OFFICE OVERHAUL

June, 2017

 

Thinking outside the box is necessary to create products that work outside the silos of a traditional office set up. Here are some of the premier solutions for an office space from trending design styles to innovative products.

CHANGING NATURE OF WORKPLACES

Workplaces are going away from the traditional systems of partitioning to involve more collaborative work. The deviating function and form of the workplaces are reflective of the changing nature of the work itself. Social and environmental factors have increased awareness towards an employee's needs. Companies now try to harness the most from their employees by offering office layouts that focus on their well-being.
Office interior trends are inching towards a design that outgrows the desk culture and embraces the flexibility of working from anywhere in the office, explains Geetika Jain, Associate Design Lead at DSP Design. This very much implies that it is no longer the employee that adapts to the workplace but is the workplace that adapts to employee needs.
Kaushal Chouhan, Architect & Interior Designer, urther adds that this is the very reason why adjustable height desks, treadmill workstations, dataintegrated personal tables, and wireless desks are emerging in modern commercial workspaces. With the advent of furniture imports and multinational players setting up shop in India, the overall design and quality parameters have improved. Manufacturers encounter new design benchmarks quite frequently thereby raising manufacturing and design standards by several notches.
The low costs of high-quality products in this sector is another story altogether, explains Jawahar Gopal,Director, Featherlite Group. The use of pre-fab materials has drastically reduced construction time for new office buildings.The increasing density of workstations coupled with the rising costs of real estate dissuades offices from investing in furniture upgrades. Therefore, manufacturers are lowering their cost infrastructure to accommodate this need in an effort to remain relevant to the market

PRODUCTS ARE CHANGING THE WAY WE LOOK AT AN OFFICE

Brighter tiles can transform a space to make it look bigger. Vitrified tiles can match any decor. On the other end of this flooring paradigm is the use of laminates. Laminates add a soothing element to the indoor space by acting as a substitute to costly and high maintenance wood flooring. Apart from flooring, the over all layout of the office also needs to be given serious thought. Akshat Bhatt, Principal Architect, Architecture Discipline, shares some innovative ideas that he used in his own office space.Elements such as shelving systems, partition panels, pigeon holes that can be designed as flexible, cost effective & colourful modules, bring unity and rhythm to the character of a space. Perforated cardboard and wired glass allow luminosity between spaces thereby maintaining an interactive feel.
Ergonomics is the science concerned with designing that allows people and things to interact efficiently and safely. For employees who spend most of their working hours indoors, the right chair makes a difference. To alleviate the lumbar region pressure, Some chair types seamlessly blend with the body when someone sits in it. Other models by brands guarantee reduced stress and increased productivity.
To be able to adjust one's furniture from time to time is another need of an ever-changing workplace. Reconfigurable furniture is the brainchild of an innovative workplace. An installation of modern design trends combined with an aim to provide multipurpose use, Net@work by Vector embodies the idea of furniture that can be transformed in different ways. Visually appealing, this provides a solution for agile workspaces that earlier served as a concentrated individual or collaborative team working atmosphere.

EMERGING TRENDS IN WORKPLACES

With the average age of employees reducing, traditional offices are being recreated to improve efficiency and enhance productivity for Generation Z. Ishan Thacker, Design Consultant, Vector Projects Pvt Ltd, rightly points out that to be relevant, human-centric design concepts in modular units is increasingly becoming popular. Least movement is required in an analytical job. The lack of movement can cause severe damage to the employee’s health. Hence, sit-stand working units are workstations that promote physical movement.

GOING GREEN

More than 50% of employees are in an office work with no natural light and without greenery. Offices with plants and natural light can increase productivity by 6% and creativity by 15%. Kaushal Chouhan analyses this trend to add, The challenge is in designing to increase the productivity of the working individual, especially those in compact offices. Workspaces that integrate with technology are a logical design trend that is on the rise. Office furniture with built-in power adapters and multimedia capabilities will be seen in well-designed and flexible work environments. While all the technological advancements will adapt along the way, the need of offices is increasingly becoming greenery and open spaces.

AND ALL THE OTHER COLOURS TOO

Colourful workstations increase creativity and boost productivity. As opposed to personalising the space, keep it free from clutter is important. Colourful shelving systems in common areas serve as a conversation starter and a collaborative space. Different colours evoke various feelings and emotions. The idea is to make the workstation a pleasant experience.

CHANGING WORKSTATIONS TO BOOST COLLABORATION

The need for collaboration is imperative in any office. Even products in the office are expected to work in tandem to fulfil the need for collaborative working. Naresh Tahiliani, Vice President, Institutional Marketing, Godrej Interio explains that in a fast-paced working environment processing information or exchanging ideas can be a stressful task. While space for private working is crucial, distraction free collaborative work areas should be made available to employees. This can include a canteen or pantry area, games room, etc. Chance meetings around the premises increase creativity and also serve as a stress buster.
These developments have led to the emergence of smart and connected offices, where the “Internet of Things” drives new ways to collaborate, innovate and socialise. Hence, it is not surprising that in today’s fast-changing business environment, new ideas such as connected lighting are being implemented in workspaces that facilitate a culture of innovation based on collaboration, says Harshavardhan Chitale, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Philips Lighting India. The ‘work from anywhere’ idea is catching up with digitalisation taking over as the largest medium of mobility.
It was once normal to see a 1:1 ratio between employees and cubicles. As business practices and office designs modernise, the number of employees per desk is actually going up. Nowadays there are less desks and more employees. The main contributing factor is ‘hot desking’. “Each employee is not assigned a particular desk, but rather given a variety of places to work within an office that might include desks, casual seating areas, conference spaces, or a cafe,” explains Manohar Gopal, Director, Featherlite Group. Growing business competition requires companies, both young and old, to develop a working environment that boosts collaboration. In return, the fruitful collaboration will likely help boost the overall productivity of the office as well as the