In the world of sports, “benching” happens when a player earns the ire of his or her coach and is told to take a seat vs. get in the game. Fortunately, things are a lot less confrontational and controversial in the office design world!
Simply put, benching is an approach that replaces conventional desks and workstations with “bench-like” tables. Unlike picnic tables (which are sometimes found in lunch rooms), with benching, employees have their own chairs. This is an important factor, because as we all know, people come in all shapes and sizes. What’s more, many people prefer to adjust the angle of their seat based on what they’re doing (writing a list, reading a report, typing a document, etc.), and forcing everyone to sit ON a bench — vs. sit AT a bench — could diminish productivity and might even cause injury; especially since there would be no back support.
Like all other office design approaches and ideas, there are some key advantages and potential disadvantages of benching that are important to consider:
Advantages of Benching
The primary benefit of benching is that it encourages interaction and collaboration, because people can easily move to different “sections” of the bench throughout the day. This is especially beneficial for new employees, who don’t have to wade through a political pecking order to get prime working space. They jump right in from day one.
What’s more, benching can be significantly more cost effective than other layout approaches — especially those involving cubicles — because it utilizes space very efficiently. It is also possible to create custom benches to fit specific areas and turn previously un-usable space into functional work areas.
And of course, no discussion of the advantages of benching would be complete without highlighting that they look sleek, stylish and futuristic. Some businesses even showcase pictures of the cool benches on their Facebook and other social media pages, which makes a positive impression on customers, as well as future employees.
Disadvantages of Benching
Like open office layouts, benching can trigger an excess of noise and conversation — which leads to distraction and reduced productivity. At the same time, lack of privacy can be an issue, and it does not take long for things to get messy.
However, none of these disadvantages and drawbacks are inherent to benching. Rather, they are rooted in policies; or more specifically, the lack of policies. Businesses that create and enforce rules around noise levels, handling private information, and keeping things tidy can avoid all of these problems.
To learn more about benching, and to determine if this innovative office design approach should be part of your future, contact the Key Interiors team today. Your consultation with us is free.
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