Office Interiors: Top 5 Questions for achieving a successful hybrid workplace
Our team got together recently to review some of the most frequently asked questions from our clients and collated the most common FAQs asked of us and the answers or solutions to each of those. Each and every project we work on is different as it is driven by each client’s specific requirements and we tailor our solutions to ensure the key criteria we identify with our clients is matched with suitable workplace solutions. However, in recent times we have noted that the vast majority of our clients are seeking advice on how we would recommend to best tailor their workplace to facilitate the new hybrid way of working. We are collaborators, designers, problem solvers and solution providers and today we want to share those ‘Aha’ moments with you.
Q1: What are other companies doing to encourage employees back into the office?
How to make your office a welcoming environment
We have written many different articles on the approaches our clients are taking in terms of welcoming their teams back to the office after a prolonged period of working from home. If you are interested, those articles can be viewed here.
A1: Adopting some of the most successful design qualities of remote working
Companies recognise that hybrid is here to stay, and the focus is predominantly on how to ensure this is a transparent and effective working model. As part of this, our clients have been looking at ways to create a more relaxed environment, where communication and collaboration are central to office design, layout and as a result, a company’s culture. Central points of focus for this new way of working have included:
- Opting for open desk policy – flexibility of movement
- Reducing the number of desks – changing the layout to encourage more open communications, collaboration, and a more informal setting
- Swapping desk space for informal, formal team huddles and meeting spaces
- Focussing on collaboration and break out areas for enhanced communication, collaboration, internal networking and much more
Q2: What are other companies doing when introducing a hybrid solution?
Seamless management of your new hybrid workspace and your hybrid workforce
Seamless management of a team that ebbs and flows throughout the week relies on simple, but very effective processes that help you manage occupancy, manage meeting spaces, manage the use of your building, monitor health and safety, housekeeping, address catering needs and much more.
A2: Removing the manual processes of utilising building and office capacity by implementing a simple and intuitive booking system is the most efficient way forward.
One of the most effective solutions in use is a desk and meeting room booking solution such our preferred partner, Gobright . This cloud-based smart software solution for desk, room booking, and visitor management tools is easy to use. The software can also be adapted to integrate into smart lockers for personal storage, car spaces and has various other uses to help maximise building optimisation and ultimately improve visibility irrespective of whether you operate a dedicated or hot desk system in your office given the vast majority of employees will now be working from two, if not multiple locations.
With a desk and room booking solution desks and meeting rooms can be booked in advance online of via a handy little app for the required days and times, thus ensuring a space for everyone on any given day.
Q3: What types of furniture are companies investing in at present?
How do you address your new hybrid floor layout? Use existing furniture? Buy new? Do Both?
The general consensus tends to be that people return into the office to meet with colleagues, attend meetings and collaborate with their team, and continue with focused or desk-based tasks on the days where they work from home or remotely. As a result, we are seeing a large quantity of clients pare back on dedicated desk space in favour of break out spaces, collaborative and informal meeting spaces. There is definitely the opportunity to be sustainable in your approach and use existing pieces of furniture in conjunction with new, where the requirement arises. Desks are definitely still a key feature of the workspace, height adjustable workstations are becoming more and more the norm or a dedicated, “bookable” area of height-adjustable workstations is a popular solution too.
Privacy booths have become a very popular solution for facilitating a range of uses such as private phone calls, confidential meetings where privacy is paramount, video-conferencing meetings to ensure minimal distraction and disruption, small team meetings for focused learning, the list is endless.
For those who have become accustomed to a quieter environment (such as their spare room at home!), privacy booths like our range from Framery is our preferred privacy booth solutions for its acoustic performance and quality of design and aesthetic.
Meeting pods can be used effectively to eliminate distractions and increase productivity, meaning they are actively used.
Collaboration and breakout spaces deliver the best outcomes when they are designed with a comfortable, relaxing vibe in mind. Successful collaboration comes when those working together feel at one, not under pressure, and comfortable to speak freely and connect with their teammates.
For that reason, we encourage the use of furniture and technology specific to those areas such as:
- Armchairs & sofas
- Coffee dock seating such as tall tables and stools
- Video Conferencing solutions
What is most important in your choice of interior furnishing for your office is the provision of clear direction for employees when they come into the office, in that they will know what each designated space is designed for, for example, focused work, informal meetings, break out spaces, formal meetings, quiet spaces and so on. Defining areas in the workspace with divider units, such as the Palisades Grid by Spacestor has become common practice, removing the need to build walls.
Q4: Are privacy booths soundproof?
A4: There is a clear and incredibly important distinction between soundproofing and acoustic management.
Privacy booths are designed to eliminate the noise caused by speech in a normal office environment and for the needs of safety there is ISO23351-1 standard for measuring the sound insulation of pods, therefore we recommend that all pods are compared on the presence of this standard.
It is important that when in use, those in the booth must be able to hear a fire alarm in the building should one be activated. The important measurable as far as a meeting pod is concerned is the rating of the Pod as a whole, not different components within.
Q5: Do you help with office re-configurations?
End to end and everything in between
A5: Absolutely! We offer a wide range of services within our Interiors team, re-configurations are part of this.
Whether you are looking to repurpose your existing furniture and floor plan or want to reduce the number of desks and remove the occasional wall, we can help with all of that.
Our in-house CAD team deliver space planning services suppling you with complimentary 2D layouts and 3D renders to help you visualise your re-configured space.
For those clients who are really taking it back to a blank canvas, we are in a unique position as a company to encompass all aspects of your needs from design, to planning and installation of all aspects of your interiors needs including furniture, biophilia, storage, workplace technology such as AV and VC and also GoBright room and space booking software.
Our commitment to sustainability and our carbon footprint ensures that we strip desks systems to their component parts and recycle both steel and wood in recycling facilities here in Dublin and Co Wicklow.
If you are interested to learn more about these 5 most common questions or maybe you have some specific questions for your company’s requirements, contact our team at any time via email or telephone 01 217 8000