Great coffee is a good workplace perk to have, but sometimes businesses on a budget just can’t afford to give away free coffee. A good solution might be to outfit your office with a coin-operated coffee machine. I know what you’re imagining. Those huge pricey vending machines that spits out paper cups and stale subpar coffee. Nope, we wouldn’t really recommend that for the modern office.
Fortunately, Keurig makes a product that blends the convenience of a single cup coffee maker with the functionality of a coin-operated coffee machine…all in one compact package. The Keurig B200 was built for small to medium sized offices, perfect for offices of about 30 people. This unit comes with some features not readily available on some of their home consumer brewers, such as the ability to plumb water in directly from a water line, thus eliminating the need to keep the internal reservoir filled up.
We had the opportunity to test this Keurig B200 in our office environment, and the feature we really loved was the coin-op vending kit available for this unit. Out of the box, the B200 works like most other Keurig single cup brewers. The coin-op vending kit just took about 15 minutes to install and configure. You can set the price per brew at anywhere from 5 cents to 3 dollars. We set ours up at 25 cents a cup, which we thought was a good way to subsidize the typical 50 cent price of the K-Cups. Overall, we think this is a great product for offices looking for an instant coffee vending machine. We can see many office environments where this would really work well, such as coworking spaces and shared offices. The wait time between brews is minimal, as the water heats very quickly in preparation for back-to-back brewing. Usage is very clean and simple as the only option available is for small or large mug. The only minor complaint we’d have is that for an office machine, the brew size would be a bit larger as employees generally want more drink in their mugs.
Gabardine is a creative marketing communications company that helps brands tell their stories and then weaves those stories across a range of media, online and off, to help strengthen the brand fabric.
The suite is one of about 15 spread across two traditional-looking New England clapboard buildings. Each suite is unique—and comes with its own set of design challenges. In Gabardine’s case, their office hadn’t been updated in over 10 years and was covered in commercial-grade mauve carpeting with lots of heavy, built-in furniture that made the space feel dark, confined and unwelcoming. They opened things up to take advantage of natural light and foster collaboration; added amenities and conveniences, such as a break bar; and updated the IT infrastructure to support their digital operations.
Stylistically, they combined color and materials to create a space that reflected Gabardine’s brand personality—open, inviting, calm and creative. They also introduced unexpected design touches, like wall art and cut-out letters under the conference table glass, that add a sense of whimsy to the space, keeping it light and fun. Virtually all the work was done by them, for around $7,500, using readily available materials and a bunch of yankee ingenuity.]]>
Check out this company Spacearium selling these amazing ceiling mounted aquariums. Very cool how one of the intended applications is for a room divider. We can imagine some pretty cool ways to use this in an office setting to add life and color to a space.
If you don’t have the high budget for this level aquarium, we’d definitely recommend these convenient “all-in-one” package aquarium solutions called BioCube. These aquarium packages basically have all you need to get an impressive looking aquarium running right out of the box. Setting up a tank successfully can get pretty complicated, and these systems tend to help simplify the setup process. They come in various sizes and you can generally find them at your local pet shop. You can pick up a 29 Gallon BioCube System on Amazon for about $250.
Miamishared values innovative and creative , independant professionals. We embrace the idea of collaboration and inspiration. They were inspired by their own roots and this allows them to share many of the same growing pains and success stories with their fellow start ups and internet companies. What began as an internet company quickly developed into a unique work culture where many employees were already embracing the idea of open workspaces and collaborative initiatives. This inspired the CEO to create a hub where other young and progressive companies can also find an affordable space in which to grow their company.
The main concept behind Miamishared is to bring start-ups and internet companies together in an environment where each can learn, grow, and establish business connections from one another. This is the backbone of Miamishared. They continue their bi weekly Pizza Friday, and always add on additional events such as our Caribbean potluck and our Fiesta Friday. These events allow everyone to break away from their strenuous hard work and take a moment to get to know their coworking neighbors. They have been fortunate enough to say that most of the coworkers are familiar with one another and continue their connections beyond Miamishared’s complex. With this their initial target has been met , and new goals have been created. All to benefit the creative minds in Miami searching for a place to work freely.”]]>
The Factory, a beautiful coworking space located in Grand Rapids, MI, is not just about sharing desks. They’re building community, making friendships and making Grand Rapids a cooler place to get work done.
Here are their core values:
When we work together good things happen. As we share our ideas, the
opportunity arises for them to be discussed, compared, refined and acted
upon. An environment should promote open collaboration.
Walls and cubicles hinder communication and sharing. When you share a desk
with someone you gain a unique opportunity to discuss. An environment
should provide a relaxed and inviting feel to drive openness among it’s
participants while remaining conscious of ones privacy and individuality.
If it takes a village to raise a child, why should a business be any
different? Whether you’re an independent worker or an employee of a large
corporation, a sense of community will enrich your work. A space should
foster an aura of comfortable integration; bringing various backgrounds
together to help people create, teach, learn and evolve ideas.
By providing a diverse environment we are all better able to understand the
demographics of the marketplace. Occasional challenges, misunderstandings,
and arguments may arise but it is key to sparking creativity and avoiding
groupthink. A space should bring together people with different ideas,
perspectives, and ways of working. New ideas. People from different
backgrounds and all different stages in their life and career.
Chase Jarvis is one of our favorite professional photographers we follow. He documents the buildout of his company’s versatile studio space in Seattle in this video comprised of 4000 still images. Check it out! It’s a great space and we get to witness the buildout from beginning to end in less than five minutes. We love the roll-up cargo doors and the big space that serves double purpose of conference room and photo studio.]]>
Knoll launched their new Antenna Workspaces at the recent Neocon trade fair. This workspace system springs out of the trend of open and collaborative working environments. The basic idea behind the system is simplicity and versatility, where the focal piece is a simple desk that the system expands upon. Thanks to Cool Hunting for getting this interview with the designers from Antenna Design in New York.]]>
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Size: 1100 square feet
Cohere is a membership based coworking community where creatively technical people come to work and collaborate in Fort Collins, Colorado. The building was built in 1890, and it’s sustainable, with wind credits and a 40-foot skylight that eliminates the need for artificial light during the day. It has great character, with exposed brick and an open floor plan. Its 1,100 square feet include 12 work stations, two smaller areas to get away to make phone calls or have meetings or brainstorm sessions, a lounge with couches and comfy chairs, a loft called the treehouse that’s good for meeting deadlines. The overall layout and custom ‘beetle kill pine’ inspired furniture was designed and built by Coloradoan designer, Drew of j+clayenvironments (www.jclayenvironments.com).
It’s hard to say what quirks our community has since all of the members bring a unique spice to the space. Cohere has found a way to let designers, developers, writers and free agents with widely diverse skills collaborate for the greater good of each member.]]>
When we first pulled this chair out-of-the-box…we initially thought “sexy chair”. We received this chair the same time as the Steelcase Leap, and judging a book by its cover, we thought this Think chair would be the one to beat (we were wrong, we liked the Leap better). Starting with what we liked about the Think chair. The visual design of this chair is excellent…sleek lines, mesh back, cushion seat pan, vibrant color. When you first sit on this chair, it’s definitely comfortable and the pneumatic height adjustment cylinder provides a good amount of springiness without making you feel like you sat on a rock or sat on a bobble head. Its got the same highly adjustable arm rests we loved on the Steelcase Leap. Lastly, instead of the infinitely adjustable recline tension knobs found on most chairs, this one has a dial offering four simple options ranging from full upright lock to easy recline mode. Very nice touch. The biggest thing we didn’t like about the chair is the mesh backing. The material just felt a bit cheap to us, and we weren’t convinced that the many horizontal metal bars running along the back to support the sitter was the most “thoughtful” approach to back support design on a chair.
The hydraulic cylinder is located in the center of the chair, but it doesn’t pivot back and forth like cheap office chairs. The tilt mechanism only reclines on the chair back, and the seat pan stays stationary (which is a good thing so that your feet stays flat on the floor while you recline).
This is probably our favorite feature of the chair, the “Preference Control”. Basically, it’s a knob with four click settings that adjusts the recline tension. The highest tension locks the chair back in the upright position. Much better design than those infinitely turnable knobs.
We found the seat pan to be very comfortable. There’s good amount of padding, and it adjusts forward and backwards to accommodate short and tall users.
Excellent adjustable armrests. Arms can telescope forward and back, move sideways, and adjust up and down so you can find a natural position that comfortably supports the wrists, forearms, shoulders and neck.
We love the sloped seat pan in the front. When you sit forward in the chair, the front of the seat pan relaxes a bit to accommodate the forward weight without cutting of circulation in the legs.
We like the breathable mesh back, but thought they could have used a little better material as it felt a bit flimsy. The metal crossbars provide adequate support, and the padded lumbar adjusts up and down to accommodate different users.
In his recent article “Goodbye to the Office“, Seth Godin (acclaimed author & new media marketing thought leader) blogs about the death of the traditional office. In a nutshell, he explains that 150 years ago, offices made sense as that was the most efficient way to conduct business efficiently. Fast forward today with all the business tools we have access to, do traditional offices actually make sense?
This idea of working away from the office is definitely not new as we’ve seen this trend happening for quite some time now. Yes, it’s easy to demonize the traditional office environment, and we find today’s thought leaders are a bit too trigger happy to kill it off . Sitcoms poke fun at it, and it’s probably been the center of misery for much of the population…but are offices really the enemy?
Although we don’t necessarily agree that we can say “goodbye to the office”, we do see that offices need to evolve from the way they worked 150 years ago. Even as his blog suggests, people still need a place to work, and an office is as good a place as any. The trick is to understand what drives employee productivity, how technology changes our work habits, how work environments affects efficiency…and to evolve the office space to account for these factors.]]>