Today’s office is increasingly taking on the function of a meeting place, where collaboration is more central than before, thanks in part to contemporary methods such as Agile, project-based, activity-related or flexible working. But how do you create the best meeting place? We listened to furnishers.
Optimal use of floor space is an important condition that organizations place on the design of space. To realize this, it can work to take the different types of collaboration and consultation as a starting point. The available workspace is therefore secondary to this. Do you want to meet, do you want to brainstorm, do you want to focus, do you want to teach or do you want to sit down with a client? Each activity has its own goal and requires a functional and inspiring environment to realize this goal. Once it is clear what types of collaboration and consultation are involved, only then ‘only then’ does the organization choose the flexible customized solutions for the spaces in question.
Thus, if all goes well, the purpose of the collaboration is the starting point for the design of the flexible and functional workplace. Broadly speaking, there are four types of business meetings with their own “zone.
- Moments with primarily a social character; meeting executives and colleagues during coffee break and lunch. Often these are spontaneous meetings with light-hearted conversations, which contribute to quick(er) decision-making thanks to relaxed interaction
- Time for teamwork, focusing on achieving the common goal. An example of this zone could be an Obeya room, but also a place on the shop floor where Daily standups take place. This zone requires large work walls with writing space and place to hang prints
- Consultations (including with clients), meetings, conferences, presentations and brainstorming sessions
- Individual focus in peace from the (flex) workstation in the office
No office can do without a conference table and chairs. If only to receive clients and relations and offer them a place to sit. Nevertheless, the combination of table and chairs has now literally lost working terrain and made way for standing tables in inspiring spaces. According to researchers, standing is a must if you take your health seriously and if you want to confer efficiently; within 2/3 of the ‘standard meeting time’ the consultation is successfully completed. At the time, standing meetings were received with disdain here and there, as yet another hype, but it is now a tried and tested and enduring phenomenon within the modern office.
In a meeting room you want to be able to switch immediately from sitting to standing. This way you make optimal use of the work environment in question. You do not adjust the meeting to the available setting, but the setting to the desired type of consultation. The Chameleon Flipping Table meets this need.
Many business premises are furnished with one or more office gardens. The idea behind the office garden, at the time, was a good one; people are social beings who seek each other out, who want to be able to meet without barriers and who like to work together. Moreover, an open office space gives teams the opportunity to cross-pollinate and thus achieve shared goals more quickly.
Many organizations are experiencing the benefits of an open-plan office and definitely do not want to go back to rooms or units. At the same time, teams want to be able to separate for a sprint or team meeting without disturbing colleagues, who want to focus on individual work. Those who work according to Agile, or take a project-based approach to work, experience that these interests absolutely do not bite each other. The solution lies in being able to arrange the office garden flexibly and functionally. The Chameleon Harmonica Workwall is an example of this.
‘Office 2.0’ as the meeting place par excellence is crucial to grow the organization. Every organization has its own DNA and this requires a unique, functional design that fits its mission and corporate culture.
Written by Teun ten Bosch