Offices are changing, the way we work is changing and it’s happening very fast. Gone are the days of sitting in the same desk every day, large corner workstations – one per person, a couple of storage cabinets each, the MD in his private office, the PA as the gate-keeper… Things have moved on. The office now is about communication, collaboration and adaptability. Offices now are fun; inspirational and exciting places to be – well at least they can be. Changes in technology mean we no longer need paper copies of everything; I can’t even remember the last time I hand wrote something. We don’t need massive desks, in fact the desk could even be a bar counter, treadmill, or bike (I kid you not – these are reality now)…
They might seem extremely silly, but they’re not really designed to be sat at by one person all day, in the same way that standard workstations are no longer really designed to be sat at all day. Modern office design includes soft seating for informal meetings, touchdown areas for staff that are just looking for a space to check their emails prior to “the big meeting”, private skype booths, brainstorm rooms with walls you write on, in fact different working environments for different activities, which when you think about it makes perfect sense.
The touchdown bar is best described as a bar counter with stools. It is particularly useful in an office where you have many travelling staff, or staff that come in and out for meetings. The touchdown bar give you a workspace that allows staff to sit, connect up a laptop, do a bit of work before going into their meeting without claiming a desk space for the entire day. By using stools rather than standard task chairs you are less likely to drape your coat over the chair and thereby claim it (even when you might be out of the room for several hours). Also the stools aren’t quite as comfortable to sit at for hours on end, so anyone needing to work for several hours would be more likely to choose a hotdesk or an empty desk. This means that these chairs are great for a high turnover of people and get used in a very efficient way. They can also double as a coffee point, are perfect for informal one to one meetings, or even somewhere to eat you lunch away from your desk.
The plan above shows one of our space plans that incorporates a touchdown area near the entrance of an office we planned for a client in London. Although there is limited space and an odd shaped area available we still managed to fit in several different working environments (reception, touchdown, soft seating, cafe tables, meeting table with flexi-screen, fixed staff desks and a meeting room). This gave the client flexibility allowing staff to pick a working environment suited to their particular task.
Below are some additional images of touchown areas to show how these areas work in a modern office environment.