By Penketh Group Insights Team
17th February 2021
At one point in time, fixed furniture and permanent space configuration was the done thing when it came to office interior design and layout. As the world has modernised and the workforce has evolved with it though, most businesses these days now prefer to take a more fluid approach in order to facilitate more flexible ways of working and more choice and control for their employees.
Reconfigurable workspace design and modular furniture are by no means new concepts. In fact, we’ve been discussing their benefits for many years on the Penketh Group Knowledge Centre and with our customers. However, due to the changing landscape and the ‘new working normals’ that have emerged as a result of the COVID climate, adaptable interior design and reactive furniture solutions are now taking the forefront more than ever. It’s fair to say hyper-flexible working has been accelerated at an unprecedented rate.
In this blog post, we explore the benefits of taking this future-proof approach, to guide you in the right direction when it comes to tackling your next workspace transformation.
The Coronavirus crisis has taught us that you really do never know what’s right around the corner. No longer should we rest on our laurels and take for granted what we currently consider to be normality because the status quo can be disrupted at any given moment. One of the greatest lessons we can take from the pandemic is how important it is to remain flexible and responsive to change. In the context of workspace design and furniture, this means adopting a future-proof, forward-thinking attitude when it comes to making decisions about how the space will look, feel and function.
Social distance is the perfect example of this. For those offices with modular furniture, reconfiguring the space to allow for the advised division between people has been a far more simple task than for those with fixed furniture.
Expanding the lifespan of your office furniture
One of the other great things about modular furniture solutions is how they allow the user to significantly extend the lifespan of the product. Modular furniture is multi-functional by design, which means it can be scaled or re-shaped to fulfill a range of tasks and requirement. So, one family of seats or sofas could tick a number of boxes – as opposed to having to invest in individual products for specific functions.
Fostering a more inclusive workplace
As we covered in our Inclusive Workplaces: The Future of Office Design & Culture report, the modern workforce is forever diversifying. Teams are now made up of employees from all walks of life and various different abilities, which means the workspace needs to be able to make a diverse group of user feel comfortable, safe and able to participate equally. Fostering a reconfigurable and adaptive approach to office design will allow you to do this and enable you to quickly adapt to new or unforeseen factors.
For example: if a new employee is recruited who happens to be a wheelchair user, the workspace can be seamlessly shifted or rearranged to accommodate wider walkways or more spacious zoning.
Facilitating choice and control
We recently explored what it’s going to mean to attract and retain in 2021 and beyond. A large part of this is going to be about being equipped to allow staff choice, control and flexibility around where, when and how they work. A working environment which offers a diverse selection of settings, postures and technology will support this approach and appeal to the new and existing talent within your business.
The perfect approach if you’re downsizing
With remote working becoming more commonplace, many businesses are now considering the possibility of reducing their property portfolio in order to reduce costs and evolve with the demands of today’s workforce. Incorporating the flexibility and scalability that comes with having a reconfigurable space and modular furniture is a great way to make the most of the space you do have.
As we mentioned in our blog post about downsizing the office, when it comes to small spaces, it’s even more vital than ever that every single setting and resource is adding value.