Adaptable Workspaces to Meet Changing Needs
There is only one constant in life, which is change. This applies to business as much as to any other area of life, which is why employers in the 21st century need to provide workspaces that can be easily adapted to meet the changing needs of the company and its workforce. A complete office refurbishment may be desirable at certain times in a company’s existence but to have to embark on such disruptive projects on an annual basis would be both prohibitively expensive and damaging to productivity. Designing a space that can evolve and adapt to the changing needs of its occupants, on the other hand, will ensure that employees remain productive and refurbishments only need to be carried out on an occasional basis.
Considering the Future
While it is not possible to anticipate every detail of a company’s future, most commercial enterprises have a road map in place that they intend to follow. Such maps can provide commercial office refurbishment specialists with vital design cues, helping them to create a workspace that will serve the needs of the company in question for many years to come. Some of the factors that need to be taken into account when designing an adaptable workspace include:
- Employee Numbers – It is very difficult for a firm to say with any degree of certainty how many employees they may need in the future but it should be possible to predict rough numbers, which can be used as a starting point for an adaptable office layout. A large deviation from these numbers may require a move or a major rethink at some point but assuming that no such deviation occurs, adaptation and evolution, rather than major office refurbishments, should be enough to ensure that the corporate workspace remains functional and does not inhibit productivity or creativity.
- Collaboration – Over the last few years, one of the most enduring trends influencing office refurbishment in London and other parts of the country has been the demand for collaborative workspaces. Companies that wish to maximise productivity and creativity in the workplace understand the need for spaces that are designed to encourage collaboration between employees. Because the teams formed by groups of workers in a collaborative environment are likely to change in size and composition on a regular basis, the workspace they occupy needs to be highly adaptable. A design and layout that can be quickly adapted to meet the requirements of numerous task forces, which are in a state of constant flux, is vital in such an environment.
- Change of Use – It is not easy to design a workspace that can be adapted to meet a completely different set of needs at a moment’s notice but if you are aware of what these needs might be, it is far from impossible. Simply rearranging the furniture in a sales office, for example, could turn it into a temporary training centre, assuming that it was already fitted with the necessary audio-visual equipment and space was not a limitation. One of the best ways to ensure that a change of use can be accommodated is to assign 2 functions to each area in a workspace. That is to say, each area will be designed in such a way as to ensure it can be adapted to suit another function entirely. This will not give you unlimited freedom but will guarantee a much greater degree of flexibility than is inherent in most UK workspace designs.
- Individual Creative Spaces – No matter how keen a company may be to foster a collaborative atmosphere in the workplace, there are times when individuals require a private space in which they can focus on using their creative talents. This is something the ubiquitous open plan office space does not take into account, often to the detriment of the companies whose employees occupy such spaces. As specialist office refurbishments companies across the globe already know, there is a growing demand for smaller spaces that can accommodate the requirements of the lone creator, within a wider open plan design. The use of simple room dividers, which can be moved elsewhere or put into storage in a matter of minutes, can help firms to provide smaller spaces when they are needed, without having to constantly redesign and refurbish the entire workspace that they occupy.
- Climate Control – One difficulty that an adaptable workspace needs to overcome is how to ensure all areas can be kept at a comfortable temperature throughout the year, even when the shape and size of these areas may be constantly changing. Whether you hire a London office refurbishment company to design and fit out your workspace, or a firm from elsewhere in the country, you need to make sure they have the necessary HVAC expertise to overcome such issues in an elegant and cost-effective manner. The flow of air throughout the space as a whole, and the individual pockets that may disrupt this flow at times, both need to be taken into account when deciding on the placement of air-conditioning and heating units in an adaptable workspace.
Approaching the Design of an Adaptable Workspace for the First Time
In order to make full use of an adaptable workspace, it is necessary to make certain changes in the way that a workforce functions on a daily basis. Continuing with the same work practices that have been in place for many years will almost certainly limit the use of a space that can evolve and adapt to meet changing requirements, which would negate the benefits such spaces have to offer. Any firm that wishes to reap the rewards adaptable spaces have to offer should prepare for a certain degree of change.
Hiring the services of a firm that specialises in office refurbishment in Kent, or wherever your company is based, will make the process of change far easier to handle. If you choose to work with a firm such as Saracen Interiors, you can look forward to expert advice and assistance from the planning stage, all the way through to the implementation of your adaptable workspace and beyond