While there are always best practices when it comes to office designing, every industry has its own requirements that enhance the functionality of an office.
What works in the tech industry might not work as well in healthcare, but may translate brilliantly to education. After decades of trial and error, each industry is taking a harder look at creating offices that cater to their unique challenges and needs.
We break down three major industry’s goals to show why there’s never a “one-size-fits-all” solution to designing the perfect office.
Ever fast-paced, the tech industry thrives with spaces that are as agile as the teams that use them. Collaboration is a constant for most major tech companies, but several jobs — such as web development — perform far better in insolation, distanced from the chaos of an overly open environment.
In a sense, tech companies have to be even more aware of their own personnel’s workstyle and collaboration methods. Some groups, like UX design teams, continuously bounce ideas off other members, trying to find the secret recipe to keep app or software users engaged. Software developers, those that code into perpetuity, would rather be away from the noise and fully focused on their own work.
The ideal tech space might have:
- Private silos for focused work, especially long hours of coding
- Social spaces with collaboration in mind — a kind of “work where you play”
- Small group dialog areas that encourage spontaneous meetings
- Easy access from siloed areas to social/group areas
Learning is a valuable skill that’s made all the more valuable when done in a space designed for the purpose. Education wrangles with attempts to create the ultimate space for learning, while the industry continuously adapts to evolving teaching methods and technology changes.
Libraries, bookstores and other education locations must strike a balance between privacy and openness in order to make the most of the space available. Though mobile devices and online resources have taken hold in the industry, successful education spaces foster innovation by encouraging collaboration. Whether working on group projects, researching, socializing or discussing ideas, education spaces aren’t simply a sea of individual nooks for quiet study, but a mix of spaces.
The ideal education space might contain:
- Lounge areas and recreation zones for socializing or collaborating
- Study “pods” for duo or group work
- Individual reading or study stations with plugins for laptops and other devices
- A buffer area between the social and private spaces so overachieving solo scholars aren’t disturbed
Office design in healthcare is among the most scrutinized of any industry, since a few seconds of efficiency can mean the difference when saving lives. Cutting wasted time and steps is critical in healthcare, so it’s no wonder hospitals and primary care clinics are seeking better ways to help doctors and their teams treat patients faster.
More than most other industries, healthcare relies on relentless communication. If personnel’s line-of-sight is blocked too much, communication gets cut off in a way that could derail a clinic’s performance.
At the same time, doctors must speak with their staffs regularly, a poor healthcare office layout would send patients right into the heart of the communication flow and deter successful communication between staff members.
The last thing clinics or hospitals want is to unwittingly disclose patient information to passers by!
More problems can be caused if the hierarchy between physicians and their staffs is too rigidly reinforced by the office design. Giving physicians private offices encourages them to stay isolated from the colleagues they depend on for vital information.
When designing an office for healthcare, these are the elements a designer might include in a successful space:
- Intuitive patient flow to exam rooms away from communication about patients
- Open primary work areas that encourage interaction between physicians and staffs
- Easily accessible, but private areas to store patient information to retrieve when needed
- Private areas for patients to feel relaxed and at ease
- Fewer private offices that would encourage isolation from staffs
Helping Companies Adapt their Space
From fashion to telecommunications to cardiology, LOFTwall has collaborated and crafted spaces to match each company’s function and personality.
In healthcare, a cardiology department needed a better way to service waiting patients and keep them secluded from the dining traffic of a nearby restaurant. At the same time, they wanted an office design that matched their brand and helped patients feel welcome.
In fashion, an up-and-coming men’s wear specialist needed space that not only gave them the private spaces they needed for focus, but showed off their personality as a company willing to go against the grain.
In telecom, a Canadian company wanted a better way to connect with the locals in their area, so they designed a station to supercharge their brand and their customers’ devices all at once.
No solution was the same — and that’s the beauty of office design.