Most people spend the majority of their day sitting at work, but too much sitting in the same position is detrimental to your health and well-being.
To encourage employees to get up and move around the office, forward-thinking companies are investing in a variety of seating options. This way, employees can alternate between settling into a meeting space to brainstorm with colleagues and finding focus alone in a quiet work zone.
There’s more than comfort riding on this design shift. Research shows that today’s workforce is more productive when there’s flexibility and autonomy in choosing where they can sit and get their work done. According to the Gensler 2019 US Workplace Survey, 79 per cent of employees in workplaces with a variety of settings reported having a great work experience.
With additional seating options such as inviting collaboration spaces, cool lunch counters, and places to lounge that help you reenergise after a tough project, more office workers can feel liberated from their desk chairs.
Here’s a look at some unique seating options featured at WeWork locations across the globe that are helping companies break out of the 9-to-5, desk chair mindset.
A nod to Japanese culture
Often, offices are designed to reflect the culture of the city or region where they’re located. As soon as you see this space Tokyo Square Garden in Tokyo, you’ll recognise the seiza-style mats that are traditionally used in Japan to kneel on. In this case, though, there is open space below the tables so workers can stretch their legs.
Not only do employees at WeWork Yeoksam Station in Seoul, South Korea, get to enjoy an outdoor space during the workday, they also have the option to literally hang out in oversize hanging chairs. The vibrant colours and tufted cushions beckon anyone in need of a screen break.
These oversize one-seaters at WeWork 500 7th Ave in New York City are perfect for settling in, whether it’s to analyse a contract or have a one-to-one. In this energised space, the bright orange chairs complement the artwork and yellow side table.
Seating that’s a step above
The functional design of this wide staircase at Plaza Real Cariari in San Jose, Costa Rica adds stadium-like, tiered seating. It makes for a fun gathering place for an impromptu staff announcement or just an open spot to catch up with coworkers moving between floors.
Relaxing and recharging station
Is it a bed? A couch? A workspace? Maybe this recessed, pillow-filled seating area at 6 Brindleyplace in Birmingham, United Kingdom is a bit of all three. The extra-deep cushions, surrounded by built-in bookshelves, create the perfect nook for putting your feet up and having a more cosy, casual meeting.
Common areas are important for collaboration, socialising and team building, which is why this space at WeWork 33 Arch St in Boston is so vibrant. The open area’s counter-stool seating up above and the colourful cushioned seating below makes for a fun and out-of-the-ordinary experience that encourages employee interaction.
Circular solo seating
These playful pods at WeWork 199 Water St in New York look like cruise ship porthole seats. Each offers a fun spot for some solo reflection that’s way more chic than a printed ‘Do not disturb’ sign on your cubicle wall.
Next-level decorative seating
Chairs are not just for sitting – they can also bring the entire look and feel of a space together. That’s certainly the case with these wicker rocking chairs at 250 Tower in Salt Lake City. The natural material works with the aesthetic of the room, from the circular wood coffee table to the earth-toned area rug.
Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer who covers work, personal finance and higher education. Her writing has appeared in numerous outlets, including Family Circle and monster.com. Follow her on Twitter.