By devoting serious attention to office furniture and arrangements, companies send the message that they care about their layout and think about the details. This isn’t just about looks, either. At least one highly motivated visionary in the business world has shown care for everyday workplace surroundings: Steve Jobs.
Business Insider recently cited a section from Walter Isaacson’s biography of tech “innovators” that referenced Jobs’ oversight of office design. According to Isaacson, Jobs’ main goal was to inspire collaboration by putting people from different disciplines in close contact, a concept shared by other major companies from Bell Labs to Yahoo.
It’s tough to think that far ahead, and to know exactly how people will have “serendipitous encounters” at their office, but in the case of Jobs, combining teams was a key part of his strategy and affected the way he thought about companies as a whole.
“When Steve Jobs designed a new headquarters for Pixar, he obsessed over ways to structure the atrium, and even where to locate the bathrooms, so that serendipitous personal encounters would occur,” Isaacson writes. “Among his last creations was the plan for Apple’s new signature headquarters, a circle with rings of open workspaces surrounding a central courtyard.”
Collaboration isn’t the only thing the office layout affects. Color, light, and background noise all impact the employee’s ability to concentrate and be productive, as one article from Fast Company recently pointed out. It suggests that both structure and fluidity are necessary to make a productive workplace.
By rearranging used workstations in the office, businesses can promote a creative and idea-focused atmosphere that drives progress and is better for the company overall. Office managers can base their strategies on people like jobs or create their own layouts.