www.akbizmag.com March 2018 | Alaska Business 27
workstations may be in a more open environment, there are ways of implementing privacy with mobile partitions, sound masking
systems, privacy screens, and orientations of
desks,” she says.
Designers also acknowledge certain job roles
and positions require a more secure workspace,
such as the Human Relations department.
“In this scenario we could recommend an
enclosed room for those individuals to share
that is supplied with an additional private
room to share for focus work and private
meetings,” says Pribyl.
On the security side, Nunn says lock and
access control systems are a good approach,
adding that the increasing “paperless office”
is easing office security needs since documents are protected by logins and passwords
rather than locked file drawers. In fact, a secured office space often isn’t necessary.
“Of course, no industry has gone completely
paperless, and some businesses still rely heavily
on paper for the type of work they do. In that
case, lockable storage [keyed, keypad, or card
key] helps secure the smaller items in open
workstations. For larger secure storage needs,
Privacy, despite the push toward a collab-
orative and open room work space, remains
important, say designers, who note that put-
ting employees in a private room with a door
does not necessarily provide true privacy.
Nunn says that without appropriate ceiling treatments, door hardware and gasketing, and treatment of the walls (including
over the wall), conversations in a “private”
office may actually be more easily heard and
understood than amongst open workstations, where the din of daily activity helps to
disguise the content of a conversation.
The first consideration when establishing
a private space is speech intelligibility, says
Nunn. If an employee can hear the murmur
of the phone conversation at the station or office next to them, but cannot discern what is
being discussed, the noise is not distracting
and the discussion can be considered private.
Designers rely on appropriate acoustical surface treatments on ceilings and walls
and smaller panels between workstations—
as well as technology solutions like sound
masking systems—to ensure an open work
area supports the needs of the employee.
While lighting is critical in any interior design, it takes on a greater importance in Alaska given seasonal characteristics. Alaska’s
northern daylight conditions impact energy
efficiency, employee health and well-being,
comfort, and aesthetics.
“We design in flexibility with the use of
dimmable light fixtures, grouping lights together on common switches for daytime and
nighttime settings [more commonly known
here as summer and winter], and providing
task lighting to the individuals of the space
to supplement when needed for those heads
down focus tasks,” she explains.
Nunn says her firm’s interior designers
prioritize access to views and daylight for occupied spaces, which directly impacts space
Interior of the Davis office building, designed by
The Alaska Communications Business Technology Center, where Alaska businesses and technology are brought together.
“These changes are starting to define the workspaces by
individual’s actions rather than their job function by providing
immersive planning techniques that create spaces that invite
interaction, collaboration, and private heads-down work.”
—Melissa Pribyl, Interior Designer, McCool Carlson Green