Office design: Free Dilbert!

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The newest thing in office design sounds a lot like the newest thing in groceries. Called organic design, organic planning or, if you prefer, phylogenetic design, the trend in building cubicle farms is taking cues from the great outdoors.

Forget 90-degree angles and tall metal dividers. Organically planned offi ces aim for airy with natural light, better ventilation and views to nature. They also have workspaces that fit together in a honeycomb-inspired design with desks that have 120-degree sweeps, accommodating the prevailing work methodology: piles of work spread out on each side with a computer keyboard in the middle.

“In our fathers’ world, people worked their entire lives to get into the corner office. Today, most people don’t care,” says Tess Healey, vice president at Pacific Offi ce Furnishing in Portland. Workplaces these days tend to be more collaborative, Healey says, and organic office design supports that with lower dividers and more places to gather for impromptu meetings.

Annie Johnson, owner of Windermere/Johnson Real Estate in Wilsonville, recently used organic design principles in an office redesign. She was able to fi t worksites for more agents using the 120-degree desks and made strategic use of low dividers, glass and neutral tones to give the space an airy feel. “It really made sense for our offi ce and nobody’s tucked back in a corner.”

Fitting together the 120-degree desktops results in honeycomb-like confi gurations, which ends up leaving room for more shared space and more workstations than the old 90-degree-oriented cubicles. Views to the outside world are also important, picking up on recent research that shows that patients who can see nature through their hospital room windows heal more quickly than patients who can’t.

“If employees are more productive, there’s money attached to that,” says Bonnie Campbell, account development manager for furniture company Herman Miller, the originator of the cubicle (along with the Aeron office chair) and a proponent of organic office design.

Robert Probst, a designer hired by Herman Miller in the 1960s, was the first to come up with workspaces that evolved to become standard cubicles. His original vision, Campbell says, is much closer to the organic designs being promoted these days.

— Christina Williams

 

 

More Articles

Reader Input: Road Work

March 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.

0315 input01 620px

 

Reader comments:

"I feel private enterprises are capable of operating at a higher efficiency than state government."

"This has been used in Oregon since the mid-1800s. It is not a new financing method. This form of financing may help Oregon close its infrastructure deficit by leveraging funds."


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy Overload

June 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.


Read more...

Farm in a Box

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

Balancing Act

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.


Read more...

Apartment Mania

Guest Blog
Thursday, June 18, 2015
4805983977 11466ce1d6 zBY BRAD HOULE | CFA

While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.


Read more...

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened its third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; another outpost in Bend broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS