NeoCon 2012 was a blast! What a great opportunity for networking and a great venue to launch a new product like our desk-mounted privacy panels! Of course, half the fun of being at NeoCon is being exposed to so many fantastic new products and concepts from other manufacturers in the office furniture industry. This year, a lot of companies were really “Thinking Big”. For example, Knoll is seeking to revolutionize how we think about work and how it affects office design.
As usual BI Watercooler is on top of reporting this news in concise terms. Check out their blog post for an explanation of the 3 types of workspaces Knoll says can be found in a typical office (focus, shared, and team work) and the 5 types of “activity spaces” that employers should create to support today’s “distributed” work patterns. In simple terms, the old idea of creating separate types of work spaces for different categories of workers doesn’t necessarily make sense when it comes to making the most of your office space. In an average work day, the same employee might need to engage in a wide variety of activities. This means they will require access to a variety of spaces complete with office furniture that supports their current activity.
Knoll put together a “virtual” showroom so those of you who didn’t make it to NeoCon can still view this concept in action. You can see in their blueprint how “Refuge” spaces for heads down work are co-located with “Enclave” spaces for casual collaboration among small groups. That approach makes a lot more sense to us than the trend toward making an office totally open plan with no panels or dividers. That kind of setup supports only the collaborative idea of work and doesn’t reserve any space for work that requires solitude and concentration.
We definitely see our OBEX products meshing with this new vision for creating a blended workspace that supports a broad range of activities. Our panels are easy to add to any cubicle or desk to instantly create a “refuge” space for focused work.