Photo: Courtesy of Steelcase.
Blame it on startup culture, but the open-plan office is heralded as the ultimate setup for fostering creativity and collaboration. We get it: The flow of oxygen — and ideas! — means brainstorming at its best. But, there are plenty of people (one in three, precisely) for whom constant collaboration isn't their office M.O. Best-selling author Susan Cain now has a solution for the introverts at work: Quiet Spaces, her collaboration with furniture line Steelcase, offers five workspace layouts for employees who excel in calm environs, or do their best work solo.
The nooks aren't meant to be private offices, but communal places that encourage intimate, creative conversations and personal productivity. And, the designs are as soothing as their names (Be Me, Mind Share, and Flow, to name a few) suggest.
“One of the problems with open-plan offices is that people are less likely to make friends because they feel like they will be overheard, but friendship requires the exchange of confidences,” Cain says. The Mind Share design brings people together in a comfortable space for collaborating one-on-one. In other words, those who shy away from large meetings or hide behind their email interface can get candid in much smaller groups. Click over to Fast Company to see the rest of the collection and watch Susan's TED talk on the power of introverts. Then, petition your office manager for a productivity hobbit hole of your own.