Although many offices in recent years have attempted to reimagine what the workspace looks like, the idea of breaking down the standard used office cubicle look goes back as far as the 1990's, as an article for The Economist points out. The source also references a modern-day firm, Herman Miller, which emphasizes the idea of a "living office," a place that feels more like home than the traditional series of computer workstations.
On its official website, Herman Miller says that it wants to create "landscapes" in office buildings that combine the compartmentalized feel of cubicle office with a more vibrant and social atmosphere. Instead of the one option for computer workstations, customers can combine meeting spaces, "hives" and "havens" to enhance productivity. Freed from assigned seating, users can move between private and public workspaces depending on the situation, and there are even special solutions used to control noise levels and increase concentration.
The Economist piece points out that cubicles were initially supposed to be a step-up from the "factory-style" approach to stacking employees together in rows, and that new redesigns bring promise with them.
"What workers need from their offices has long been clear. A flexible workspace that encourages movement, combined with mobile technology, could finally liberate them from the cubicle farm—but only if employers pay heed to the evidence, rather than the short-term savings," the source says. "Even cubicles were Utopian before the accountants took over."
Companies can take cues from some of the revolutionary office design ideas floating around and still find a new way to arrange used office partitions to produce an invigorating effect. Structured correctly, existing furniture items could bring a new focus and energy to the workplace that keeps employees engaged.