It wasn’t long ago that Office Furniture meant mainly chairs and desks, and Soft Seating simply meant a few sofas for the office reception or breakout areas. Wow – how things have changed! Today we’re mainly talking about Flexible Work Spaces, Collaborative Working, Informal Meeting Areas and Quiet Work Space – all of which have given rise to a different type of Soft Furniture which offers so much more than traditional soft seating and has become a key consideration in office space design.
The office is fast becoming far less focused on desking, which has given way to the need for Flexible Space with Soft Furniture and Acoustic Furniture providing an extremely comfortable, practical and much more friendly environment for our new working habits.
Here at Octopus we offer a well balanced range of inexpensive yet beautifully crafted, comfortable and sturdy products aimed at providing a multitude of versatile solutions for both the smaller office and large corporate HQ alike….read on
Our working habits have changed. No longer do we all work from the office every day. Many still do, but whether we do or not, we don’t necessarily need to, nor want to work at a desk all the time. Now that we all have laptops, iPads, mobile phones and mobile data, work can be conducted from pretty much anywhere, including a comfortable lounge chair or acoustic meeting pod. Because of this, we’re seeing the face of the office change dramatically. They’re becoming friendlier, more homely places and much more drop-in drop-out café style with less space allocated to desks and more set aside for comfortable & less formal soft furniture and touch down tables. Those desks that do remain are often assigned as ‘Hot-Desks’ with no individual ownership, and increasingly these are being changed out for ergonomic Sit-Stand desks as they become more affordable.
The manufacturer we partner with is Europe’s ‘go-to’ designer-producer and is leading the way by understanding the ever changing office working practices and designing innovative and practical products to facilitate these moves. As an end-user supplier we ensure that we have the tools and products to help you create the perfect office environment – at a very affordable price.
Office occupancy, particularly in Central London, requires a very significant financial outlay and one that most businesses typically commit to for 5 years at a time, so getting the most out of the space and building in flexibility for change during that period is rather important.
The two major factors are; how staffing levels might change during the lifetime of the lease and how working practices might alter during the same period. By far the biggest inflexible ‘space grabber’ is the floor to ceiling partitioned office and meeting room. Of course, most businesses have a genuine need for one or more meeting rooms for client meetings, board meetings and other situations that require sound and/or visual privacy from the general office and the same can apply to offices for the company executives. But, not only are these rooms expensive to build (and to take down again at the end of the lease by the way!), once they’re up they’re up and whatever floor space they occupy is fixed for the duration. Now consider the typical office with a boardroom big enough for large meetings, but very rarely, if ever, is it used to its full capacity. More likely it’s used for small 2 or 3 person meetings or even just one person trying to conduct a telephone conversation in private away from the bustle of the office. In the meantime, other colleagues are crying out for somewhere to have their own meetings or quiet time but to no avail. So you see, the cellular meeting room (and executive office) are fixed, inflexible spaces, much of the time wasting vast amounts of valuable floor space that could otherwise be used for additional meeting spaces.
So, how do we create flexible space? One way is to create one very large room with a series of room dividing Bi-Folding Moving walls that can be opened or closed off to create multiple private rooms of different sizes dependent on the immediate requirement. Used in conjunction with folding conference tables this is an excellent way to create flexible meeting space but it can get very expensive, and it still doesn’t usually fully optimise the available space. This is a topic in itself and is covered elsewhere on this site.
The answer, therefore, is to have fixed cellular rooms only where absolutely necessary and populate the rest of the open plan office wherever space permits with Flexible, Relocatable Soft Furniture and Acoustic Furniture to suit the purpose. Of course, the type of furniture depends on what you are wishing to achieve: