The Changing Role Of the Office
Hybrid working had been a nascent trend for years leading up to 2020, but its meteoric rise toward the end of last year rendered many London workspaces completely obsolete in a matter of weeks. Traditional office designs featured a lot of fixed partitioning, rows upon rows of desks, (various size) boardrooms, and often a distinct breakout space. However, with staff now doing much of their individual work from home, so many desks have become unnecessary. Having learned to interact via platforms such as zoom, teams no longer need to be in the same room for formal and structured meetings. The comfort and personalisation of their own living space meant they could relax much better while working from home.
The crucial ability that remote teams lacked, however, was not available in the office. Amid such widespread isolation, teams craved interpersonal collaboration and connection between each other, but many offices didn’t (and still don't) have adequate collaborative facilities.
As companies look beyond the immediate return to the office and start to consider longer-term workspace strategy, it is clear that the workspace must adapt to its new purpose as a collaborative hub where staff and clients come to interact and connect in a way that they cannot virtually. It is also obvious that to best suit the ever-changing needs of your people, your office needs to be adaptable to give your people the perfect environment every moment of their working day.
What is Modular Office Design?
Against this backdrop, modular office design has emerged as a cost-effective and high-quality way of making sure your people have all that they need to perform, both now and in an uncertain future. By utilising furniture to create rooms and zones rather than traditional methods of fit-out such as partitions, it allows for maximum flexibility – new zones and rooms can be established without the need for disruptive and expensive construction works.
This means that as your team grows and the way your people use your space changes, you can easily repurpose your office so that it always matches their needs. With companies now recognising the productive benefits of giving individual employees control of their office, modular office design can allow them to take ownership of their spaces too. Customisable elements can even give your people the ability to reshuffle the space around them so that they can work in an environment that maximises their productivity at every moment.
Benefits of Modular Office Design
While the possibilities and effects of modular office design are different for every company, there are significant benefits to adopting this design concept, from cost savings to increased flexibility and agility.
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 zoning furniture, storage and acoustic pods to create different spaces, many of these costs are no longer necessary, saving both time and money compared to construction.
Another large section of costs in a fit-out project is internal partitions and joinery. By opting for acoustic pods or curtains to create different zones or rooms, these costs can be exchanged for a much more flexible alternative.
An often-hidden cost of office fit-out is dilapidations – an agreement many companies have with their landlords to return the space to its original state at the end of the lease term. These costs can severely reduce the budget for a new workspace, as well as creating a lot of landfill waste. Modular furniture means your workspace can expand, shrink, or even relocate with you!
Furniture is much easier to reconfigure and relocate, compared with traditional construction. With many solutions being partially or wholly modular, your workspace could be entirely rearranged in as little as a weekend.
From a financial 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.
Modular Design in Your Office
The days of an office worker having a choice of a desk or a meeting room are over. A variety of modular furniture is essential to ensure that all your people have an environment that enables them to do their best work all day, every day. Over the last few years, the range of modular and customizable office furniture has gone from an expensive niche to a cost-effective mainstream option. Some of our favourites are:
Away From The Desk is a soft upholstery system designed to answer the rapidly changing needs of the workplace as we migrate away from personal desks with their fixed and tethered technology towards shared, collaborative spaces and furniture.
The Platforms range is a collection of simple and flexible 2-tier auditorium seating modules which can be configured in a multitude of ways to create environments for education and presenting. A range of configurations mean you can create your ideal learning space.
The Hush family of pods offers stylish design, excellent acoustics, and a high degree of customisability. Personal pods such as the Hush Phone and Hush Work are the perfect solution for phone calls, video conversations or highly focused work. Hush is a modular system of pods that allows you to create a space that suits your individual needs.
Constructif creates zones for living, working, collaborating, and relaxing. In today’s multifunctional and everchanging workplace, fixed walls are a constraint and partitions are quite literally barriers to collaboration.
Campers & Dens is not just a pod system but a change in built environment interior architecture. This highly customisable family of pods, awnings, and furniture is a unique demountable system that can be relocated and reconfigured to suit an organisation’s changing needs.
FluidSpace – The Ultimate Modular Office
FluidSpace™ is the modular office taken to the next level - a workplace concept that we have developed in response to the way working patterns have changed over the last year.
With many organisations unsure of how their real estate portfolios will look in 12-24 months’ time, we have developed FluidSpace™ as a means of ensuring that companies have the flexibility and confidence to create exceptional workspaces for their people. It does exactly what it says – it creates agile, flexible workspaces that can be quickly and cost-effectively reconfigured to meet the changing demands of organisations.