From Open to Flexible

Office Design Trends 2017 | Making your space work for you.

Part of the reason behind the rise to prominence of the open plan office was to do with cost. Open office plans resulted in leasing an overall smaller footprint, with employees’ room per square foot reduced to as little as 185 square feet from the average of 250 to 300 square feet. With business space often at a premium, reducing your square footage whilst maintaining your staff made for sound business investment – on paper.

In reality, workers didn’t find the open plan designs conducive to maximum productivity, with issues around noise, concentration levels, lack of personalisation and privacy being cited as the biggest bug-bears.

Moving Away From Uniform Cubicles

Employers and designers have begun to recognise these issues and the concept has evolved into something more intricate and informed than a simple, open plan office. Office design has moved from open to flexible.

There is still a case to be had for open plan office design – it can be beneficial for companies continuing to embrace the collaborative model – it’s just that it needs to be more thought through in the planning stages.

Through several businesses trailing various versions of the flexible open floor space, what has become clear is that to make it work for your staff it is essential to have a variety of spaces, from individual silent pods, to two-person quiet meetings, to cosy sofas, to large training, meeting rooms, to outside spaces.

Recognising Different Work Requirements

It is vital that you understand the different ways that groups and individuals work, both within their own departments and among others within the company. Creating a collaborative office requires a lot of planning, not just in where we place the office furniture or a simple case of “who gets to sit where.”

To ensure that the dynamics of the work force are at their best, you will need to locate complimentary departments next to each other and delve even deeper to ascertain individuals’ work personas and/or roles to ensure that you provide the right type of workstations suited for each worker’s needs.

The ‘flexible’ office space applies to the way that work-spaces are used and how they are physically designed. So, it makes economic sense to use office furniture, desks, and other installations that can be easily reorganised or reconfigured.

In summary, the best modern offices are flexible, adaptable, and are designed around the working requirements of those who regularly use them.

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