It wasn’t long ago that the uninspired were settling with dull, uninteresting workplaces.

Mazes of beige, high-paneled walls and separation of power through private offices and organizational structure permeated corporate offices throughout America — and had ultimately become the status quo in nearly every corporate office throughout the world.

But within the past decade, an evolution began occurring.

Furniture companies, designers, architects, contractors and the like began working together to turn the workplace on its head and to build spaces that inspired collaboration and a renewed excitement around space. Suddenly, corporate America began using words like “culture” and “creativity” to define their workplace — something that hadn’t quite been seen before — and company after company began following suit.

“We’ve been in the workplace furniture business for nearly 100 years,” said Mary Beth Oakes, chief executive of Indianapolis- and Dayton-based Business Furniture, “and we’ve never experienced such an exciting shift in workplace design and culture. Working with our partners at Steelcase, we’re equipping offices with furniture that allows teams to collaborate, connect digitally to the world around them and accommodate the varying work styles and behaviors of their workforce.”

Accommodating a variety of work styles

It’s true that as walls come down and executives step out of their offices workplaces are becoming more and more open, ultimately placing a greater emphasis on team interaction and presence. However, it’s not that simple. Bringing down walls, throwing employees into a pit to fend for themselves and calling it a day will mean failure for any company. Spaces must still be smart.

The new workplace must incorporate an ecosystem of spaces that accommodate the variety of work styles and behaviors a company’s workforce requires to do its job on a daily basis. It’s about building a private space for every collaborative space, a social space for every focused space — and doing the research to know which combination is right for your industry, your company and your teams.

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