Working Whiteboard Wall: The Foundation of a Well-equipped Home Office
Working walls, also known as research walls, inspiration boards, research boards, design walls, and ideation walls, are large vertical surfaces used for displaying information, projects, actions, decisions, and ideas so as to enhance the thinking processes of individuals or teams in business, design, science, and other fields. The core notion underlying working walls is that physically placing sources of inspiration and work in progress in public view and engaging with them can help team members rearrange and expand their ideas and so come up with groundbreaking insights. In the design field, working whiteboard walls have also been called “artful surfaces” that externalize work-related activities to support designers’ day-to-day ways of working and thinking.
Types of Working Whiteboard Walls
Among the various types of working whiteboard walls are the following.
1. Ideation Walls
Ideation walls help in simplifying each stage of a process or plan and in promoting creative thought. They also assist teams in developing a focused approach to a problem or project by allowing them to display and study large amounts of information at once and keep track of changes in data and ideas.
2. Project Walls
Project walls are excellent for displaying information and images. With respect to reaching due dates, maintaining the flow of a project’s essential parameters, and assessing work in progress, it is crucial to make the information as visible as possible so teams can stay united in their efforts and aware of exactly what’s going on at any given moment and what might be happening next.
3. Roadmap Walls
Roadmap walls provide an ideal way to represent processes or successions of elements in ongoing projects, especially those that extend over long periods. They offer a way to identify difficulties and opportunities that arise throughout a project’s progression.
The Functions of Working Whiteboard Walls
Working whiteboard walls keep teams motivated in order to reach collective goals, and encourage others to learn, give feedback and share insights and information through visuals. These powerful thinking tools originated in the design field and were later adopted for use in classrooms, business offices, research labs, and other settings. Working whiteboard walls can accelerate and stimulate each stage of the thinking process and offer unique benefits that encourage highly creative thought.
The walls can help colleagues empathize with and get feedback from one another and from clients; bring focus to a large quantity of information; encapsulate the thought-generating process; display low-fidelity trial products and prototypes that teams and users can interact with, and keep a record of how creative ideas emerge and are tested over time.
These wall-sized displays on vertical surfaces can thus be used to stimulate user collaboration, allowing for easy visualization and making them especially useful for projects such as consumer research. Working walls are graphic media that assist in the attainment of goals and targets and the development of ideas. To support the growth of these ideas, the content of a working wall changes frequently, thus empowering and driving creative teamwork.
Whiteboard walls used as working walls are eco-friendly
But how can working walls be adapted for use in today’s ever-growing number of work-from-home environments? One highly practical, eco-friendly, and cost-effective way is to install a top-quality whiteboard coated wall, a large, durable, and easy-to-use writing and drawing surface that can make an effective working whiteboard wall without having to mount a tack board, which is the most common surface used to create working walls. Such boards are limited in size and, when made of cork, deteriorate from users continually inserting and removing push pins and thumbtacks over time. Also, cork is a plant-based product derived from tree bark and thus has natural defects, grooves, and cracks that can make the surfaces of conventional working walls uneven and may shorten their lifespans.
By comparison, high-quality eco-friendly whiteboard coated walls are exceptionally smooth and durable, and unlike cork-covered tack boards, can be written and drawn on and easily erased for ten-plus years of normal use. Every square inch of wall space in your home office provides a chance for you to be creative and to encourage yourself and your virtual team members to engage in productive interactions and joint decision-making through the use of a whiteboard coated wall, which can also function as a working wall.
Another material used for making tack boards is fabric-backed vinyl. Although more durable than cork, this product is non-eco-friendly, as one of its major components is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is considered the most environmentally damaging form of plastic being produced today. The process of manufacturing vinyl has significant ecological impacts, as it involves producing the gas vinyl chloride, the building block of PVC, which is known to cause cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that containment of vinyl chloride at plants where it’s made is often inadequate, so the gas sometimes escapes into the surrounding air, water, and soil, causing a serious threat to plants, animals, and humans.
Also, because of the vinyl chloride and other ingredients used in its manufacture, vinyl emits hazardous volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) into the air for a period after installation. These toxic substances reduce the air quality in the immediate environment and can cause respiratory problems for those nearby. Thus, using a vinyl-covered tack board as a working wall can make the work-from-home office space a toxic environment, especially for those with sensitive respiratory systems.
Whiteboard walls eliminate the need to use strings for connecting items
With traditional working walls that consist of cork or vinyl tack boards, users in business offices, schools, police departments, and other settings typically pin or tack pieces of paper with relevant textual data, sketches, maps, and photos onto the walls. In this way, team members or students can see the various ideas, images, and bits of information involved in specific business projects, school lessons, criminal cases, and the like. Then pieces of string are often strung between the various items on the walls to show their interrelationships.
However, if a whiteboard wall is used as a working wall in the home office, there is no need to use pushpins and tacks to display items and strings to connect them. Instead, items can be hung on the wall through the use of GoodHangups, an innovative magnetic hanging system that may be used to post discussion topics, photos, maps, and other items relevant to a project being planned or executed. GoodHangups can be easily removed and reused, and they entail no drilling of holes into your wall. By using this unique system on a working whiteboard wall, you can fasten items in various places then use dry erase markers instead of string to make lines showing the connections among the items. In this way, you will avoid the hassle of having to stretch pieces of string between objects on your working wall and then having to remove and replace the strings when connections between objects change. Thus, with a whiteboard wall, each time a modification needs to be made, you can simply erase the lines you drew between items and draw new ones to reflect the new relationship.
The benefits of working whiteboard walls
The following are some of the many benefits offered by working whiteboard walls.
They provide a central reference point for presenting information. Considering the vast amount of data that emerge from team discussions during virtual meetings, it’s easy to lose track of what’s said. Thus, using a working whiteboard wall as an information hub for posting ideas, facts, and diagrams helps teams that work remotely to feel as engaged in and connected to a project as they would be in a regular office setting.
Working whiteboard walls also stimulate “outside the box” ways of thinking and thus help to generate new ideas. Coming up with innovations in project development is often challenging and requires inspiration, so you can use your wall to accelerate the ideation process, draw sketches, and create mockups that help team members make connections and produce breakthroughs.
Finally, the visual cues displayed on working whiteboard walls produce cross-contextual reminders about meaningful discussions, decisions, and thoughts that may jog the collective memory and keep you and your virtual colleagues interested and engaged in your work.