Today’s Executive Office: Design Ideas for an Evolving Workplace

The corner office. With its expansive footprint and stunning views, it was once the status symbol of success and the aspiration of many who climbed the corporate ladder. 

Today, however, changing leadership styles and evolving workplaces are leading some executives to rethink how and where they work. 

The C-suite is changing. In our latest article about office furniture solutions, we’re focusing on executive office design ideas and how they’ve shifted in recent years. Read on to see the latest trends and what’s driving them.

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The Decline in Traditional C-Suites

Even before the pandemic ushered in remote work models, many companies considered how they could minimize departmental silos, reduce their footprints, and maximize existing space. Those corner offices occupied by executives took up a lot of valuable real estate, and some executive office suites were far removed from those they were entrusted to lead.

Now that many workers are accustomed to hybrid and remote work, the office is no longer a place for completing individual tasks. Many prefer to complete focused work at a home office where they’re free from distractions. 

Companies that want to bring back in-office workers realize they need to make their building a destination, according to Herman Miller, a global leader in workplace furnishings. In response, many executive suites and meeting rooms are being transformed into attractive, inviting open seating areas and hubs for collaboration, ideation, and culture-building activities. 

Some executives are putting aside previous hierarchy models in favor of immersive working arrangements, and many welcome the change. Instead of feeling detached from their teams, they feel a part of them with more interaction, comradery, and a sense of belonging. These types of healthy workplace relationships and collaboration are now seen as invaluable business strategies to retain skilled workers, offer flexibility, improve productivity, and maintain a competitive advantage.

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So, where are all those executives spending their time if not in the corner office?

Types of Modern Executive Office Designs

There are clearly many organizations where a traditional C-suite model may be appropriate, and we’ve helped many achieve their design goals. Increasingly, however, executives are leveraging the hybrid work model themselves. And, as good stewards of their company’s resources, they realize it doesn’t make sense to leave a spacious office empty when it could be enjoyed by others and contribute to their company’s success. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some alternative executive work areas and design ideas.

Open-Plan Executive Area

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Credit: OFS Brands

In an open-plan, there are no barriers, walls, or frosted glass windows. Instead, executives work in the same space as their teams to promote interaction and transparency. The area can include sleek designs with desks that are arranged to foster easy communication, yet enough privacy to focus on tasks. 

Comfortable seating is often configured into open-space work areas and is ideal for conducting informal conversations or spontaneous brainstorming sessions that don’t require video chats. To minimize disruptions to others in the area, sound masking or partitions may be used. And what about that old corner office? It can be transformed into a space for more formal meetings with easy-to-use AV technology or even be converted into a lounge area that mimics the comforts of home, only with a better view and amenities.

Modular Executive Suite

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Credit: Herman Miller

Executives don’t necessarily need to take an all or nothing approach and abandon an office altogether. Modular suites with freestanding, movable walls are versatile and adaptive workspaces that can accommodate semi-private or fully enclosed configurations where furniture and elements can be arranged to meet the specific office environment needs. 

With the use of modular walls, executives can still maintain a level of privacy and personalization while being immersed in the same area as their teams. The aesthetic is typically modern and professional, with a focus on functionality and ergonomic design. Features might include movable desks and lounge furniture that can be easily reconfigured.

Technology-Enhanced Smart Offices

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Credit: OFS Brands

Whether a senior leader or new recruit, employees need robust technology. Smart offices incorporate the latest advancements to create more efficient, comfortable, and interactive workspaces with built-in technology, such as data ports, power supplies, and multimedia capabilities.

Executive offices and conference rooms often include interactive whiteboards for presenting, plug-and-play video conferencing, and scheduling software to reserve spaces. Smart sensors can do more than simply turn on the lights; they can adjust room temperature, turn on AV equipment, and even capture room-use data to help maximize occupancy use for future meetings. Furniture itself can be programmable, adjusting to preset ergonomic positions. Some even feature notifications to encourage employees to stand or adjust their posture after prolonged sitting.

A New Era of C-Suites

The shift away from traditional C-suites not only reflects a change in workplace preferences but also in leadership philosophies. Executives generally want to integrate with their teams to help break down barriers that may have once stood between them and their employees. The modern workplace isn’t just a place to work, but a community that wants to foster greater connectivity, flexibility, and collaboration.

At the Samuels Group, our team of commercial interior designers and furniture solutions specialists can help you determine your workplace furnishings and finishes and ensure they align with your company’s goals and vision. We recommend starting the ideation process with our guide to today’s modern workplace: Hybrid Work Model Guide to Commercial Interior Solutions. It goes more in depth and shares additional considerations. Simply click below for your copy. If you’d like to connect with one of our interior designers or explore office furniture options, contact us.

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