Office Furniture: a Vision of the Future
The post-pandemic office remains a topic of much speculation. As we’ve adapted to working from home, visions of the office as it once was appear increasingly unrealistic. With many companies deciding to close workspaces and reduce physical locations, a dramatic, permanent change in working culture is expected. Businesses are now left with a responsibility not only to safeguard their employees but also to future-proof their offices in case of a similar event. Now competing with the comfort of the home environment, professional workplaces need to adapt their office set up or become a pre-pandemic phenomenon. This period represents a golden opportunity for businesses to reconfigure their workplaces around their employees. View are Post-pandemic Office Furniture.
We have become used to working individually. Research has shown that employees are concerned about their level of individual productivity upon returning to the office. As many people begin to stagger their move back into the office, it has become increasingly important to equip such locations with furniture that prioritises safety and promotes a productive office environment. Although some research has suggested that plastic panels made to delineate personal space may be effective in the short term, they remain too impersonal and reminiscent of the pandemic to be sustained long-term. Instead, larger workspaces with built in, stylish screens and divisions appear necessary both for safety and for aesthetic appeal. Individual office booths also offer the opportunity to conduct private calls or drown out the office noise. View are Office Pod and Booths.
Throughout the pandemic colleagues have learnt how to work collaboratively in remote locations. It is expected that many workplaces will allow employees to remain working remotely (or partially remotely) which has created a demand for greater connectivity within the workplace. Much research has shown that businesses will be expected to equip themselves with the necessary infrastructure to maintain this level of connectivity in order to include remote collaborators. For this reason, office furniture will need to offer more charging options, USB ports or more technologically sophisticated conference configurations. An increase in technology within the working environment is expected as office furniture adapts to include those outside of the office as well.
Whilst ensuring that digital connectivity is a priority, furniture also needs to be adaptable and adjustable to encompass a range of new working habits. From their time at home, employees have learnt to work in a way that suits them best and require a range of different office furniture and equipment to help them do so. Research has highlighted that office furniture is not expected to trend smaller or larger, but more adjustable. Modular furniture such as phone booths, modular meeting rooms, soft seating areas and modular desks represent an ideal solution. Such adaptable equipment reduces disturbance from calls (a form of communication expected to increase to include remote workers), allows for better one-on-one communication and can be customised to suit employees.
As the World Health Organisation deemed ‘workplace burn-out’ an ‘occupational phenomenon’, businesses have been encouraged to incorporate biophilic design into their workspaces. It is expected that an increase in ‘plant walls’, spaces for greenery and inbuilt plant-pots within office furniture. Wellbeing and aesthetic concerns are vital to enticing workers back into the office and businesses are challenged with creating an environment as comforting and productive as their employee’s homes.
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