Taking a look inside King Business Interiors Downtown showroom doesn’t just mean looking at office furniture, but on closer examination says a lot about the trends in how and where people prefer to do their work. The business is also finding new ways to utilize the space around these trends, helping other businesses large and small in the process.
KBI chose to open a Downtown location at 175 on the Park in summer of 2014 for three reasons. First was the the energy and activity building in the area, especially around the Columbus Commons. Second was the proximity to the architecture and design firms, banks and law firms that make up its customer base. And third was to highlight their main manufacturer’s designs that promote the ‘new’ way of working.
Interior Designer Chelsea King says that cubicle walls are coming down and open office environments are becoming more the norm. Workers are no longer chained to a desk, but instead find collaboration in ‘third spaces,’ those areas like lounges, coffee stations and high-top tables outside an individual’s desk or a conference room.
In a showroom full of high-quality furniture offering a variety of set-ups and spaces, KBI is able to leverage both their own employees and a small group of coworkers to figure out the ins and outs of what working in an open office environment really means.
KBI President Darla King is a member of the Columbus Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. She found that many of her peers in the group were looking for places to work outside of their homes. King, along with three other women, began working out of the space as needed.
“We are seeing a lot more people working anywhere they want to versus being forced to go into a long-term lease or in a building that they don’t want to be in,” Darla says. “It gives everybody that flexibility and that variety. It also gives us the opportunity to have some energy down here.”
The showroom has all the traditional amenities of a typical coworking space – coffee, kitchenette, copier/printer, a physical address, conference rooms – plus the bonus of IT support. It also gives KBI and its clients a chance to see how people physically interact with the space and the furniture. The coworkers are then able to provide independent feedback on their experience working in an open environment.
At times, KBI has also had its own employees work out of the space. Chelsea explains that with these new types of open-office layouts come new rules and etiquette for working.
“It’s like a lab for us, we use it and learn from that and then help customers solve problems that we’ve already run into hands-on,” Chelsea says.
New office furniture and a change of space can be a big shift for some employers, but KBI is able to not only offer the furniture, but a knowledge-base of how to work with it.
“People are designing today with a lot less space, getting more people in less real estate and that’s what this 3,000 square feet explains and shows,” Darla says.
While KBI uses the space for its intended showroom purpose frequently, hosting three to four presentations a week (and the coworkers just keep right on going), the business is rounding out the space’s multifunctionality by hosting events. The space and its conference rooms host meetings, happy hours and more.
Darla says that as they have recently really opened up the showroom to coworking and continuing to discover how they can use it for the business, they are taking it day by day. A selective group of additional coworkers could be a possibility, but for now its a great source for showing and gaining knowledge about open offices.
For more information, visit kbiinc.com.