For some, especially those of us from a certain generation, the thought of an open or shared workspace may violate our ideas of what a work area should look like. The higher up you rise in the corporate world, the fewer people you’ll have to work around in your corner office, right? Well…

For years now, this has been changing. And with it, so has office interior design. Real estate is growing more expensive. When dollars-per-square footage becomes a factor in choosing a space, many employers have begun to rethink the tried, cubicle/office approach, in favor of fresh, less costly alternatives. Another factor in the equation is that recent studies have shown that communal workspaces often yield more out-of-the-box thinking and productivity from employees. It seems like at work, there is truly strength in numbers.

To accommodate the trend, interior designers have pulled out all the stops to create shared workspaces that dazzle the senses and promote intra-office idea flow in a really big way.

Are you seeking to infuse a more vibrant, cohesive feel to your office, but don’t know where to start? A great route is to create a community nook of fabric chairs and/or sofas where your staff can meet to discuss upcoming calendar events, or brainstorm potential strategies for a new client. A sofa can also be an easy way to add a pop of color to your workspace, so don’t be shy: warm orange or cool blues both work to your advantage.

Okay, so what if you require a table for everyone to sit around in the board meeting? Fortunately, there are now loads of alternatives to the big oak and cold glass and metal staples of yore, including the fun, double-duty Ping-Pong Conference Table. When that meeting has ended and it’s time to get back to our desks and turn those newly-hatched game plans into home runs, your employees could benefit from your innovative thinking. Does your population consist of a significant number of younger people? They might appreciate something like the stool and long table combo, which enables them to maintain eye contact with one another when working. This setup is great for businesses that specialize in arenas such as social media, where the constant exchange of ideas is paramount to the ultimate survival of the product.

Let’s talk paint. It’s been proven that it really matters in the workplace. Light pastels soothe, while vivid, rich hues invigorate. The important thing to remember with shared workspaces, is that too much of even a good thing can be detrimental. For example, you probably do not want to paint more than one (or two, depending on space size) wall(s) red, as it induces anxiety. On the opposite end of the spectrum, bland colors throughout tend to promote boredom and mind-wandering: two things you definitely want to avoid for your staff, if possible.

Lastly, insert your personality into the space. Install a swing (yup, you read that right), or follow the lead of a Silicon Valley goliath and build a slide or even an indoor forest. That may be pushing it a bit, but we encourage you to stamp your brand onto your space, just as you would your goods. When potential customers come to visit, this could be the difference between snagging the deal and having to wait till next time. Show ‘em what you’re made of right out the gate.

Do you have a community workspace that just needs to be showcased to the world? Send us some photos!

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