Private offices are usually thought of as traditional work spaces that force some difficult tradeoffs: workers get more privacy but less interaction with others, plenty of quiet concentration but no collaboration, and great image and status but limited function and flexibility.
Often, private office furniture today fails miserably at supporting these new ways of working. They provide no separation between the private, contemplative area of the space, and the public, collaborative area, making it hard for workers to easily engage others. They also lack easy access to tools and visual displays for communicating ideas and information, a key to switching from individual work to collaborative work.
Since private offices usually house a company’s highest paid workers, how effectively those workers are supported by the private office furniture is an important business issue. Steelcase research shows that new strategies for planning private office furniture, leveraging technology, and supporting the diverse ways people work today, can make the private office more effective, not only for the people who work in these offices but for the organization overall.
- The Enterprising Private Office:
Private offices have changed little over the last century. Four walls, a double ped desk and credenza, a desk chair and a guest chair or two. Yet while the private office has been fixed in place, most everything else about business has changed. The tools people need, the kind of work they perform, and the ways people work are dramatically different from fifty — or even ten — years ago. People have long sought peace and quiet at work, usually envisioned as a private office. Steelcase’s Workplace Survey1 reveals that 92% of workers today say it’s important that they have control over the level of privacy in their primary workspace, yet two thirds of those people say they don’t have that privacy. Read More