Denise Mieko Cherry is a principal of Studio O+A the San Francisco interior design firm that has created groundbreaking offices for Facebook, AOL, Microsoft, Yelp and many other companies. A firm believer of the philosophy that good design grows from understanding the client, she opines that work styles are as individual as workers themselves and as varied as the tasks required during the day.
When it comes to great office design, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It accounts for as many varieties as possible and catering to multiple needs. From having a flexible space for communal activities like happy hours or business chats to a space to dine or have a quiet, contemplative moment. It is important to have an assortment of work zones that are dedicated to team-wide research and ideation without sacrificing individual needs for focused, concentrative work
So how can you add variety to your office and accommodate different work styles? Here are some of Cherry’s ideas:
Studio: This dedicated creative space should foster non-linear thinking and is the ultimate of work being produced. Provide your creative team with a place to collaborate among disheveled inspiration boards or building away on worktables.
Living Room: The tone of a meeting is dictated by the furnishings in a room. It also helps with the ideation process. Move away from a formal-looking style and convert at least one conference room in your office into a lounge space with couches, small tables, and whiteboards.
Town Hall: Part of building a productive office is building a sense of a community. A town hall encourages cross-company mingling through lunches, happy hours, and all-hands meetings. Your employees connect regularly and ideas generate freely.
Shelters: Oftentimes, the best interactions are those that are not planned. Offer a semi-protected space with a few chairs and a table or two that allows for impromptu discussions and collaboration for small groups. It gives teams a chance to be amid the action of the open plan without disturbing it. Plus, it frees up valuable conference rooms.
Library: Everyone needs a quiet space to retreat to once in awhile and the scholarly wood tables or wingback chairs of a library provide an escape for focused, concentrative work.