Workplace benching is a modern office design concept that has been gaining popularity in recent years. The idea behind benching is to create a more collaborative, flexible, and efficient work environment by replacing traditional individual desks with long, shared tables or “benches.” In this article, we will explore the benefits of workplace benching, the potential drawbacks, and the key considerations for implementing benching in your office.
Benefits of Workplace Benching
1) Increased Collaboration
One of the main benefits of workplace benching is increased collaboration among employees. By sitting at shared tables, employees are more likely to interact with their colleagues and work together on projects. This is particularly beneficial for companies that value teamwork and collaboration, such as technology and creative industries.
Workplace benching also allows for more flexibility in the office. With adjustable height desks and power outlets, employees can work in a variety of positions, such as standing or sitting, and can easily switch between different devices. This can help to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and improve overall employee well-being.
3) Improved Space Utilization
Another benefit of workplace benching is improved space utilization. Traditional individual desks can take up a lot of space in an office, particularly when employees are not present. Benching allows for more efficient use of space, as the long tables can be shared by multiple employees at the same time. This can help to reduce the overall cost of office space.
Workplace benching can also be more cost-effective than traditional office design. Shared tables and benches are typically less expensive to purchase and maintain than individual desks. Additionally, by reducing the amount of office space needed, companies can save money on rent or mortgage payments.
5) Increased Comfort
Finally, workplace benching can also increase comfort for employees. Sitting at shared tables allows for more natural light and views, which can help to reduce the risk of eye strain and improve overall well-being. Additionally, the open layout of the benching can help to reduce feelings of isolation and improve employee morale.
1) Privacy Concerns
One of the main concerns with workplace benching is the lack of privacy. Sitting at shared tables can make it difficult for employees to have confidential conversations or work on sensitive projects. Additionally, the open layout can make it more difficult for employees to focus on their work, as they may be distracted by their colleagues.
Another potential drawback of workplace benching is increased noise levels in the office. Sitting at shared tables can make it more difficult for employees to concentrate, as they may be disturbed by the sound of their colleagues talking or typing. This can be particularly problematic for employees who need to focus on their work, such as writers or programmers.
3) Lack of Personal Space
Workplace benching can also make it difficult for employees to have a sense of personal space. Sitting at shared tables can make it more difficult for employees to decorate their work area or personalize their space. This can be particularly difficult for employees who value their personal space, such as introverts.
4) Reduced Storage
Finally, workplace benching can make it more difficult for employees to store their belongings. Traditional individual desks typically have drawers or cabinets for storing personal items, but shared tables may not have the same level of storage. This can make it more difficult for employees to keep their work area organized.
Key Considerations for Implementing Workplace Benching:
1) Employee Needs
When considering implementing workplace benching, it is important to consider the needs and preferences of your employees. Not all employees may be comfortable with the open layout and lack of personal space that comes with benching. It is important to involve employees in the decision-making process and to gather feedback on the potential changes to the office design.
2) Privacy and Soundproofing
To address privacy concerns, companies can consider implementing privacy screens or soundproofing measures. Privacy screens can help to provide a visual barrier between employees, while soundproofing measures can help to reduce noise levels in the office.
3) Adjustable Height Desks and Power Outlets
To ensure that benching is comfortable for all employees, companies should consider investing in adjustable-height desks and power outlets. This will allow employees to work in a variety of positions and to easily switch between different devices.
4) Storage Solutions
To address the potential lack of storage, companies can consider implementing storage solutions such as under-desk storage or lockers. This will help employees to keep their work area organized and to store their personal items.
5) Cultural Fit
Finally, it’s important to consider whether benching aligns with the company culture and values. If a company values individual work and privacy, benching may not be the best fit. It’s important to evaluate whether benching aligns with the company’s goals and values before implementing it.
In conclusion, workplace benching is a modern office design concept that can offer several benefits such as increased collaboration, flexibility, and improved space utilization. However, it also comes with potential drawbacks such as privacy concerns, increased noise levels, and lack of personal space. Companies should consider the needs and preferences of their employees, privacy and soundproofing measures, adjustable height desks and power outlets, storage solutions, and cultural fit before implementing benching in their offices. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of benching and to gather feedback from employees before making any decisions.