Workspace in 2022
When you think about improving the performance of your people this year, the environment they work in is probably high on your list. But with so much change and uncertainty at the moment, it is difficult. Justifying a big investment in your office is tough when your requirements may change completely within months.
In response to this situation, we have developed FluidSpace™. This adaptable design concept means your company can invest in a great workspace for your people – with much less risk. Over the last few months, we’ve applied this concept at numerous companies. This has helped them to boost staff performance both now and in the future.
But what actually is FluidSpace™? How is it different from traditional fit out? And which is better for you? Read on to find out!
FluidSpace™ vs Fit Out – What's The Difference?
First, it’s important to understand the difference between FluidSpace™ and traditional fit out. Ultimately, both solutions aim to make your workspace meet the needs of you and your people. The way they go about this, though, is different.
Fit out is a well-known and well-established process. It’s the process of making an interior space usable for its occupants. Typically carried out when a company relocates or opens a new office, it takes the space from a bare shell to a ready-to-use environment.
Fit out involves a large scope of work. Category A fit out is the installation of essential utilities within a workspace. This includes raised access flooring, suspended ceilings, and lighting. Category B fit out involves utility adaptions, partitioning, flooring, decoration, branding, kitchen areas, and of course furniture.
FluidSpace™, on the other hand, is a design concept. We have developed FluidSpace to solve many of the problems that companies face when doing a traditional design and build project. It uses modular and zoning furniture to create rooms and zones.
FluidSpace™ does not completely replace fit out. Category A fit out will still be required. Elements of Category B fit out will also be needed, such as flooring and tea points. However, using pods and zoning furniture replaces the need for partitions and reduces the need for utility adaptations. This has massive implications for the design of your office.
Benefits of FluidSpace™
The key advantage of FluidSpace™ over design and build is the unparalleled flexibility it offers. Stripping out and replacing partitions is very disruptive. Moreover, it creates the need for a lot of other works, including decoration and patching flooring. Often, partitioning will also require relocating electrical and air conditioning equipment. This can be very time-consuming and expensive.
With FluidSpace™, your entire workspace becomes modular. You can reconfigure it regularly to adapt to your changing needs. This is especially valuable given the current uncertainty. The Great Resignation, changing staff priorities and the threat of future variants make it very risky to commit to an office design that is costly and difficult to change.
FluidSpace™ gives you the confidence and adaptability you need to invest in a great space for your people. Your entire workspace could be entire re-arranged in as little as a weekend.
FluidSpace™ is also much easier to implement in a sustainable way. Traditional fit out materials such as plasterboard and aluminium are very difficult to source sustainably. Huge amounts of these materials are sent to landfill during refurbishment and fit out projects. By utilising furniture to create zones and spaces, FluidSpace™ eliminates the need to strip out partitions when renovating workspace.
While it may seem that FluidSpace™ is expensive to implement, it is very cost-effective over the course of a 5-year lease term. Your entire workspace can be reconfigured multiple times without having to buy any more furniture. Adapting a traditional design and build project at a later date can be costly and distracting.
A large proportion of the costs in a traditional workspace fit-out project are often the mechanical & electrical section. HVAC, lighting, and fire services all must be modified and extended to suit the layout and meet Building Regulations. By using storage and acoustic pods to create different spaces, many of these costs are no longer necessary. This saves both time and money during the construction phase.
From a tax perspective, this is also very efficient. As furniture is considered for capital allowance purposes as plant and machinery, it qualifies for AIA (Annual Investment Allowance) and can be taken off profits before tax is calculated. This creates savings of up to 25% for your project!
Benefits of Design and Build
There are, however, advantages of design and build over traditional fit out. FluidSpace™ alone won’t take your building from shell and core to finished space. Some elements of fit out will likely be required, including tea points, flooring and decoration. You will probably also need to adapt sprinklers, HVAC and electrics for the initial installation of FluidSpace™.
Traditional fit out is also more customisable than FluidSpace™. While there are many options, FluidSpace™ is ultimately a range of products. The fabrics and finishes are customisable, but your control over the structural design is limited. Aside from colours, branding is also limited with furniture, especially for logo design.
While sustainability is easier with FluidSpace™ designs, it is still possible with traditional fit out. Many components can be sourced sustainably and recycled components can be used throughout. These designs tend to feature more wood and natural materials, which come with the added benefits of highly biophilic designs.
Design and build projects tend to have better privacy than FluidSpace™ designs. Office pods are a key feature of FluidSpace™, but these aren’t practical for large spaces like boardrooms. Zoning furniture rarely provides a complete barrier between different zones, meaning that noise from collaborative areas could filter throughout the office.
For companies requiring many individual offices and/ or a corporate design scheme, FluidSpace™ is less likely to be an option. If you have many senior staff that require their own permanent space, pods are unlikely to be practical. The products used in FluidSpace™ tend to be modern, with modern design features that might look out of place in a traditional setting.
Which type of Fit Out is Best for Me?
While there is no one correct answer to the “which is best” question, there are a few key points that can help you to decide which is the best for you.
If you are prepared to invest in the wellbeing and performance of your people but are concerned about the current uncertainty, then FluidSpace™ is a great option. You can create a workplace that enables your people to perform at their best. The modular design enables it to be adapted should your needs change in future. If you are confident about the way your people will use your office over the coming years and/ or have a more corporate image, this may not be the best option for you.
If you want to know more about FluidSpace, download our free FluidSpace™ guide - a lookbook to give some inspiration on how to create a flexible and agile workspace without building walls. If traditional fit out is more appropriate for you, visit our Workspace Design page to learn more.