Each passing year sees the emergence of new trends; office design is no different. As the setups of our workplaces have a major effect on how we're able to perform, the adoption of new design trends normally come about when new technologies or styles of working appear. Changing the office every few years to abide by these trends will be expensive and time-consuming but what if there was one trend that was flexible enough to meet the demands of the day? Modular design may just help.

What is modular office design?

The concept of modular design sees the coming together of various interior components to create a workplace that is cohesive and adaptable. These components may include items such as seating, tables, acoustic products or partition walls; all able to facilitate flexibility and multifunctional use.

A great comparison made by office designers is that modular design are like Lego bricks; you can connect them together, take them apart and repurpose them into something new. Each component of the office design should be able to fit in with the whole, and if anything needs to be changed (or customised), whether for the needs of the business or for the employee to complete a certain task, it is easy to change.

With such a level of flexibility and customisability,modular design is ideal for any business with expansion in mind. Instead of them changing offices every couple of years when the team outgrows its space,they can simply shift a few components around to meet the demand. With the modern workplace also recognising the need to give individual employees the freedom to work how they would like,modular design can also help them to take ownership of their spaces too.

How can my business benefit?

If you've been thinking about improving the effectiveness that your workplace has on your employees, aside from the customisation and malleability aspect, here the main benefits that modular office design can bring to the table (an adaptable table,obviously) :

  • Low cost. Whenever design trends shift or requirements change, a full fit out of furniture or an office refurbishment can be extremely expensive, not to mention time consuming. Modular design provides the opportunity for your business to refresh the look and functionalities of its workspace without having to risk finances or disruption to your operation.Not only that, but the repurposing of existing furniture and some of the design aspects will reduce material waste, making the office more eco-friendly.
  • Create a collaborative environment. With increased freedom to move about the office space, employees will be better able to interact with their fellows, sparking impromptu discussions and facilitating co-working. Not only could this help to improve productivity and quality of work but it will also help to create a genuine bond between workers, leading to a happy and content office.
  • Facilitate for ergonomics more effectively. Replacing a rigid structure with a modular office design can provide a wide range of settings that will cater to employees' different working modes,postures – and the usage of ergonomics.

Designing a modular office

So if you've established that a modular office design is for you, how do you go about planning for one? Here are some things to consider:

  • Include a diverse range of work settings.The great thing about modular design is that an untold number of different work settings can be catered from; anything from collaboration and social spaces, meeting and training rooms or private areas for focused work. Work out what you need and take full advantage of the diversity of modular design to achieve your aims.
  • Consider the acoustics. Whilst open office and modular work settings offer great benefits, a rise in noise levels provide a common disadvantage. By thinking about the areas that are likely to produce noise, and what acoustic solutions can help to minimise their impact, you can eliminate distractions, frustrations and breakdowns in communications.
  • Integrated technology within with workspace. Future office trends are likely to see the technology we use to be incorporated within our working space – literally.Consider which areas of the office will be better served by the installation of fixed audiovisual products, and which are better left as open spaces, allowing people to use the Wi-Fi and their own devices wherever they feel comfortable.
  • Always choose functionality. Whilst the breaking down of barriers to create an open space will allow for more collaboration, innovation and creativity, be mindful that any design decisions you make to create these spaces should serve a practical purpose. Remember that these spaces should be able to be repurposed, so any design that is purely an'office gimmick' will be difficult to remove/change in the future.
  • Remember to provide a great welcome. Whilst thinking about the effect that your modular office design has on employees, it's also important to think about the impression it has on any visitors you may play host to. Added to this, will be the reception area of your building; does it communicate your company's brand identity, generating that first impression that can so often be the difference in ensuring clients of the quality of service on offer?

Need to learn more about how modular design can help your business? Get in touch!

If you're interested in learning more about how your business could benefit from a fresh approach to the design of its workplace interiors, our expert office design team are on standby to offer their industry-leading advice. Please feel free to give them a call on 0345 21 86955 or send any questions you have by e-mail to hello@oaktreeoffice.com.

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