ENHANCING FUNCTIONALITY AND COLLABORATION
When it comes to desk design ideas, bulky furniture and equipment has been rendered obsolete thanks to the emergence of cloud-based technologies. Indeed, the modern worker only needs one connected device to do their job, so the workplace needs to keep pace with that change. The days of banks of desktop computers are long gone, and similarly there is no need for landline telephones. Instead canny designers can make the most of the space the clear-out frees up and promote office storage solutions and desk space ideas while persuading business leaders to invest in game-changing furniture.
The latest workplace furniture discreetly integrates technology to enhance functionality, productivity and collaboration. Designers also acknowledge the need to accommodate different ways of working while accepting technology will continue to transform the modern office. Adaptability is crucial as the workplace is in flux – every aspect of an office design should aim to be evolvable, and future-proof to a degree.
Standup desks, meeting pods, bleacher seating areas and so on are all innovations driven by the need for flexibility. Expect comfort, personalisation and custom office furniture design to become even more important factors as the influences of domestic and hospitality design collide to become the workplace norm.
One-on-one meeting booths at Mindspace Appold Street
Business leaders are being encouraged to make the most of the big opportunity for smart furniture and designer work desks that incorporating sensors to track worker behaviour and environmental conditions for a holistic view of how the environment is affecting use. Through data analytics this will optimise spatial utilisation, social interactions and productivity.
There has been much excitement in 2019 about the advent of the fifth generation of mobile network technology. Experts are lining up to inform us that 5G will power the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution. Given that real estate is becoming ever more connected, it follows that smart office furniture will follow, and be hugely important as businesses seek to enable their staff to be more creative and productive through better harnessing data.
Imagine the ability for your furniture to respond to an individual’s requirements automatically, plus be centrally controlled to record data that will contribute towards a seamless workplace. Those who embrace technology, empower staff, and drive production and innovation with data-driven decisions will have a significant business advantage.
The 21st century workplace trend for sustainable materials in general, and biophilia – the human “urge to affiliate with other forms of life” – specifically, continues to flourish. These days, however, it is not good enough for furniture to simply contain recycled materials; it must have the ability to be easily recycled, reused or repurposed.
A complete life cycle approach to design, material choice and manufacturing process should inform products that can be used today and in many different ways in the future.
Additionally, furniture with integrated opportunities for planting to increase the presence of nature in internal environments is becoming essential. There are many benefits that sprout from biophilia – namely boosting focus and productivity, and helping to spark creativity while lowering stress hormones and blood pressure. Natural light, greenery and bringing the great outdoors inside the workplace have become staple choices for office designers.
The combination of natural light and flora is used to beautiful effect in the SLG Cheltenham office
CREATE THE THIRD SPACE
Until a decade ago, traditional office design followed a dog-eared blueprint of a shared workspace and enclosed meeting rooms. Suddenly, there was an accent on home-like comfort accompanied by the rise of the so-called third space: break-out areas used for brainstorming sessions, or supposedly more casual interactions. There was a demand for office furniture ideas for small spaces.
A range of furniture has been launched to create these distinct breakout points and indicate that they are different and separate from the primary workspace. Let’s face it: the blend of work-live-play is here to stay, and as we spend more time in the office than at home it makes good business sense to invest in third space furniture that encourages interactions – serendipitous or otherwise – that will spark creativity.
Going against the stereotypes, the hallmark of a successful modern office is not a beanbag or a ping-pong table; it is larger, more comfortable chairs, and low-set coffee tables that are perfect for short get-togethers that require staff to engage in group discussion.
For those keen on Scandinavian office design furniture, check out Stockholm-based Form Us With Love’s Torno Collection series of chairs and tables to open up conversations in a workplace. The seats enable people to sit in a number of positions, and not just straight on. Additionally, the pieces are lightweight, and able to be moved with ease, meaning informal meeting spaces can be instantly created – perfect office break-out furniture.
Who doesn’t love elegant and practical Scandi style desk furniture? For more office chair design ideas, look no further than the Studio Chair Series by Danish designer Simon Legald for Normann Copenhagen. Inspired by traditional French factory chairs, they are easily stacked, meaning they can be used in different types of setting.
A range of seating and working options on display at the Worklife Clerkenwell office
FURNITURE ENCOURAGING WELLNESS AND MOVEMENT
Last but possibly most important is the need for ergonomically designed furniture. The latest statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a government agency, showed that in a 12-month period between 2017 and 2018 some 30.7 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health (26.8 million) and non-fatal workplace injuries (3.9 million) in the United Kingdom. Modern desk design can help motivate and move the workforce.
Flexible seating and relaxation pods at Mitie