Flexibility has been trending upwards over the last decade when it comes to interior office design, and there’s no signs of stopping as we enter 2024. What, exactly, is flexibility, though? How can it be defined? In truth, it’s a rather blanket term meant to encompass a wide range of ideas and concepts, but it’s not difficult to narrow them down for a particular office space.
If you’re thinking of upgrading your existing workplace in 2024, or you’re starting a new business from scratch, you’ll want to understand the role that flexibility plays in office design. You’ll understand how to properly apply this design mantra to maximize the efficiency of your office, while making your employees that much happier in the process.
AGILITY EQUALS EFFICIENCY
Office layouts are becoming more agile, especially as the overall design concept continues to evolve into 2024. This approach allows for easy reconfiguration of offices based on the specific tasks at hand at any given time. This can include the implementation of flexible furniture setups, modular workstations and hot-desking, and movable partitions that enable your workers to quickly adapt the workspace to suit individual, or team-based needs. Agility creates a sense of dynamic flexibility inside the office, spurring efficiency forward.
HOT-DESKING MAKES TEAMS MORE FLEXIBLE
The concept of hot-desking, where employees can choose from a pool of unassigned desks, has picked up significant pace ever since the Covid-19 pandemic came and went. During the height of that particular crisis, many employees opted to work remotely from home, leading to many unfilled seats at the main office. To compensate, companies began downsizing their desking arrangements in favor of hot-desking, allowing employees to work at any desk they’d like, at different times of the day. This was especially handy for hybrid workers who came into the office once or twice a week.
Hoteling, on the other hand, is where workspaces are reserved and deployed as needed. This approach optimizes space utilization, reduces real estate costs, and encourages a more fluid and collaborative work environment. Both of these models are expected to retain their popularity into 2024, especially given the business world’s newfound embracing and adoption of remote and hybrid work styles, which are considered a hiring plus.
ACTIVITY-BASED WORK ZONES
Companies have spent over a decade trying to figure out just the right balance when it comes to the open office work model. One of the adaptations devised to counter some of the negative effects of the open office environment are activity-based work zones, each one tailored to specific tasks and/or work styles.
The premise is rather simple – quiet zones for employees requiring focus in order to work efficiently, collaborative spaces for larger team projects, and relaxation areas that double as zones employees can retreat to to complete their tasks in a fresh new environment. This approach is unique in that it recognizes the fact that different tasks require different settings, while empowering staff to choose spaces that help keep the work day fresh and invigorating.
Advanced technology is a crucial part of flexibility as it pertains to office design. As said technology continues to evolve by leaps and bounds, so too do businesses incorporate it into their workspaces, year over year. The use of IoT-enabled furniture, smart room scheduling systems and digital collaboration tools help enhance the efficiency of a flexible workspace, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Expect AI infusion to play an increasing role in every facet of an office, including overall design. 2024 may be the year when a trend of AI adoption begins to take root not just with data infrastructure and processing, but the implementation of AI tech throughout the physical office. At the very least, it will lay the groundwork for future AI technologies such as robotics. Currently, AI is helping out remote teams in a big way by organizing resources and speeding up file transfers, boosting overall efficiency of workers, wherever they may be located.
While it’s never wise to give employees ultimate power over a workplace, the simple truth is that allowing them a generous degree of autonomy can yield wonderful results. Naturally, this comes with some caveats, including the need to lay down a few ground rules to make sure workers are staying focused on tasks, but employees gifted with the power of choice tend to feel much more satisfied with their jobs, and willing to work harder. It also fosters a sense of pride and confidence in workers by showing them that they are trusted to handle work off leash, which is important for building a good relationship between worker and management.
Yes, flexibility is quite important in 2024 office design trends, and perhaps one of the most crucial of all. Knowing when, how, and where to implement flexibility in your workplace is the first step towards boosting the potential of your employee workforce, which will have positive impacts on your company’s growth and bottom line. What if you’re not sure where to start, though?
Thankfully, Sensyst is here to help. As always, we remain at the forefront of office design trends large and small, and we recognize the importance of flexibility to create a well-functioning workplace. Contact us to set up an appointment so we can do a deep dive into your office particulars, and create a strategy that will make your workplace flexible, and powerful.