You might think that the reams of analysis done on office space would have by now turned every workplace into a humming hive of engagement and productivity. Earlier this year, we even got an advance look at a research paper that outlined alternative design strategies to make workers happier.

The paper, Ethonomics: Designing For The Principles Of The Modern Workplace—authored by Teknion, in collaboration with design expertslike Joan Blumenfeld, principal of Perkins+Will, one of this year’s Most Innovative Companies—revealed that the workplace is ripe for reinvention.

As Blumenfeld told Fast Company

Workspaces should flex to provide a variety of spaces and destinations for workers to inhabit that promote movement throughout the day. While many companies are doing a good job of incorporating some of these elements into their workplace design, there’s a need for more awareness and implementation of this way of thinking holistically about the workplace.


Approaching the New Year seems like as good a time as any to say out with the old walls that block natural light, separation of departments, major investments in public spaces at the expense of the back office and other design elements that bum workers out, and in with creative solutions that bring people together in ways they can be at their best.

We talked to the design experts at Teknion, Poppin, a manufacturer of workplace furniture and accessories, and Workwell Partners, a design firm specializing in creating efficient spaces to see what they predict are the most useful trends for 2016. Here’s what they told us.


Scott Lesizza, principal at Workwell Partners says one of his clients’ most requested solutions is help with eliminating wires and clutter from desktops and conference rooms. "Between wires, laptops and other electronic devices, to docking stations, paperwork and personal items, there are many things that can make a room full of open desks appear very disorganized," says Lesizza. Even a $30,000 conference table can look terrible if wires are not well concealed within the table, he observes. "Luckily we are seeing more manufacturers develop solutions that are clean and simple," he says.

Photo: Slyde Charging Solutions


Lesizza says nature is having a serious moment in design. Reclaimed wood panel installations, exposed concrete flooring, and incorporating natural flora patterns in fabrics and artwork are all becoming more prominent, along with plant life itself in the form of living walls, he says. "Some of our favorite pieces and projects from the last year take a page from this trend, and also go hand in hand with one of the bigger trends: bringing the home into the office," says Lesizza. "It’s the natural, cozy feeling that a lot of these finishes and details have that will continue to make this trend a popular one throughout 2016."

Photo: Carlo Ponti Photography


Lesizza observes that in his 20 years in the design business, he’s never seen change happen so quickly. "Not only are cubicles disappearing," says Lesizza, "but now their replacement—the bench—is being overtaken by non-assigned seating." The executive suite is still not playing to this trend, however; multipurpose spaces can be utilized for everything from multimedia presentations to casual breakout areas. "We’ll also see more oval-shaped office desks, which allow for a more convenient place for 4-6 people to meet, as well as a shift toward height adjustable tables for standing meetings," he says.

Photo: Peter Dressel


Jeff Miller, a veteran of Apple and Herman Miller who’s now vice president of design at Poppin sees a move toward creating spaces that are the antithesis of rigid workstations. "Lighter, powerful, wireless technology has untethered the workspace more than ever," Miller notes, so offices can be more comfortable, which stimulates relaxed collaboration. "Offices now mandate the inclusion of dedicated lounge areas to make working more enjoyable," Miller says.

Photo: courtesy of DOAR


"I’m a strong believer that if you organize your work environment with color, it will help your thoughts be more organized and colorful," says Miller. He cites several studies that color boosts happiness, productivity and creativity. "We’re seeing more offices integrate pops of color in unexpected ways and therefore strive to be at the forefront of offering a wide color spectrum of accessories and furniture," Miller explains.

Photo: courtesy of DOAR


Steve Delfino, vice president of Corporate Marketing and Product Management at Teknion says the community table reflects a cultural moment. "People are looking for more interaction at work and in other public settings, including restaurants and hotels where large shared tables are making an appearance," he observes. But the community table has been a meaningful object for centuries, a symbol of kinship or alliance that is now becoming an important part of the work environment, Delfino adds. "Today, the table emerges as a relevant feature of an evolving workplace that now exhibits many of the characteristics of a domicile—more relaxed, more congenial and collaborative," he says.

Photo: courtesy of Teknion


Delfino says he’s seeing an increased emphasis on using varied materials throughout the workplace to create environments that influence wellness and productivity. "Products with a rich material vocabulary provide designers with the opportunity to be original and bold—to use color and texture to create a more varied, inspiring and personalized work environment," he says.

Photo: courtesy of Teknion


Flexibility is something all three design experts are seeing as a growing trend as traditional office spaces, planned in advance with permanent layouts, are giving way to the needs of an ever-changing work landscape. Delfino notes that products designed to have every element move into place and fit together without rules based planning are at the forefront of the office of the future. "Modular components can be mixed, stacked and moved around, offering innumerable combinations for a dynamic and collaborative workplace," he says.

Photo: courtesy of Teknion

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Where to Go for Sumptuous Festive Dining in Manila

Manila may not be the best Filipino destination if you want to have the best dining experience but it has a number of great places where you can enjoy sumptuous dining for whatever occasion.

The following are some of the top picks you should consider.

Casa Roces

Offering Spanish, Asian, and Filipino dishes, Casa Roces is one of the highly-rated restaurants in Manila. It is located in 1153 JP Laurel corner Aguado Street. San Miguel, Manila. Its wooden interiors and cozy atmosphere present a warm welcome to every diner. Full bar service is available. Casa Roces is famous for its Malacañang frozen soufflé, choritos en balsamico, loacker milk hazelnut torte, fabada ala Casa Roces, and crispy lengua. The restaurant is open from 10AM to 10PM daily.

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6 Ways in Handling the Challenges of a Shrinking Office Space

Office space is not cheap especially in major cities. While the Philippines continues to have some of the cheapest office spaces in the Asia-Pacific region, cheap is not really that cheap in the perspective of local businessmen. That’s why companies could not easily expand their offices to match their growing number of employees.

The prevailing setup involves the use of cubicles for most employees with the rooms only limited to the use of officers or those who hold sensitive functions. Most employees will have to deal with the disadvantages and inconveniences of being in the same area ineffectively separated by cubicle walls. There’s just no privacy in this setup. A human resource officer who occasionally talks to a superior regarding the suspension or sacking of an employee will have to bear the awkwardness. There’s also the danger for everyone to unwittingly share too much information. Additionally, not everyone may be able to tolerate the distractions caused by other employees near them.

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6 Reasons Why Real Estate Is An Excellent Investment

There are many reasons why real estate investments are better compared to other forms of investments. Shelling out money for real estate could be better than investing in stocks and is definitely better than simply keeping money in the bank. Of course, it’s not a perfect investment but in general it comes with more advantages than disadvantages.

The following are the top 6 reasons why you should consider a real estate investment.

  1. Value Appreciation and Cash Inflow

This is one of the best reasons why you should consider a real estate investment. Land, in particular, very rarely loses its value. Instead, it keeps appreciating over time. You may not do anything about the land you bought and wait for the area to progress and you can expect the land’s value to considerably increase as the years pass. Even better, you can use the property to make money. You can erect a building and have it leased. If you don’t have the capital, you can engage in an agreement with a contractor for a profit sharing scheme.

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10 Basic Rules to Help You Become a Successful Freelance Writer

Freelance writing is not for everyone. Not everyone has the ability to handle the challenges and drawbacks of freelance work. However, if you are really determined to succeed in doing freelance writing, you can impose the following rules on yourself to boost your chances for success.

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APEC’s Impact on the SMEs in the Philippines

Meta: What are the specific benefits of APEC 2015? Is it really worth spending P10 billion, massive inconveniences, and public anger on?
Has APEC really made impact? Did it really leave something beneficial for the country? These are important questions to ask and discuss considering the billions of pesos spent for the event and the massive inconvenience it has caused the public.

In his speech at the APEC SME Summit, President Aquino said that he couldn’t help but be “impressed by what APEC has been able to achieve.” You may ask, what specific achievements? In the eyes of ordinary Filipinos, the APEC Summit is nothing but a major inconvenience. Not many can see beyond the encumbering closing of roads, no-pay holiday declaration, and the temporary solutions to the unsightly parts of Manila.

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A Competitive Company Culture is a Boon to Everyone

Is it advantageous propagating competition in the workplace or is it counterproductive? For many the answer to this question is simple – yes. Many like getting challenged. It’s boring when work turns into a monotonous routine. A competitive atmosphere is mostly beneficial.

The following are arguably the most compelling reasons why workplace competition should not be treated as a problem but something that should be harnessed.

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4 Little Known Ways to Create Buzz around Your Brand

If you are running a business or selling products, you certainly want people to be aware of your brand or product range. However, in many cases it’s not enough that people know about your products. You have to catch their attention or make them talk about what you are offering to convince them to buy or at least remember your brand.

This is what you call “creating brand buzz.” It is about giving people a reason to talk about your brand or products. Conventionally, it is being done by advertising on TV, radio, billboards, and online. It can also be done by hosting events centered around the brand or products being promoted, all of which entail high costs. If you want to take the less expensive and easier route, consider the following little known options:

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