Open concept floorplans have become the standard for many offices. They support collaboration and offer flexibility. With lower construction costs, fewer inspections and shorter turnaround times for completion, it’s no surprise they’ve become popular. However, designing a completely open space can be challenging.

While you can reduce the number of interior walls, it’s important to remember walls around the building core, elevator shafts, mechanical rooms, etc. are still needed in 99 percent of the buildings we work in and are still necessary….even in an open office plan.

Here are our tried and true strategies for furnishing an open concept work environment:

  1. Identify the best place to put mechanical and electrical rough-ins before you begin.
  2. Create a clear game plan, outlining how you expect to use the space upfront. That will help you understand where to place dividers and other furniture pieces.
  3. Make sure you know what your A/V needs are from the start. Consider the number of outlets and whether or not you’ll offer mobile charging stations.
  4. Evaluate your acoustic needs. Acoustic panels, lighting wrapped in acoustic material and cloud ceilings can all help mask or diffuse sound.
  5. Think outside the box. Look at pods, booths or indoor pergolas to create meeting and/or private workspaces.
  6. Plan for the future use of electrical cords. Position them, so they won’t become a trip hazard or conceal them as much as possible by using floor outlets, if the space allows.
  7. Choose a simple color palette that is consistent with your culture.
  8. Maximize flexibility by choosing furniture pieces that can be moved around.

Photo via Herman Miller

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