Step into my office, but please don’t step on my desk
After years of retrofitting the American office environment, it appears another change is looming. What was old is now new. And much like life, weather, and my weight, nothing remains the same.
When commerce moved from farmland to the corporate world, a new environment for the American worker was designed utilizing acres of small metal desks, lined up in neat rows, monitored by women catering to the men sitting in hard-walled offices with closed doors. I wonder if that’s where the saying “behind closed doors” came from.
With upgraded interior finish technology that included new materials, increased use of equipment such as electric typewriters, personal printers, and other work-use enhancements, employees were herded into mazes of cube farms. Each sported 6-foot walls protecting invaluable personal treasures secured in a 64-square-foot space. Cubicles were the rage. They were reconfigurable, but not really that effective.
Then “they” decided benching was the answer. Since we live in a perceived homogenous world, we could all work elbow to elbow in perfect harmony. Anyone got a Coke?
Fast forward to today and the trend is to landscape a completely open office environment with breakout rooms consisting of poufs, small private spaces, respite rooms, perches, islands, and areas where lounge chairs abound.
All of the office environment designs have served the needed use for the various corporate entities to manage and house people and to push paper through the halls of commerce in an efficient and dependable manner.
Part of the reason for change in any industry, but especially the fashion industry – after all that is exactly what the world of furniture, flooring, and fabric fall under – is to A) create a “must have” emotional desire for the latest, and B), to adapt to increasingly changing technology. Both reasons fill an important need to create continued growth for the manufacturing side and consumer needs.
Hire a knowledgeable designer, Iconic Design Studio, who understands the financial ramifications for incorrect specifications and don’t purchase anything directly from China. Many products are produced in China, and that’s fine. However, to protect your investment and sanity, purchase from a reputable dealer who will stand behind the product when it breaks down. Listen to your designer and/or dealer when they say don’t spend your money on Chinese products that looks good at time of purchase but will not stand the test of time.
So, here’s the bottom line. There is no panacea when it comes to desking or life. What the world focuses on may not be what your focus should be. Stand on your own needs and be bold in your desire to offer the most efficient and practical desking and collaboration resources available to you and your people.
Apply logic and common sense when making office furniture decisions. And be aware your decisions will significantly impact your return on investment.
Kelli Berry, Principal of Iconic Design Studio, has more than 40 years of experience working in large hospitals and the corporate world to provide accurate specifications for interior finish products.