As companies and educational establishments adopt more collaborative workplace styles and practices, so there is a growing need for visual thinking and planning systems. The trend in office space design however, is towards ever higher densities (so, less space per person), larger floor plates (the area of a given floor in a given building), and more open plan configurations, with the consequence that there is ever less wall space to be put to functional use for visual thinking. This creates a further dilemma for architects and designers, who also need to be managing the conflicting needs for quiet focus with collaborative creativity.
It’s not so much a technology backlash, but there is a growing acknowledgement of the value of face to face interaction in the workplace according to the Gensler design forecast for 2014.
Gensler see the trend for collaborative workplaces being towards higher density workplace environments which allow for collaborative working in small groups, informal encounters and quiet spaces for individual focus.
Technology has undoubtedly improved performance and productivity in just about every walk of life. The trend is now increasingly for technology to be integrated in the physical environments in which we live work and relax. It has proven its value as an enabler of remote working and distance learning, but is technology going to enable effective collaborative working?
Those working at the technological coalface, developing new systems, new platforms, new Apps and gadgets are THEMSELVES a significant and growing proportion of the workplace population. Paradoxically, work practices in the hi-tech community are remarkably low-tech, with Agile and related development methodologies placing ever increasing emphasis on real-time face to face collaboration. These are very human work processes. They vitally depend on regular stand-up reviews around simple visual systems. They use simple and practical ways of making planning, problems and ideas visible, recognising that tangibility, transparency and adaptability are key.
Similar patterns can be found in manufacturing and service domains where Lean and other Performance Improvement methodologies, whilst embracing the power of technology, also embrace the creative and problem solving potential of interactions that are facilitated in real time, face to face encounters supported by is visual, spatial and tactile media.
The problem is, the bigger the floor plate, the more open plan and the greater the density, the less wall space there is upon which to visually plan and think!
Resourceful staff will always find a way, and solutions range from foamboard display panels leant against desk ends, to revolving whiteboards. These solutions solve a problem but can trip people up. Not just literally, but they also undermine the design aesthetics conceived by architects, space planners and interior designers. This undermines the investment the client made in providing a stimulating and productive environment for their staff to achieve great things in.
If you are going to have an open plan collaborative workplace:
1) Remember that ‘IT departments’ never used to need whiteboards, but then IT departments didn’t used to do what they do now!
2) make room for informal and semi-formal gatherings, with access to tactile visual media.
3) Think again about how to optimise the wall space you have left – can you afford the space for a big mural? Would the space better serve as a floor to ceiling whiteboard, or would it be better to have detachable whiteboards that can be moved from desked areas to meeting spaces and visa versa?
4) Think about breaking up space with multi-functional furniture -turn the doors and backs of cupboards and lockers into work surfaces, for example.
Logovisual: designers of ThinkingWallTM, ThinkingWall FreestanderTM , Hook-ups, portable whiteboards and a growing range of innovative bespoke visual thinking and planning systems
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Logovisual have previously supplied whiteboard panels for our London office, so when we needed whiteboards for a room at our head office we got in touch. The end result looks good – many thanks.
ADRIAN SHAH-CUNDY, VOLKER WESSELLS
All looks fantastic thank you!!
The guys were a pleasure to meet and it was all so hassle free.
CHARLOTTE WALTERS, TUNGSTEN NETWORK
Commissioned Logovisual to design and install a folding wall in one of our technology rooms. Both our company and the NHS Trust were absolutely delighted with the installation a first for all.
PETER SALT, IMMERSIVE
Clear and prompt communication throughout and a very smooth installation process. Nothing was too hard. Highly recommended!
TRACEY COVE, STEVENS & COVE
Excellent, high quality product, purchased after wise advice and installed quickly by friendly installers. Perfect product for our meeting room needs.
MIA ELLIOTT, DIOCESE OF GUILDFORD
The board looks great! And I’d like to say your installers were absolutely fantastic, so friendly, organised and cleaned up.
JESS MARTIN, VAYNERMEDIA
Logovisual really understood our brief and made some great suggestions to make our designs come to life. They helped us bring a child’s game from a small tin to a life size piece of experiential, for us to take in to store at John Lewis. Everyone loved it. Thank you guys.
TAMARA SPURWAY, WILD & WOLF
As a product, they really provide a varied functionality to aid in our brainstorming and project works. These mobile whiteboards have really been an excellent investment and are immensely popular with our staff.
SEBASTIAN FRANCIS-JONES, C SPACE
The whole process from start to finish was excellent and the final product was second to none. Highly recommend Logovisual and the team and will be using them again very soon for the next project.
LYNNE BRODA, OXFORD CARTOGRAPHERS
The install was fab the guys were excellent and we all love the wall, so much in fact we are thinking of future projects including them. Once again can’t thank you enough for a great thorough service.
ZOE HARRIS, CBRE GLOBAL INVESTORS
Logovisual had as I believed to be the simplest and hassle free job on the project, install of white boards. They were in and out within 3 hours, a job well done!
THE PROJECT TEAM, OVERBURY PLC
The product itself is superbly built and easy to manoeuvre around with the attached wheels. From the office team’s communication before our event to the delivery team’s installation and pickup I found everyone to be really helpful and very professional going out of their way to meet our deadlines. I would certainly recommend logovisual.
SHAUN O’HARA, SAATCHI & SAATCHI WELLNESS
We were looking for a new “canvas” to share information and encourage joint thinking. The Thinking Wall turned out to be the perfect solution. There’s room to be expansive and for things to have real impact. The service we received right from our first enquiry, to installation (very fast, very painless) has been excellent.
STEPHEN CROWE, SCOTTISH FUNDING COUNCIL
We were pleased with the high level of customer service, our order was dealt with quickly and efficiently and we are thrilled with the finished product. The custom whiteboards that are exactly as we had envisaged them.
STEVE CROSTHWAITE, HOTSPUR PRIMARY SCHOOL
Just wanted to thank you again for your help, had a small amount of feedback from our client: Whiteboards are superb. Even better than expected!
LEE, IDEA UK DESIGN & MARKETING