Collaboration is a buzzword these days; the modern generation’s preference for more group-oriented process has led to some fundamental changes in workplace design. The days of individual offices, or large spaces divided by sound-absorbing cubicles, are quickly disappearing as companies convert their buildings into more open and social work spaces. The downfall to this approach is that it has eliminated quiet spaces to think, enjoy some privacy or converse with co-workers and clients without others’ being privy to your every word. As with all healthy systems, it’s always important to strike a balance.

IFAW Office

IFAW International Fund for Animal Welfare, Yarmouthport, MA
(In association with designLAB Architects). Private offices are still important inĀ an open work space.

Steelcase, a global leader in office furniture design, has launched a new series of work spaces that are designed to help the pendulum swing back to center: Susan Cain Quiet Spaces. You may be familiar with Susan Cain; she’s a published author best known for her best-selling book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking. The idea for these namesakes originated when Steelcase’s CEO, Jim Keane, overheard professional discussing their need to leave work and hold offsite meetings so they could have some quiet and privacy. That made no sense to him, so the idea of quiet office spaces was born.

BE ME Room_Steelcase

The “Be Me” office gives workers permission to be alone and be themselves. Source:

Eventually, Cain and Keane began collaborating to create discuss ideal quiet spaces that could be installed in an open office floor plan. While we understand why they are calling these spaces ideal for introverts, we feel everyone deserves – and needs – a little peace and quiet once in a while. Kudos to them for becoming part of the solution.

Schedule a consultation with Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors.Office designs should provide the best of both worlds for professionals and their clients. Are you interested in striking a balance between collaboration and quiet space in your open workplace design?