Tired of being surrounded by three or four cubicle walls? Need a little more interaction with your co-workers? Well, wait no further. Benching is here and it is here to stay. Many companies, large and small, are moving away from cubicles that isolate employees and toward integrating work systems with open plans that promote collaboration, communication and idea sharing. Save the four walls for management who require privacy in their day to day activities. Those employees in the trenches just may need to be social with a line of sight to others they work with, not to mention a little natural light that you can’t get when you spend your whole day in a box with no windows.
The benching trend has also gained popularity because of the need for less storage. Let’s face it. We print and file less than we used to. Some of us anyway. We are storing more and more of our documents digitally, eliminating the need for so many bulky drawer pedestals and lateral files. Anderson Interiors is supplying more and more mobile pedestals to our clients. They are multi-functional in that they typically have a file drawer, pencil/personal drawer, and a cushion on top that provides extra seating for guests. They are on wheels and can move from station to station as needed. Extensive paint color and fabric choices add a great deal of interest and style to the work area.
Another benefit of choosing benching over traditional cubicles is the cost savings. A benching work area can be purchased at up to 50% less than a typical paneled workstation. There are just fewer parts and pieces needed to fill the overall square footage allotment per station. Speaking of square footage, business owners can significantly reduce the overall office building size requirements needed to hold employees simply by moving part or all of their workforce into a benching system. Let’s face it, less space means less expense in the real estate arena.
Even better news is that a lot of the most recently marketed benching systems also allow for employees to sit OR stand while they work. The benefits of the sit to stand option include better health and increased focus, among others. Imagine the flexibility this offers employees. Anderson Interiors’ head Design Consultant and West Elm Workspace Pittsburgh Design Lab’s (Anderson’s downtown showroom) Coordinator, Emilie Criner, stands all day while she works. While we know it is unusual for someone to spend the entire day on their feet, we love being able to meet her needs. On her first day here, she put a box under her monitor and keyboard tray to raise the height. We told her we could do better than that! Her sit to stand electric base was added to her work surface within the week. A content employee is a productive employee.
The pros to benching are many. Here are some things to keep in mind though. There are times when employees need some privacy for phone calls or confidential conversations. Consider having a small room or two where they can retreat for such occasions. Employers may also want to control visible clutter that comes along with benching. Do you want to walk into your stylish new space and see jackets and purses everywhere? Lockers at the end of each benching run are a great option for these items. Each employee can have their own lockable cubby to hold their personal items.
Anderson Interiors carries a full line of benching products to suit everyone’s needs and style, including AIS, First Office, Friant, Inscape Solutions, and OFS. We also have several featured benching systems from West Elm Workspace with Inscape including Beam, Industrial, Mid-Century, Modern, Spindle and Truss at our Design Lab downtown. Come take a look and see what all the fuss is about Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4.30 pm by appointment. West Elm Workspace Pittsburgh, 412-213-5330. Ask for Emilie, she is standing at her Modern Benching desk ready for your call.