What could the Beatles and office chairs have in common? The recent documentary series “The Beatles: Get Back,” directed and produced by Peter Jackson, covers the making of the Beatles’ 1970 album “Let It Be.” The documentary is an eye-opening look at how creativity comes together to spawn one of the greatest rock and roll albums ever made.
It is a good example of how creativity can happen even when we are not working. The documentary proves that most of the genius that comes through in the Beatles album happens between recording sessions when the group is simply hanging around together, noodling on their instruments and talking about riffs they have come up with and fragments of songs they have written.
If creativity and collaboration can happen outside of work, then imagine what could happen when employees are sitting in their office chairs during work hours. Creativity in the office often happens naturally, but it can certainly be increased and improved through workplace design and the right mix of office furniture.
People around the world rank team building as the most important attribute of great workplaces, according to a recent workplace survey by the design firm Gensler. In Germany, which is dominated by shared and group offices, workers are asking for more open, collaborative spaces. Gensler’s Germany Workplace Survey found that three-quarters (74%) of respondents work in an enclosed office, but over half (61%) would prefer a more open work environment.
Designers are thoughtfully creating more opportunities for workers to collaborate by rethinking meeting spaces and turning them into less formal rooms and touchdown areas. Touchdown areas are for more casual work, often unscheduled. Still, these areas need the right tools that can support collaboration.
9to5 Seating’s Mila office chair is a good choice for a multi-use conference room. The chair can be dressed up in its upholstered version or used more casually in mesh.
With its integrated, intuitive controls, Omnia is a great choice for collaborative work as well. A light-scale mesh office chair, Omnia can be specified for work, conference or as a stool and it doesn’t have to be adjusted by the user, making it perfect for these important shared spaces. The Cydia mesh chair comes in a variety of styles including task, stool and side versions making the collection extremely flexible for spaces where collaboration matters.
As the pandemic subsides and workers return to the office, organizations will want team members to reconnect and engage more frequently in less formal spaces. This organized teamwork brings together workers to make better decisions, thereby strengthening the work process and end product. Multiple studies have shown that collaboration increases employee engagement, creates stronger teams and ultimately improves the bottom line of the companies that encourage it.
If you don’t have them already, think about creating touchdown or team rooms for casual and collaborative meetings. Use 9to5 Seating products like Cydia Mesh, Mila and Omnia with lounge products from the Jax and Lilly collections to create spaces where these office chairs can be easily placed around a table with few adjustments needed to create a comfortable sit, mixed with some lounge products for more casual work.
The Jax Collection goes perfectly with 9to5 Seating’s collection of high-performance seating products. Jax is a complete lounge line and is available in high-back, mid-back and side options. When blended with other 9to5 Seating products, the lounge collection can be used to create an oasis in the office — small collaborative areas where teams can gather for work or socializing. The Lilly collection with its lounge and side seating, also has counter stools for café use, dining and collaborative spaces.
By bringing together products like those mentioned above, companies can push their offices into the future. Strategies like creating activity-based workplaces (ABWs) and neighborhood-based choice environments (NCEs) can create collaborative work zones in the office while giving employees a number of options when it comes to how and where they want to work.
Of course, one person’s interaction can be another person’s distraction. It is important for companies to work with designers to make sure the collaborative spaces aren’t compromising quiet, “heads-down” work, and ultimately employee productivity. Like all high-performing offices, the right blend of individual focus work and collaboration space is needed.
The pandemic forced people to work from home and collaboration suffered. Even though hybrid work — a blend of working from home and in the office — is likely to continue in some form even as the pandemic recedes, the office will remain critically important, especially when it comes to meaningful collaboration. Being in-person with other people is among the top reasons to come into the office, according to a Gensler study. Working in-person with my team/colleagues was universally ranked as the #1 reason in a Gensler Research Institute report, while socializing with colleagues, being part of the community, or impromptu face-to-face connections also ranked high. In particular, respondents reported that the office excels at supporting collaboration, awareness, problem-solving and inclusive communication.
Finding the right balance between work from home and in-person work and heads-down and collaborative work is ultimately a management decision, supported by space and furniture like the products from 9to5 Seating, but even the most introverted worker understands that collaboration — that productive interaction found in abundance in the office — is key to unlocking creativity.
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