Room dividers have been a long-time feature in many workspaces. Facility management teams can use them to solve a lot of different office issues, from privacy to noise control. Regardless of whether you’re working in an open concept office or in smaller, private offices, room dividers can help to maximize the space and optimize office wayfinding. Here are some creative ways to use room dividers to improve productivity and efficiency.
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Office partitions may just seem like a nice add-on to an office, but this is hardly the case. There are several benefits that make it a smart design choice. For example, I recently wrote about different types of office lighting, and how natural light can make a dramatic difference in the office—partitions are a great way to accomplish this. They also have a few other advantages on top of providing better lighting. Let’s take a quick look at each one.
Room dividers are great for creating distinct specialized spaces or zones. Many offices today are placing a key emphasis on collaboration, as it increases employee engagement. By looking at your floor plan on a space management tool, you can create an office layout that includes collaborative space to foster both collaborative spaces and individual workstations. Consider using room dividers in a common room or foyer to create semi-private areas where teams can brainstorm and connect.
Installing brick and mortar walls can cost a lot of money. Opting for glass partitions means you’ll spend a fraction of that cost. Plus, office partitions can help save energy costs by letting in more natural light. Without having to spend money on labor and lighting, you can allocate funds for other parts of the company.
Room dividers can have functional purposes as well as aesthetic ones. For offices looking to maximize on their greenery, consider using plants to separate workspaces. Not only do they provide a pleasant, oxygen-producing barrier between desks or work areas, but they can also reiterate your office’s commitment to green space, employee happiness and productivity.
Room dividers are highly practical in that they can be easily added or removed to make a space more private. Depending on the needs of the company, you may find you occasionally need collaborative space but also need areas where employees can concentrate. The ability to create privacy on demand is a huge advantage to smaller offices, who may not have the square footage to permanently provide both kinds of space. Determine your staff’s needs—do they need multiple walls for privacy or only need their computer screen blocked from view? Consider using clamp-on desk dividers that can be easily removed when teams need to work together, or larger screens that serve as three-quarter length walls.
Using your space management tool, you can identify where room dividers can create temporary spaces as needed.
Be sure to consider specific departments’ needs, such as weekly meetings or performance reviews where additional privacy may be necessary.
While open offices are great for collaboration, one of their biggest drawbacks is that they lack privacy. If a group wants to hold a meeting, they may have to go off-site, which can cut into their workday. Glass partitions can solve this problem by giving a party privacy when it needs to discuss important matters. Frosted or colored glass can give them even more privacy, while adding a unique look to the office overall. Partitions will help the office feel like it’s a team-oriented community, but they can also allow employees to discuss things in a separate environment.
Remote workers can use partial room dividers to create a home office out of the corner of a kitchen, bedroom or living room. This can be an appealing option for those with flexible work-from-home policies who may not want to devote a full room to creating a functional workspace. Consider creating a home office using bookshelves and/or free-standing panels. If one wall of the space doubles as book storage, it won’t look quite so out of place in a living room or bedroom, and will help to keep the office comfortable yet visually distinct from the rest of the home.
Your divider doesn’t have to be an office eyesore—in fact, it can be used in other, practical ways to encourage productivity. Consider splitting up space using free-standing whiteboards that teams can use to track goals or for brainstorming purposes. Dividers can also double as cork-boards or space to post inspirational quotes, team photos and office mandates to help keep morale high.
Besides costing less than a wall, the glass partition is also faster to install. If you’re renovating or refitting a new building, the process will proceed much more quickly. While this may seem like a small benefit, it means that you’ll be able to move into your new space sooner. As any company that has experienced an office redesign can tell you, the faster you can complete renovation, the better. Trying to bob and weave around the wreckage of a space that’s under construction is never a good arrangement.
Office partitions are a great solution for those who want the feel of an open office, without using an office that’s completely open. You’ll get an office that’s brighter and stylish, while also being completely functional. When workers have the option to hold meetings and talk privately among themselves, there will be fewer people leaving the building and losing time on work. From a financial, productivity, and design standpoint, partitions can be a great decision.
Whether you’re in a traditional corporate office or an open concept space, you can strategically design the spaces you need for optimal productivity. When planning out your office, consider using space management and visual directory tools to plan an optimal floor plan in real-time.
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