enormous impact on the environment and climate change. Green buildings are expected to reduce water use by 15 percent and save more than 10 percent in operating costs.

LEED projects are responsible for diverting more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills. By 2030 that number is expected to jump to 540 million tons of waste.


Think your building is ready for a LEED certification? Take a look at how you can get yours here https://www.usgbc.org/credentials

Let us know what you think about green buildings in the comments!

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New Office Designs for Productivity and Wellness

Wellness is a hot topic in offices today. Many manufacturers are designing their furniture with the health of the user in mind. There is known to be a correlation between wellness of the employee and a rise in their productivity. Here are a few ways you can make changes, big or small, to update your space with the health of your workers in mind.

Changing the way Your Space Looks

Open spaces are great for collaboration. They are an appropriate way to accommodate small or large groups of people. Open spaces usually incorporate movable furniture. Movable furniture is a plus as well because it gives people the incentive to interact and talk to multiple people.

Not only do open spaces accommodate large groups, but they also work well for individuals. An open space allows for a get away and it’s easy to find a private area.

Having collaboration spaces adds to the innovative office design that businesses are incorporating. These collaboration spaces usually include a separate conference-like area, called breakout rooms, with mobile seating, enticing amenities, and lots of art.

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Company Pride

Having pride for your company translates to having pride for your work. Design your interior spaces by incorporating your business’s colors, logo, name, shapes, and message. This is possible with posters, company colors, and etc. It’s not only great for your employee’s motivation but it also gives visitors an impression of your business.

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Give your Employees the Option to be Mobile

People were designed to move. Desks that are designed to change heights, workstations that can move around, and mobile power accessories, are just some designs to keep your employees productive.

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Eliminate the Clutter

Clutter can cause stress. Hiding wires would be one way to clear the clutter. Exposed wires are a safety hazard and they can make an updated office look like a junk yard. Flat wire systems beneath floor or carpet tiles are a great way to hide the mess. They also save money due to the easy access when needing repair.


What do you think about these new designs? Leave a comment below!

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The Future of Work: How Office Design is Changing

University interiors are starting to become the inspiration for new office design. This is due to the open and flexible layout that universities provide. College graduates entering the workforce are noticing that the traditional office design doesn't work for them. Businesses are implementing changes. Let’s take a look at what they're doing.

Offer a Flexible Space

KI, a major furniture manufacturer, did a study on new hires and found that 82% of recent alumni hires don’t feel comfortable with the traditional corporate office.

Other KI observations concluded that 25% of employees noticed that new hires like to work “everywhere.” Universities offer libraries, studios, cafes, classrooms, and bedrooms, so recent alumni are accustomed to “working everywhere.”

KI also noted that new hires like to work in groups. The answer could be providing large rooms for collaboration.

The Active Workplace: What does it Look Like?

Active Design: The practice of designing a workplace that inherently encourages mobility. The benefit of implementing active design is to ensure employees are neither standing nor sitting for long periods of time.

Companies are starting to incorporate flexible furniture and wellness programs. Wellness programs offer employees gym memberships, doctor check-ups, and nutrition guides.

Businesses who have started these programs have found that 59% of their workers see actual reductions in health care costs.

In addition wellness programs, employers are adding:

o   Access to natural light- skylights, more windows, outdoor areas.

o   Quiet rooms- for private conversations

o   Greenery- to soften the atmosphere 

o   Treadmills- for mild exercise

o   Sit/stand desks- to balance sitting and standing

New office design also encourages movement by:

o   Making the stairs more convenient and attractive by using graphics, color, and nice lighting.

o   Designing paths for walking outside

The Well Building Standard

The International Well Building Institute was founded in 2013 by Delos in New York, New York. Delos is a huge wellness real estate and tech company. Their focus is the health of a building’s occupants. A building certified by the WELL Standard provides good quality air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and peace of mind.

“The move towards a healthier workplace should be everyone’s responsibility.” -CEO of Delos.

Case Study on Office Wellness

CBRE, a real estate and investment firm, was one of the first companies to be certified in the WELL Building Standard.

After surveying their employees, they found that 92% were positively affected by their new Los Angeles building design. They also found that 94% of the employees surveyed reported a positive impact on their business performance, and 83% stated they felt more productive.

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Importance of Creating an Employee Experience

To better improve your workplace experience, you don’t necessarily have to become WELL certified. Gearing your workplace towards bettering the employee experience is a great start. Implementing a couple of these techniques to your office design promises positive results.


What do you think about these changes? Leave a comment below!

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How Millennials are Inspiring Healthier Office Design

The traditional office space is going out of style and new trends are replacing old ones. Millennials are finding ways to bring fresh ideas to the table when it comes to office design. These ideas include changing the design of the office to make employees more productive, happier, and healthier. Take a look at some of these ideas that could change your office environment for the better.

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New Designs

Sitting or standing for long periods of time may be detrimental to our health. Designs that encourage movement include standing desks, treadmills, and balance boards.

Open spaces with movable furniture are able to provide encouragement for collaboration. Some examples for movable furniture are, movable tables and chairs, and other mobile power accessories.

Noises can be distracting. Sound masking is a great way to get rid of the noise pollution. Designs for sound masking include acoustical panels and sound masking systems.

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Co-working Offices for Telecommuters

Millennials are starting to realize that they prefer working from non-traditional spaces such as, home. Working from home doesn’t mean you have to stay at home.

Co-working offices could be one of the answers to working in non-traditional spaces. They provide amenities such as Wi-Fi, guest speakers, events, receptionists, kitchens, and a sense of community. To reserve a spot for yourself, it’s as simple as paying a weekly or monthly fee.

Go Green

Millennials are concerned about climate change and interested in reducing their carbon footprint. Since we spend a lot of time at the office, why not start there? Many offices are turning to cost-saving, eco-friendly lighting, and materials. These can include LED light bulbs or solar power.

Bring Nature Inside

Millennials want to bring nature back inside. Having plants in the office can clean the air, make the atmosphere brighter, and they even reduce noise pollution.

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Business can be Fun

Working hard is important and so is taking breaks. Combining business and play can send a powerful message to employees. They can be comfortable and be themselves. A lot of businesses add game tables to lighten the mood.

In order to have a healthy and productive office, it’s not necessary to incorporate every single idea. Doing what works for your office and your employees is what is important. 


What do you think about these ideas? Leave a comment below!

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A $45 Million Experiment in Turning Dorms into Incubators

We've talked about hybrid offices, but what about hybrid dorms? College can be a time of great opportunity and inter-disciplinary collaboration, but sometimes it is easy to lock yourself in your dorm to finish your work. The University of Utah is trying to change that with a $45 million experiment to turn your living area into so much more. 400 aspiring entrepreneurs were chosen to live and work in the same building.

The Best Office Layouts for Different Work Modes

Offices need to be multi functional to accommodate for the many different work place situations you will be in. Sometimes your employees will need to be focused other times collaboration will be key. There will also be times of training and learning, and of course, socializing. Read below to learn how to design your office for these four main work modes. 

Tips for a Successful Office Redesign

Are you thinking about redesigning your office space? Looking at recent design trends could help but there are so many and you can't incorporate them all! How will you know what trends will best fit your office? The best answer is to figure out what your employees want or need. 33% of respondents in The Human Spaces report said that office design affects whether they even take a job. Read four tips for a successful office redesign.