Modern office design has seen an evolution toward open, collaborative spaces. Cubicle walls are lowering, collaborative lounge and conferencing areas are being added, and even private offices often have full glass walls to give a feeling of openness. There has been extensive research on how accessible collaborative office design can promote productivity in the workplace, and it can be easy to get caught up in the idea of having “no walls” to prevent separation and disengagement at work. However, while the open office has its benefits, it is still important to remember that there must be a balance between areas where team meetings and group sessions take place, and spaces where individuals can hunker down and focus or take a break. Thus, the importance of the ‘enclave’.
“These short-term retreat spaces give workers the change of pace—and of posture—that often stimulates new ideas and leads to better conversations down the road. And for mobile workers, a private oasis is exactly what’s needed as they grab a few minutes to prep for the next meeting. Meike Toepfer Taylor, a former Coalesse design researcher, calls these enclaves “ready refuge places where we can hide if needed.”
“There’s mounting evidence that the lack of privacy is causing people to feel overexposed in today’s workplaces,”said Donna Flynn, who leads Steelcase’s WorkSpace Futures research group. Along with giving people easy access to their colleagues, companies who practice collaboration also need to give workers “the time and places to focus and recharge,” she said.”
An enclave can be anything from a small nook with a table and chair to a completely separated room with lounge furniture. Coalesse’s Massaud and Hosu lounge chairs are perfect for such a location, allowing relaxation or individual work to take place.
Others, like the Lagunitas collection from Coalesse and the Brody Lounge from Steelcase both create enclaves in and of themselves, no walls required!
Whatever it looks like, an in-between space like this may be just where you need to go to relax, take a phone call, or work on projects that require intense focus. Everyone needs a place to get away from their desk and recharge during a hectic day.