By Penketh Group Insights Team
2nd May 2019
Open plan workspaces have been a popular evolution for many businesses across a whole multitude of sectors over the past decade. Many have seen the benefits of breaking down enclosed offices and removing things like doors and wall dividers to improve collaboration, communication and overall wellbeing.
However, as more and more businesses make the transition into an open plan office, a handful of issues have begun to emerge. One of the most prominent problems to have arisen from these new open workspaces is the Privacy Crisis and a rise in visual and audible distraction.
Another downside of things like open plan office spaces, hot desking and agile working is a distinct lack of storage for personal belongings.
As workers become more nomadic and the dedicated desk is swapped for diverse work settings and non-assigned workstations, personal storage can be left hanging in the balance. As people move about the workplace more freely, dedicated personal spaces become less and less.
Similarly, as minimalist Scandinavian design continues to be a leading trend in both domestic and commercial interiors, storage facilities tend to suffer if not accommodated for effectively.
Of course, there are plenty of great office interior design and furniture solutions which can be strategically implemented to combat this issue. Office storage is more streamline, savvy and stylish than ever before so can often now go almost undetected.
So, let’s look at how you can solve the problem of personal storage in an open plan workspace…
New ways of thinking about office storage
New ways of working such as co-working, hot desking and activity-based work require new ways of storing personal belongings and addressing security of what is being stored.
So, if a workspace is to be user-focused and human-centric, storage needs to be prioritised alongside increased agility, flexibility and choice & control.
In order for this to work, business owners and designers now need to start thinking about commercial storage in new ways and abandoning the outdated and cumbersome products of the past.
Many traditional products such as pedestals, credenzas and lockers have been updated to meet the functional and aesthetic objectives of the modern working world. They are now more streamline and portable and can often be integrated as part of commercial furniture pieces.
Many locker systems have now been developed digitally to serve on an ad hoc basis by allocating via a smartphone, rather than assigning keys.
Make multifunctionality a priority
What we mean by this is opting for storage solutions which serve more than one purpose. Not only will this make for a value-engineered workspace design, it will also maximise use of space in an open plan office.
Bespoke Axiom modular storage units are a popular choice with our customers as they not only function as a ‘place to keep stuff’, they are also an effective way to divide space in a clean, modern way.
Here’s how we used Axiom in this way at the University of Manchester Innovation Centre:
The Spacestor Snugglestor (pictured below) is another popular office storage solution among our customers for its contemporary aesthetic and versatile usability. Most recently, we installed this product for Pure Business Group to provide:
- A number of secure personal storage lockers for staff
- A multifunctional space division solution to zone off different work settings
- An intimate breakout or meeting space for two people away from the desk
One more example:
Something like Sixteen3’s Calvert system provides buildable storage and display options, whilst also being easily adapted to suit small or large workspaces.
We recently implemented this versatile storage solution at Willson Grange’s new state-of-the-art headquarters in Liverpool where it is used to showcase awards but also configured to provide a semi-shielded meeting, breakout or collaboration space.
We even converted this adaptable and innovative product into a fully-functioning gin bar (complete with optics) at our Penketh Group Ladies Day celebration in our Manchester showroom last month!