A lot has changed in the business world in the past decade. Most of that change has been for the better. But some of that change has been a regression. Open plan office spaces seem to be one such regression. While cubicles were not perfect, they did provide workers with a sense of personal space that they could make their own. They could personalize them with photos and quotes and sticky notes of their passwords. Okay, that last one was never a good idea. But to see those passwords, a person had to enter the cubical. Now, those sticky notes are on the monitors and the desks where they can be seen casually by everyone.
It is more than just a loss of privacy. Open plan work spaces lower productivity and employee morale. Everyone is more on edge. There is also pressure to always look busy even when you aren’t. When you are forced to always look busy, burnout and fatigue are the results. Cubical allowed workers to take micro in-place breaks as needed. As humans and not machines, those breaks are imperative. So when designing your modern office that represents a rethink of everything, keep the cubicles and table-top dividers. Here are a few more traditional pieces that will still serve you well:
A Conference Table
Office pods and conference tables are some of the most important pieces of office furniture you can buy. If you are going to have an office at all, it will need a place where several people can come together around a table and share ideas. That is the primary function of a conference table. It is highly inefficient to gather around one person’s desk. There is usually not a lot of room for more than one person in a cubicle. And forget about chairs for everyone. Office pods serve a similar purpose, but for two to four people with a little more privacy.
Another major concern in the modern world is outlets and ports. You need a table that can be fitted with electrical outlets and USB ports. People are not coming to meeting spaces with pads and pencils. They are coming with iPads and Apple Pencils. Everyone will have a laptop. So there has to be room on the table for a laptop and a smartphone. At least one of the things they bring to the table is going to likely need a charge. This is especially true for off-prem workers who have to come in for a quick meeting. They are always needing to top off their devices. If more than one such meeting will be going on at a time, you need more than one conference table.
Let’s clear this up once and for all: We are never going paperless, especially a finance-related business. Such a business is paper heavy. There is the need to keep hard copies of everything. Some documents have to be kept for several years due to regulations. Paper is not just something you will use on occasion. It is an integral part of your business.
That means you need a place to keep all that paper. File cabinets look much the same today as they did 50 years ago because they serve the exact same function as they did 50 years ago. You are going to need at least one, and possibly a wall full of them. Besides a print station, you are going to need a shred station with policies and procedures that keep you in local compliance with the disposition of sensitive documents. As long as you need paper for your business, you will need traditional paper-handling facilities.
A Coffee Station
You can spend all the money on artisanal coffee products as your current round of investment will bear. But at the end of the day, or rather, about two-thirds through it, people are going to need a cup of Joe. Your best friend is not a nearby Starbucks. No one has time to make that run several times a day. You need an old-fashioned coffee maker. If your budget can handle it, you can use one of those fancy units that you put cups and pods in for each cup. It’s your budget. But it is your worker’s sanity that matters the most. Offices run on coffee. The simpler, the better.
Traditional doesn’t mean bad. In fact, it could mean best when it comes to conference tables, paper-handling facilities, and coffee stations.
HedgeThink.com is the fund industry’s leading news, research and analysis source for individual and institutional accredited investors and professionals