Office Spaces Need a Mixture of Both Formal & Informal Areas - Here's Why

Why Your Office Needs
Informal & Formal Spaces

Why Your Office Needs Informal & Formal Spaces
When it comes to the traditional office space, everyone almost always pictures the same thing: The extra-long oval table with rolling chairs spaced apart and a large tv screen on one wall.

While this setup was the way to go at one time, offices have recently been taking a different route in terms of usable space for their employees.
Due to the pandemic, more offices than ever have moved to a hybrid office, allowing employees to spend some of their week remotely and some in office. Because of this, informal and formal spaces have been greatly challenged in their functionality. Now, businesses are reimagining their office completely in how they leverage formal and informal spaces for the benefit of their employees and their overall productivity.
Informal vs. Formal Spaces
Formal spaces in the office typically encompass closed meeting rooms, cubicles, and individual desks offices. However, formal spaces aren’t just characterized based off their physical space – they can also be “formal” because of the culture of the organization and its typical structured collaboration.

On the other hand, informal spaces have gained incredible popularity as office culture has evolved. These spaces can vary depending on the organization but have often included open floor plans, cafes, lounging areas, long co-working tables, gyms, and more.

With a combination of great formal and informal spaces, an office can flourish

Businesses have been increasingly open to offices that don’t fit the “traditional” mold and instead opting for spaces that their employees can mold and shape how they see fit.
Office layouts are crucial to the overall productivity of employees.

What are the Benefits of Informal Spaces in the Office?

Many companies are finding that, when switching to a more informal office, they can downsize in overall real estate and cut expenditures. By creating more flexible areas, employees can use the office in a variety of ways to maximize on productivity and collaboration when needed.

With these informal office spaces often comes a more open, transparent, and horizontal organizational structure, letting employees expand on their creativity and potential. Not to mention, a more flexible office space can encourage employees to move around and stretch, boosting mental and physical health!

The right balance of informal open space and private, individualized space can make an incredible difference in the productivity of hybrid employees.
With the right mix of formal and informal spaces, an office can flourish.
How to Find the Right Blend of Formal & Informal Spaces in an Office Layout
Determining the perfect mix of formal and informal areas within an office isn’t an easy thing to do for organizations. In fact, it takes time, research, and transparency with employees.

One of the best things to start with when trying to find this balance is with employees. By asking employees in what spaces and layouts they work best in, leadership can keep usability directly in mind.

Researching competitors and organizations that have seen major results due to an office layout shift can help to inspire your business on the types and amount of informal versus formal spaces you’ll need.

Consulting with a workspace management system like inspace can also determine an office’s flow between formal and informal areas. With the traffic of a hybrid office, not to mention a change in layout of an office, having a management system is key!
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