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The Exciting Move Toward Co-Working Spaces

In the past two decades, there has been a great metamorphosis in the way that we as Americans understand and exist in shared spaces. The entire culture surrounding what a workday looks like has dramatically shifted. The architects and space designers of today have reared a significant undertaking in spatial optimization for the modern worker. They understand that there is a certain strategic benefit in crafting inspired and artful shared workspaces for the professional.

This is (thankfully) a grand step away from the lackluster and boxed-in days of the past. It’s a re-write of about a hundred years of depressive office buildings and the classic cubicle existence. This has been a welcomed shift- one that we have only arrived at thanks to the concerted effort of spatial pioneers, builders, and environment visionaries. Top companies such as Google, Facebook, Zappos, and Stance have all transitioned their offices to provide an inspiring setting that caters towards creation, invention and the encouragement of shared thought.

The why and how in scaling up with a shared workspace. There are now over 35,000 flexible workspaces in the world today. If you haven’t jumped on board already, it’s about time. This article will inform you of how to update your workplace and offer a fresh hub for social inclusion and accelerated growth by your employees and ultimately, your business.

First, the why.

workplace

 

Why are so many businesses turning to shared work environments? It’s simple- because their workers are happy. Employee retention rates and productivity have never been better. Craft an artistically thoughtful workspace, allow for shared thought and cohesion, and you have invested workers. People who enjoy shared workspaces experience feelings of self-motivation, individuality, inspiration, and pride. They feel proud to go into a beautiful working environment, meaning they are inherently happier going into the office. Not only do co-work offices promote individuality, but they also foster a sense of community. A lot of European co-work spaces offer open floor plans with couches, comfortable chairs amid low height desks. They pay attention to lighting and the fluidity of the space. Sometimes there are even ping pong and pool tables set up amongst the work zones to encourage healthy breaks- increasing stamina and freshness throughout the long workday and providing team building activities.

These novel office designs have a coffee shop appeal to them, which generates a lot of comfort and relatability for workers. Businesses are starting to see higher retention numbers of their employees who work in shared spaces, as well as growing productivity. Statistics have proven that these shared workplaces have become the standard, not the exception. These spaces have implemented a more humanistic approach to design, not the other way around. We no longer design working environments with sterile columns and rows, with tiny hallways and fluorescent lights detracting from our quality of life. The archaic way of laying out office spaces is now being rejected, with so many people noticing how unproductive it was for the everyday employee. This shift has garnered a lot of attention and support and will continue to show up in a myriad of ways.

Now, for the how. 

How are businesses crafting these shared spaces? There are many different ways in which to jump on board this growing coworking industry. Designing and building novel environments is one way. Updating and redesigning an existing space is another. Utilizing everyday spaces in public has also become a movement.

Designing entirely new buildings for shared workspaces is something that takes time, capital and vision. Many architects are now seeing the value in these flexible environments and are coming up with innovative approaches every day. If it’s the inspiration you crave, take a look at this list of The 50 Best Co-working Spots in Europe for some visual ingenuity.

On the other hand, a faster, more economical approach to spatial redesign, is to use what already exists and update it. For example, take your vast and uniform office space. By clearing everything out (all of the furniture, cubicles and excess materials) and creating a clean slate, you can begin the process of redesign and integration.

A few key factors to consider during the redesign are:

  • spatial barriers
  • doors, walls, and partitions
  • lighting and aesthetics
  • shared rooms
  • amenities

When crafting a shared office environment, something to carefully consider are the materials used to separate spaces and offices. The updated solution to the outdated cubicle is glass wall partitions. While still offering necessary privacy and healthy space amidst hundreds of other employees, the glass lends a separate but equal feel to the workplace. This allows for the individual to enjoy their own space while still being able to see into the open floor.

The design of doors and walls in the office is also a crucial tool in creating harmony and integration in the workplace. Sliding glass doors offer equal flexibility and privacy in any office. With available locking accessories, the choice for separation is readily available. Glass walls are also a must-have in any shared office environment, encouraging office synergy and inspiration amongst co-workers. In addition, the glass offers beautiful light to enter and spread throughout the space, which adds to the overall experience of the workplace and how the employee exists in his or her environment. Without ample light in a building, space can begin to feel exceptionally closed in and uninspired.

Lastly, offering needed amenities into co-working environments can be a deciding factor for a potential employee. If they have access to coffee, tea, a kitchen, filtered drinking water, complimentary snacks, etc. this will add to the overall experience for the professional and make coming into work that much more enjoyable and viable.

As we approach 2020, we will start to see more and more of these thoughtful workspaces and creative environments pop up all around the States. These shared spaces are quickly entering into the public territory as well- in train stations, coffee bars, subway stations, airports, and hotels. It’s time to jump onboard and rediscover what’s possible in the workplace.

Make the move towards crafting a desirable coworking space, and visit Space Plus, A Division of the Sliding Door Company for ideas and inspiration. Get a quote from one of our professionals to begin the transformation today.

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Integrating and Updating the Classroom

Children exist in classrooms for the better part of a year. They are situated in an enclosed environment that is to be their framework and the overall basis for learning and growth. This space is, of course, shared with many other children who are each unique and individual in their capabilities, interests, behaviors, and attention spans. Although we now understand the psychological benefits and necessity in addressing each child’s individual needs, we still craft entire classrooms and institutions for education in too vast and general a space.

By doing this, we allow for crippling distraction, generalizing, and lack of options during the school day. This is a paradigm that needs to metamorphosis with the changing times and increased understanding of child psychology. Space Plus, A Division of The Sliding Door Company has crafted a list of helpful solutions in the classroom integrating a few of our space optimizing Glass Wall Partitions and sliding glass doors to achieve a healthy classroom balance for all students to enjoy. Below is a breakdown of some well-known issues in the classroom, and our tips on installing the resolution.

glass wall partition

The Known Culprit- Distraction

First, the largest issue and overall reason for classroom disruptions are individual and collective distractions. Many students suffer each day from crippling ADHD, ADD and just basic, un-termed lack of focus. Children are not necessarily designed to sit still and focus in a small room for hours on end, without breaks and fresh projects keeping the day stimulating. Because kids can only focus for so long on one theme or lesson, there is an inevitable point in each day where the collective student body begins to suffer from diminished capacity due to stagnant energy, other children disrupting the group or just plain boredom. Below are four main factors at play that should be addressed and reconsidered.

Diminished Focusing Capacity 

There are a few ways to help mitigate this stagnation amongst your students:

  • Craft a few distinct zones with frosted glass dividers throughout the classroom to break up the lessons into activity zones. After twenty or thirty minutes in each ‘zone’ have each group switch to the next station. This keeps the lesson moving and flowing, and the students preoccupied in the right ways.
  • Give students the opportunity to work in separate spaces separated by wall partitions in the classroom if they need a little extra time to finish an equation or an activity when it’s time to move the majority of the class on. This way, the student can enjoy a finished thought before prematurely switching gears without having fully understood the material. This will cater to students who take a little more time to grasp concepts.
  • Be sure to craft thoughtful seating arrangements and successful partnerships in the classroom. A large reason for distraction in the classroom comes down to poor seating relationships and putting students together who are going to distract rather than inspire one another.

Lack of Accommodation for Different Learning Styles 

Our educational system tends to operate with a standardized teaching method for every student- regardless of their attention span, their learning style, and their individual comprehension. This is an outdated approach to teaching, that is quickly being updated by any institution of learning that is clued in. Here are a few ways to integrate techniques that cater to the individual in the classroom.

  • Allow options by giving the students the opportunity to work collectively as a class, individually, and in small partnerships. This encourages varied thought and the beneficial qualities achieved through shared thought and group problem-solving. This also keeps the students stimulated and provides great team-building opportunities.
  • Offer quiet zones that are subjugated by sliding glass wall dividers in the classroom that cater to students that need a little extra help focusing on their activity. Some students find it very distracting to exist in a vast and stimulating atmosphere. This can be a crippling impediment for the student’s basic education.
  • Mix up the day with a variety of learning activities, from music to written assignments, art projects, and building exercises. By keeping the students on their toes, they inherently are able to better focus their attention and actively participate. Some children are more artistically inclined than others, some are more mechanical or math forward. By catering to a multitude of activities, the teacher allows individual successes amongst the students. 

Physical Outlets 

As previously stated, children are not designed to sit still and focus all day. Especially inside. Young children, as well as teens and adolescents, need a surprising amount of physical exercise and outside stimulation to achieve a healthy balance throughout the day. Here are some exercises to employ during the school day.

  • Take the students outside every ninety minutes or so to get their blood running, and some fresh air circulating. Having them run a lap around the track or go on a ten-minute walk will increase their overall stamina throughout the day and ability to concentrate in the classroom.
  • Provide a small portion of the classroom as a movement zone. Install simple glass wall dividers in the open floor plan to create a place for students to get up and do some necessary movement when going outside isn’t an available option. Yoga and normal stretching can be a crucial benefit to the health and wellness of the student’s day. Especially when they are asked to sit in uncomfortable desk chairs for long periods of time. 

By utilizing a few of these helpful tips, you can better craft a productive working environment that caters to all students evenly. When atmosphere and stimulus are so important to students, it’s a no-brainer that providing options and healthy outlets will improve the overall quality of their education. To get started on optimizing the classroom for success, visit Space Plus, A Division of The Sliding Door Company for more ideas and inspiration on available solutions. Call Us to get in touch with one of our helpful representatives today!

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Essentials For Successful Flexible Shops and Stores

In the past decade, there has been a collective move towards providing sanctuaries out of our retail spaces. A grand push to provide aesthetically pleasing and welcoming business fronts is now accepted as the norm. It used to be that the business provided the bare minimum in regard to interior design… there was no emphasis on aesthetic. Now restaurants, spas, financial offices and hair salons all take the visual landscape into careful consideration. When there are thousands of like businesses and shops in constant competition, it’s a no-brainer that you must set your business apart from the rest. And sadly, if you haven’t jumped on board just yet, you could be seriously missing out and unknowingly stunting your business. Whether it be a clothing store inside a mall, art gallery, restaurant, a boutique supply, hair studio, med spa or even a dental office – all of these businesses should appear inviting, creative and offer the appeal of luxury. If your store reflects an appealing design, your customers are more inclined to walk through your open door and enjoy a fully immersive experience.

A recent poll concluded that the three chief considerations customers make when choosing a restaurant are in order as follows:

  1. the atmosphere
  2. the service
  3. the food

This clearly demonstrates the unquestionable significance a business environment has on the customer. The main attraction and most powerful factor when determining where to eat, shop, indulge, relax – in the atmosphere. This means, if you aren’t representing your store or studio by attracting passersby with a stylish interior, then you’ve already lost your patron before they even have the chance to see your quality products.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Space Plus, a division of The Sliding Door Company, offers all of the necessary solutions and products you need to begin drawing in your beloved customers.

Where to start first?

Make sure you consider if your storefront is clearly visible to passersby from the street, across the way, etc. A key way to attracting potential clients is to allow for visibility. This creates intrigue and interest to an unsure prospective buyer. If they can easily see through a window and into your shop, they’re much more likely to enter. Most people shy away from stores when they can’t see what they are getting into. Call it human nature- we fear what we do not know. So why not eliminate the apprehension and provide full transparency?

A great way to ensure visibility is to install glass walls on the street side to attract passersby. By installing an entirely transparent wall, it becomes an obvious statement. “Welcome in, we’re not hiding anything!” Space Plus proudly offers many customizable options for your unique business so that you can utilize the design as effectively as possible. For example, you can choose from a multitude of panel configurations, glass opacities, and frame finishes. The option is also available to have tempered or laminated glass. By providing ample visibility, you set your business apart from others and enjoy another added benefit- utilize free marketing!

glass wall partitions

Now that you’ve attracted customers into your store, it doesn’t stop there. The interior environment of your shop should be carefully considered to provide the most enjoyable experience possible. This will hold their attention and reflect just how much care you put into your business. Providing thoughtful touches such as warm lighting, stylish furniture, indoor plants, art curation, even smells- all of these sensory details add to the overall shopping experience. Another crucial consideration is if enough natural light can enter and flow throughout your store during daytime hours. By choosing to integrate glass wall partitions throughout your shop rather than constricting walls, you allow this natural light to pass through while establishing a more fluid environment. People tend to feel trapped in small, enclosed spaces. It’s important to broaden the space, making your customers feel at ease and free to relax. Another great product to consider introducing into your store is the use of mirrors. Mirrors are excellent at reflecting and spreading existing light, thus lowering your energy costs and providing a much more inspired atmosphere. Consider integrating glass partitions into your floor plan, especially if you own a business such as a hair salon or a med spa. You can choose the mirror option for your glass finish, therefore, utilizing two invaluable materials at once.

Room dividing walls

If you provide a business such as a medical spa or dental office, something to think about is artfully dividing up your floor space to add dimension and usable rooms. By installing interior door room dividers throughout your space, you create necessary spaces for privacy. Room dividing walls are a fantastic solution to breaking up spaces at an agreeable cost, without any major construction or lengthy disruption to your business. If privacy is paramount, opt for frosted glass, or a glass option that has a high opacity. Space Plus allows for your individual customization because we recognize that each business is unique and catered