Shared Office Space Furniture Solutions

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May 6, 2024
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Shared Office Space Furniture Solutions

Shared office spaces are becoming more and more popular as people work from home, freelance, and grow small businesses. As a result, what used to be a cut-and-dry office setup has made way for creatively executed spaces that maximize space utilization, flexibility, and employee well-being while minimizing costs. This is especially true in shared office spaces. It has also made collaborative spaces more valuable than ever. 

A well-planned and well-furnished space can significantly enhance coworker relationships, workflow, and productivity. However, furnishing these spaces for a variety of needs can be challenging for any business owner. Our experienced team at Interiors by Guernsey can guide you in incorporating functional design and furniture into a workspace geared towards a multitude of people and needs. From government offices to educational facilities to corporations and beyond, from design to procurement to installation, we handle it all. We have plenty of helpful shared office space furniture solutions. 

New Frontiers in Office Design

Modern open office space with ergonomic desks, chairs, and a collaborative seating area

How you use your office factors into how you set it up and furnish it. What do you want your employees to get out of being in the space? What type of environment do you want to foster? Do you want flexibility and community? Do you want privacy and control? Do you want a combination of the two?  

Hybrid and work-from-home options mean companies don’t necessarily need the same setup in an office space as before. In fact, you might not need as much space, period. But don’t do away with all that square footage yet!  

Consider what you want from your space and assess how it will work best for you, your business, and your employees. Here are some key considerations: 

  • How many permanent employees do you have (if any)?  
  • How many employees work on a hybrid schedule and so are only in the office certain days a week (or even month)?  
  • Do you need a full office space, or do you just need to be able to access conference rooms for occasional meetings and client pitches?  

The overall goal is to create a space conducive to productivity and well-being, which means no matter what space you have, your focus should be on making it comfortable, functional, flexible, and a place people WANT to come to. After all, many now have the choice of whether to work from the comfort of their own home (where everything they need is at their fingertips) or commute to an office, which is time-consuming and can also be more costly. They need good reasons to make the trip. Providing a positive work environment that offers things they simply can’t get at home (like camaraderie and the opportunity to work side-by-side with co-workers) could be the deciding factor for them. 

Shared Office Spaces Versus Collaborative Spaces 

Shared office space with two desk sharing storage space area
Shared office space
Collaborative office space
Collaborative office space

‘Shared office space’ and ‘collaborative space’ are not the same thing. A shared office space is a professional workspace shared by many people from different organizations at different times. The easiest way to think of it is as a static space where people from multiple companies come and go. Many people share it, but not at the same time. The individual companies themselves will have their dedicated space, but there will be more than one company occupying the overall space. 

A collaborative space is something that can exist WITHIN any office space, shared or not.  

There are different shared office space options, each built to suit your specific needs, including coworking spaces, options to rent an executive suite, sublet offices, or rent designated desks. Each has different furniture solutions. Overall, though, shared office spaces often benefit from using desk sharing in their design because without as many employees in the office full time, there is less need for as many desks.  

Desk Sharing in Shared Office Space 

Desk sharing (AKA shared workstations) is what it sounds like – sharing desks. It is an umbrella term that means there are no permanently assigned desks for employees. The desks are quite literally shared between employees.  

There are two main arrangements within desk sharing: hot desking and desk hoteling. Hoteling allows employees to reserve workstations through desk booking systems prior to arriving at work. Hot desking involves workstations that are not assigned or pre-booked, which means that employees do not know where they will be seated on any given workday.  

Both setups offer more flexibility, better utilize space, and are more cost effective than a traditional office situation where each person would have their own designated area regardless of whether they come into an office 5 days a week or once a month.  

Both setups also come with disadvantages. The employee may or may not get the same desk each time, which can be a disadvantage for those employees who like consistency. There is also the chance of potential overall disruption for teams who want to work together but can’t coordinate sitting together to collaborate. Another is increased health risks. Since different people are potentially using the same desk, germs are literally being passed around. 

What Is a Collaborative Space? 

A businessman and a businesswoman having a discussion while standing at a tall table in a modern office with wooden cabinetry, shelving, plants, and collaborative seating

A collaborative space is a space where many people from the same company or organization use the same space at the same time, with the purpose being to work together (hence the name, ‘collaborative spaces’). These types of workspaces are highly adaptable and can be used for a range of activities, such as planning a large-scale project, exchanging ideas, conducting workshops, etc. They can exist within a traditional office as well as in a shared office space.  

A collaborative space is more than just a meeting room. In fact, it refers to any area created to promote teamwork and collaboration. Think conference rooms, war rooms, huddle rooms, conference room, board rooms, game rooms, or even break rooms. These areas are imaginative spaces that foster a more diverse range of employee interactions and can be a great alternative to something like the traditional meeting room. 

The Importance of Collaborative Spaces 

According to a study by Gensler, most employees are more inclined to return to an office if it offers a variety of workplace experiences, including collaborative spaces where they can convene and recharge. These types of spaces support employee autonomy and socialization and rank high when it comes to promoting employee well-being. They also help with retentiveness and loyalty because they show employees you see them as human beings with needs (like downtime and camaraderie) and not just mindless drones clocking in and out.  

Research shows that despite valuing hybrid and remote work, employees often feel isolated, which can lead to anxiety and depression. Collaborative spaces encourage productivity and a sense of belonging while fostering in-person interactions that can’t be replicated virtually.  

Designing Collaborative Spaces 

Modern office workspace with two desks, ergonomic chairs, laptops, and a central round table with two cushioned stools

The most effective shared and collaborative spaces prioritize flexibility and adaptability through versatile furniture and an open workplace policy that encourages employees to utilize the space as they see fit.  

Before designing and furnishing your space, start by collecting data on how the office is used, including employees’ preferences for formal meeting rooms versus more relaxed areas. Consideration should also be given to factors such as location, access to natural light, and the identification of underutilized spaces that can be converted into collaborative hubs. Gathering data will inform design decisions and help ensure cost-effective solutions. Armed with this data, you now know what type of office setup and design you need, which will inform your furniture choice. 

Tips For Choosing the Right Furniture 

Modern office setup featuring an L-shaped desk, open shelving, storage cabinets, and wall-mounted units

As the workforce becomes increasingly diverse in terms of job requirements, regional and cultural variations, it is important to address these discrepancies in furniture choices that can support a range of tasks and promote collaboration amongst team members. The modern workplace caters to a variety of work preferences, from those who prefer dedicated workstations to those who thrive in open floorplans and shared spaces. For instance, a data analyst might require a quiet, private space to focus on crunching numbers, while a design team may thrive in a communal setup where they can work collaboratively. To that end, it is important to consider the type of work being done and provide appropriate furniture solutions. 

By considering not only the people you employ but also the work they do, you can design a space that promotes productivity, creativity, and collaboration.  

Flexible furniture options provide a range of benefits, such as easy adaptability to different layouts and optimal use of space. They can also future proof your office, making them more cost effective as well.  

When making your decisions, keep these three points front of mind:

  • Office layout and design 
  • Specific needs of the workforce 
  • Budget  

To break these down even further, consider the following: 

  • How many employees are full-time? 
  • How many employees are hybrid/part-time? 
  • Will you need conference/meetings rooms and, if so, how many people will they need to accommodate? How often will you use them? 
  • What type of work are your employees doing? Does it require privacy and quiet, or does it require collaboration? Or is it a combination of both?  
  • How much money do you have to spend? 
  • Can you use what you have and reconfigure the setup, or will you need to revamp your space and purchase new furniture?  

While it is important to keep budget in mind, it is crucial to prioritize long-term value to ensure that the furniture can keep up with the changing workplace trends. Ideally, you want to strike a balance between innovation and function in your collaborative spaces. By investing in flexible collaboration furniture, you are also making an investment towards the future. 

Multi-functional furniture, flexible seating and desk arrangements, modular workstations, and community- and collaboration-oriented lounge furniture are all important furniture solutions that cater to a variety of shared office space needs. Here are a few collaborative and shared office space furniture solutions from some of our favorite brands.  

Multi-functional Furniture 

Modern office space with privacy areas and multi use desk with chairs.

Multi-functional furniture offers the obvious benefit and convenience of serving multiple purposes and can be reconfigured to suit a variety of needs. They can be arranged in ways to support the way people work rather than dictate it.  

HON Tangram 

This line is ideal for educational settings, common areas, and breakrooms. 

Tangram | HON Office Furniture  

OFS Obeya  

This line is highly configurable for a variety of used and market applications, particularly private or meeting spaces. 

OFS – Obeya – Architectural structures – Product  

OFS Staks 

This variety of furniture can be used in private offices or set up like workstations. 

OFS – Staks – Private office – Product 

DESIGN, please pull image from  

Flexible Seating and Desk Arrangements 

Flexible seating and desk arrangements (such as benching) are excellent for spaces where you need to be able to move seating around easily to accommodate a shifting workforce. For example, if you have lots (or all) hybrid employees, having mobile desks that can be moved together or split apart accommodates both situations were an employee would need privacy and space and situations where they need to come together to collaborate.  

HON SoCo 

This line of furniture is designed to be comfortable and easily movable and is ideal for communal spaces like lounges and breakrooms. 

SoCo | HON Office Furniture 

OFS Agile 

These mobile desking options offer height-adjustable desks and plenty of flexibility. 

OFS – Agile – Benching – Product 

Global Softpod 

This lite-scale, easily movable desking system offers privacy and is particularly great for unassigned workspaces. 

Softpod | Global (globalfurnituregroup.com) 

Modular Workstations 

Modular workstations

Modular workstations offer versatile solutions for multiple configurations and allow for design flexibility throughout the workspace, allowing for quick rearrangement, movement, and redesign. They are ideal for both hot desking and hoteling. Boasting an extensive selection of design features and customization options, they can adapt to any user’s needs as well as the evolving needs of growing business environments. 

HON Accelerate 

Accelerate | HON Office Furniture  

HON Abound 

Abound | HON Office Furniture 

Community- and Collaboration-Oriented Lounge Areas  

Two people having a discussion on a modern round lounge sofa with a round table in front of them

Community- and collaboration-oriented lounge areas are meant to be spaces that are adaptable and cater to people’s need to relax and socialize and brainstorm. As such, furniture for these types of areas should reflect comfort, flexibility and camaraderie.  

HON Astir 

This line of collaborative lounge seating and tables provides ideal group seating that maintains privacy and flexibility via an abundance of customizable options.  

Astir | HON Office Furniture 

OFS Tangent 

This line provides plenty of modular lounge seating options perfect for breakrooms, collaborative spaces, and lobbies. 

OFS – Tangent – Lounge – Product  

Global River 

This incredibly popular modular lounge seating series more than meets the demands of 24/7 environments like universities and healthcare facilities.  

River Plus | Lounge Seating | Global (globalfurnituregroup.com) 

Organizations should strive to find the right balance between flexible business models and fostering collaboration, camaraderie, and team building among their staff. How you set up your space will influence what you fill it with, as will what that space is being used for. Our team has the expertise to help you achieve your goals and meet your specific needs for collaborative and shared office space furniture solutions.  

Reach out to us for a consult today!

John Sites
John Sites
Furniture Sales Manager - Interiors by Guernsey/furniture I enjoy lazy afternoons browsing antique stores or hiking a new mountain trail. Attending live sports is always on my to-do list and I find it impossible to turn down pizza at any meal. I love architecture and am always down to check out historical buildings. My motto...it is what it is!