Desks are great pieces of furniture, and so are other tables where people can gather to converse at relatively even heights – looking each other into the eye and speaking seriously etc… However, this formality is not necessary for all types of workplace interaction.
Be it a computer or another human being, sitting at a table is normally a fairly unidirectional exercise – someone sits in a place to focus their attention on something or someone etc… However all that focus can be tiring. And, not all computer tasks or even conversations require unidirectional focus.
We believe that office lounge spaces offer respite from the physicality of focus. By giving people a diverse selection of places and means of sitting can elevate not only their comfort when sitting but an overall sense of peace in knowing that they can always move away from focused table-based work and relax (even if they don’t necessarily take time to do so every day.)
Aesthetics can provide the subconscious queues necessary for offering relaxation to people – simply by seeing a space to lounge next to a boardroom table can take a meeting’s intensity down a few notches, for example.
So, we’ve begun to address why you should add office lounge space to workplaces – now let’s think about where to put lounges. Speaking generally, lounges should provide two types of respite:
- Private space where people can be alone but still connected to their environment (e.g. they can be found if someone is looking for them but their location may not be obvious to everyone in the space.)
- Social spaces where people can gather with intimacy – providing context for openly sharing ideas without tools like whiteboards.
Both of these cases can be designed as designated spaces or areas within larger spaces. So, you could put a lounge in its own room with a closable door or within a room dedicated to meetings right next to a conference table – we recommend planning for a sense of openness in either using greenery and glass, but will reserve further notes on privacy for a dedicated post on the topic.