Evidence is mixed as to whether open-plan offices foster collaboration or decrease productivity and employee wellbeing. The open plan office has been touted as “an oppressive environment which is destroying workplaces" according to Washington Post. A quick Google search finds hundreds of similar articles and testimonials depicting the open plan office with the spread of disease, ceaseless distractions and as mentioned in a Bloomberg article, employees who are “forced to listen to phone calls about the veterinary issues of your co-workers’ cats." So, what’s gone wrong? And what comes next?
In an ever-expanding world of advanced technology and gadgets, offline communication is still extremely important. Whether it’s 1 to 1 or a team huddle, engaging with your peers in a secluded and quiet space is integral to ensuring the human touch remains within the digital office, where emailing and instant messaging someone sat next you is becoming the norm.
Flexible spaces dividers are coming into vogue at a time when office surveys show workers are suffering from a lack of private space, creating an epidemic of overwhelm that is limiting their creativity and productivity in the workspace. Creatif have addressed some of these concerns with a range of products such as acoustic panels, rafts and baffles aimed at reducing background noise.
In reality, the office of the future looks a lot like an amalgamation of offices past with some important changes. The next-generation of office space combines 5 different spaces with quiet spaces, breakout spaces and open plan spaces all used in the right way where employees can concentrate, communicate and collaborate effectively. The hybrid office incorporates a range of spaces and gives employees autonomy to move to the spaces which best help them to do the task they have at hand.
Experienced from working with a number of organisations over the years, Creatif have realised that within a shared open area people need ways in which to carve out their own space. Adaptif moving walls are thus specifically designed to help people find privacy in busy environments - to create subtle space dividers which can positively affect the experience of employees in their working space. What’s more, moving walls can form the office landscape as a whole to allow people to come and go and have ultimately flexibility to arrange their space as they need to.
Nomadic office workers still need privacy, comfort, and a space to find their natural working rhythm just like a normal employee. Flexible division is the perfect way to reduce disruption in an open plan office. Creatif have pioneered Domino, a slim acoustic glass moving wall that encourages the flow of employees but can be turned to divide an area at a moment’s notice.
Implementing moveable elements within the office creates the perfect environment for agile working. When looking at flexible division, why not make the moving walls perform another function: can it be a whiteboard, so brain storming activities can happen at a moment’s notice? Absolutely. Can it have corporate branding on it? Of course. What about introducing biophilia, in the form of a moss wall that increases oxygen levels whichever way its facing? Definitely. Inspired by modernist architecture, the Adaptif range gives a sculptural abstract art feel which can open up a room or close off an area as needed.
If senior management are facing the war on talent and struggling to retain talent, then dynamic office design is one of the first places you should start. Dynamic, because it can constantly change and adapt to the various needs of the modern-day workforce.
There will be those professions where private offices are still needed, but again this can be approached in new and innovative ways. Instead of a static barrier, why not introduce straight sliding doors such as Linera. With the essence being simplicity, this minimalist panel can provide privacy in seconds, yet as soon as classified conversations are over then all it takes is a slide to re-open up the large space. With its acoustic properties, noise pollution is minimal.
In learning about the 5 spaces for business success we know that designated areas help illicit specific work productivity. In smaller offices, this can be harder to achieve which is why multifunctional spaces that can quickly and easily be combined are the solution. Large scale conference? Structural constraints are no more if you use sliding folding walls. Including integral pass doors, ZigZag sliding walls are ideal for breakout, touchdown or quiet spaces. Last minute conference meeting with clients? Slide back the walls to transform the area in to a meeting space.
The key point in all of this is flexibility: in furniture, design, materials, acoustic components, functionality, space requirements and above all flexibility in who needs what. It seems as though the open plan office isn’t going anywhere any time soon, so regardless of your outlook on its effect on productivity, you still have choice as to how open plan offices maximise the most of their space.
For further inspiration on flexible dividers, check out the latest projects or get in touch with Creatif directly on 0113 270 1239. With comprehensive knowledge and vast experience working with a range of clients, Creatif are the experts on how to best utilise the areas in your work space.