Why flexibility is the new watchword in office design / by Logan Lenz

Rows of characterless cubicles may have been commonplace in offices around the world for many years, but times are changing. Employers are increasingly switching onto the benefits of designing more flexible workspaces. By creating different zones for people to use and generally offering personnel a more varied and adaptable office, companies can reap a range of rewards. Here are just a few of the reasons why flexibility is the new watchword in office design.

Giving workers greater freedom

Sometimes, employees may need to focus on demanding tasks, meaning they require a quiet, private and peaceful workstation that promotes concentration. At other times, they might want to be in a more frenetic environment where they can speak freely to colleagues without feeling self-conscious or inhibited.

By being savvy with their workspace design, bosses can ensure their staff members always have somewhere suitable to get on with their tasks. They can provide their workers with mobile technology to give them the physical freedom they need to move around and they can focus on creating specially adapted areas within their offices that are suited to specific tasks. For example, they could use sleek, attractive desks, executive chairs and calming décor to create a zone that promotes quiet work and concentration. Separately, they could design a more sociable area complete with fun and quirky breakout furnishings. If you’re on the lookout for furniture and accessories to create different zones within your office, whether you’re searching for colourful modular seats, sleek glass desks or anything else, you can get inspiration in specialist magazines or blogs, or you could visit specialist websites like www.calibre-furniture.co.uk.

Promoting collaboration

Structured discussions that take place in designated meeting areas can play an important role in business operations. However, it’s important to provide workers with the chance to have informal meetings too. Highlighting this fact, a study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that up to 80 per cent of the best business ideas come from casual and even chance encounters between colleagues. By creating a more flexible workspace complete with breakout areas, firms stand to increase creativity and promote collaboration.

Striking a balance between work and play

Forward looking firms are also starting to blur the lines between work and play. To give their employees a chance to unwind and relax while on their breaks, many companies now provide special games areas where people can do anything from play computer consoles or watch their favourite TV shows to test their skills at table tennis. These spaces can encourage colleagues to bond and, by giving them a better chance to de-stress during the working day, they can boost morale and even raise productivity.

Given the myriad advantages associated with creating a flexible, multi-purpose working environment, it seems like the days of stuffy, samey offices may be numbered.