DATE: 04/18/2016

Did you know 40 percent of U.S. consumers who work for large enterprises use their personally owned electronic devices for work purposes?

That’s according to a recent survey from Gartner, Inc., that found the line between our work and personal lives is becoming increasingly less clear. Whether you choose to supply your staff with laptops, or not, is of little relevance – employees are choosing to work on them.

Translation: If you’re coming upon an office redesign, you should strongly consider an open office furniture plan that is laptop friendly.

Have you ever really watched someone work on a laptop for long length of time? And not in a traditional office setting?

There’s a lot of moving around and switching of positions that goes on: Legs propped up on a nearby table, the device balanced on the lap; legs crossed, sitting on the floor in the corner; and of course, using the device in a traditional set-up (the same way one would use a desktop computer).

Although most of these positions would not be desirable from an ergonomic standpoint for an 8-hour workday, many of them make perfect sense when viewed from a larger ergonomic perspective. Your best position is your next position – it’s a common piece of advice often touted by ergonomic experts. Put simply, the body knows what it needs to be comfortable. And it will seek those positions regardless of whether they are real options or not.

By requiring employees to stay seated in the same office chairs all day long, you are essentially keeping bodies from doing what they naturally want to do: MOVE! Which is why choosing open office furniture that supports laptop usage is so important.

One organization who’s recently done so with great results is AirBnB. The online hospitality service recently teamed up with Good Mod, a Seattle based multidisciplinary design and fabrication studio, to design a call center that allowed its employees to move more freely.

The duo’s collaborative efforts ultimately resulted in a revolutionary workspace design that allows team members to comfortably work via laptop in a lounge-like setting. Wait, call center employees don’t have to be chained to a desk all day?

Nope. Several open office furniture solutions were put in place to facilitate ease of movement, total autonomy and ultimate comfort. Here are just some of the elements AirBnB put in place:

  • Lumbar supported, lounge units that allow feet to rest comfortably within intentionally designed coffee table inserts.
  • Conference rooms with integrated power outlets.
  • Plenty of comfy chairs, love seats and seating options.

Ultimately, the AirBnB redesign was a huge success. As an interior solutions expert with 20+ years of experience, we’ve coordinated a lot of open office concepts.

One of the key things we’ve learned is that there are no “one size fits all” solutions. And that the spectrum between how open or traditional an office can be is about as wide as The Grand Canyon. But one things’ for sure – today’s technology isn’t likely to stop evolving anytime soon.

Employers who recognize the tech preferences of their employees, and accommodate those preferences with economically sound solutions, will be ahead of the pack.

Ready to get started on your next redesign? Contact us for a free consultation.