A comfortable working atmosphere is an essential part of a functional office, and the furniture plays a crucial role in making this happen. Fortunately, modern office designs come in infinite options, particularly furniture choices.
Regardless of your office furniture choices, there’s no denying that hybrid setups are now the new office norm. One study shows that Australia leads the world on this front, with more companies offering such work arrangements than those in other developed countries. All this is happening despite some calls to return to full-time office work.
It begs the question: “Does your office suit the new norm?” Given the opportunity to work from home, not all employees will choose to report to the corporate workplace. That means wasted space on unused furniture or excess tables and chairs, among other things. If such is the case, then an interior redesign may be in order, starting with the choice of office furnishings.
Today, offices need to cater to a more flexible and dynamic workforce, prioritising factors like employee well-being, creativity, and productivity. That's where strategic office furniture choices come in.
Sit-stand desks for better health
Sitting at the desk and staring at the computer for eight hours, limited breaks including lunch and snacks (if any), and a working environment devoid of vitality. These qualities speak for the typical pre-2020 workplace.
Experts have been sounding the alarm about their health effects, yet it took a major upheaval for changes to be finally made. A company that insists on keeping its old, inefficient interior design is essentially encouraging its people to insist on going fully remote. Office managers need to be more open-minded, if not concerned, about the needs of those under them.
Perhaps you can start going down this route by swapping some fixed tables for ergonomic sit-stand desks. As it implies, they can shift from regular sitting to standing worktables through a switch that adjusts their height. This enables team members to stand for several minutes without pausing work, reducing the risk of health complications linked to prolonged sitting.
While we’re no health experts, it only feels right to stress that standing while working is no substitute for physical activity. Walking, for instance, burns three times as many calories as standing or sitting. Fortunately, sit-stand desks promote mobility, as transitioning to walking is easier when upright than from the chair. Remember, standing isn't a substitute for physical activity, but a sit-stand desk will encourage movement and break up the monotony of the workday.
Workstations to save office space
Unutilised space has become a bane for companies with office spaces in the tens of thousands of square metres. With more people opting to utilise a home office, vacant tables and chairs have become money sinks for management.
Unsurprisingly, even industry giants like American Express and Salesforce are scaling back on their leased spaces. In the latter’s case, its Sydney branch has been downsized by as much as 43%, from 35,000 square metres to 20,000, as per a recent report.
Reducing leased space is in the interest of any business, especially if it lets them get as much work done as with their original setup. The right kind of office furniture can help with that, starting with workstations.
Not to be confused with a special type of computer, workstations are desks designed to hold two or more work units. While not as spacious as an individual desk, they’re ideal when consolidated in one piece of office equipment, namely a computer terminal. Partition walls and acoustic screens can be configured to divide workstations into as many units as needed.
It shouldn’t be surprising that employees can do more now with less equipment. The size of gadgets and electronic components has shrunken over the past decades, with manufacturers constantly pushing the boundaries. A workstation that can accommodate six or nearly a dozen compact tools is already a boon in terms of savings.
With companies downsizing leased spaces, unused furniture becomes a costly burden. Workstations are the space-saving heroes of the hybrid office. These versatile desks accommodate multiple units, eliminating the need for individual tables and reducing clutter.
Think modular panels and acoustic screens that adapt to your team's needs, creating a dynamic and organised workspace. The smaller footprint also frees up valuable real estate, allowing you to optimise your office layout and potentially even save on rental costs.
Soft seating for crew comfort
Workplaces are reinventing so much that the essence of the term “office” is now called into question. Is an office still four walls and a sea of cubicles? With the welfare of the rank-and-file worker no longer ignorable, should the working environment be homey than office-y?
Even though urging people to return to full-time office work is difficult, some offices remain committed to providing a conducive working environment. Video game developer Bungie is an example of this, not only allowing hybrid work but expanding its leased space, contrary to reduction trends seen in many offices.
But what good is leasing more space amid a hybrid setup can do? Consolidation is one, just as Bungie plans to do with its multiple local offices. Then again, another approach is to help make the workplace, to quote a related report from Time: “more ‘cool Airbnb’ than ‘office.’”
Setting up spots where team members can relax during breaks (or when they feel like it) works wonders for staff morale, mitigating burnout and enhancing creativity. Instead of ergonomic chairs, consider soft seating for such areas to maximise comfort and add style to the office aesthetic.
Essentially, just tear a page from how Google designs its various offices. Every square metre of floor space screams fun at work more than a nine-to-five slog, a testament to its dedication to making team members comfortable and happy, which leads to increased productivity. Sofas and plush chairs for breakrooms are just the beginning.Think beanbag chairs, reading nooks, and even small game sections – these elements all contribute to a more inviting and stimulating office environment. The modern office is about more than just work. It's a space for fostering collaboration, boosting morale, and sparking creativity.
Mobile pedestals for ease of storage
Storage can become an issue for downsizing workplaces, but it’s been a talking point as early as the birth of the paperless office concept. Electronic data storage outperforms the traditional approach in most aspects, such as storage capacity, file management, and file retrieval. Not to mention that businesses are under pressure to be ecologically responsible in their business operations.
And yet, even digital-first companies still produce and pass around paper files internally and externally. The speed at which they’re going paperless if at all, is slow due to various factors. For example, legal systems still require physical copies to facilitate transactions.
Then again, this doesn’t necessarily mean file cabinets are still the best storage solution for any office space. If paper use is minimal and the workplace is shrinking, mobile pedestals may fare better. These are small file drawers on wheels that fit on any desk, be it an individual office desk or a workstation unit. Being mobile also allows them to be relocated with ease. Opt for sleek, modern designs that complement the overall office interior design and avoid clunky, space-hogging cabinets.
The hybrid workplace is here to stay, and your office furnishings should reflect that. By prioritising ergonomic elements, space-saving solutions, inviting aesthetics, and flexible storage, you can create a work environment that not only accommodates the new norm but also empowers your team members to thrive.
Small Office Design Ideas
The design of your office furniture can have a big impact on your staff's productivity and well-being. Remember, your office is more than just a space to perform tasks – it's an extension of your brand and company culture. Here are other practical design ideas to revamp or create a workspace suitable for the hybrid era:
Keep it simple
Don't overload your office with too many furnishings or too much decor. A clean and uncluttered space is more conducive to focus and productivity.
Choose ergonomic furniture
This is especially important for office chairs and tables, as sitting for long periods can lead to pain and discomfort. Look for furniture that is adjustable and provides good support.
Define different areas
Use rugs, furniture placement, or partitions to create different zones in the office layout, such as a work area, a meeting area, and a relaxation area.
Use natural light. If possible, position desks near windows to take advantage of natural light. This can help to boost mood and productivity. In areas where natural light is limited, use artificial lighting that is bright and evenly distributed. When installing lighting fixtures, avoid harsh overhead light, which can be tiring on the eyes.
Functionality and style
There are many ways to add personality and interest to your office interiors. Paint your walls a calming colour, such as blue or green. Add pops of colour with accents, such as artwork or throw pillows. Choose pieces that are calming and inspiring.
Give team member plenty of storage space for their belongings or paperwork, such as filing cabinets, drawers, and shelves. Instead of boxes, opt for furnishings with shelving functionality. This will help to keep your office tidy and professional-looking.
Get creative with seating
Don't just use traditional office chairs. Add a mix of seating options, such as armchairs, benches, and stools. Modern office chair options can make your workspace more inviting and comfortable.
Consider the needs of employees
Not everyone works the same way. Some people prefer quiet spaces, while others prefer to be in the heart of the action. Try to accommodate different working styles when designing your office.
Install shelves or cabinets
Take advantage of your walls by utilising vertical space. This can help to maximise storage space in a small office design.
Your office needs to be able to adapt to change. Choose furniture that can be easily moved and reconfigured.
Don't be afraid to experiment
Try out different design ideas to see what works best for your office. There is no right or wrong answer – the most important thing is that your team members are happy and productive.
Create an inviting, professional office
Start with a clean slate - banish clutter and embrace simplicity. Let natural light bathe the space or choose warm artificial lighting. Pops of colour from artwork or plants liven up the scene. Keep furniture functional and ergonomic, prioritising comfort and well-being.
Designate areas for tasks and collaboration, fostering both focus and interaction. Remember, small details matter - curate decorative items that reflect your company's personality. With this approach, your office becomes not just a workplace, but a welcoming, productive haven for your team to thrive.
Invest in Quality Furniture
The average office can no longer return to what it used to be. Hybrid work arrangements are more commonplace, and, with some exceptions, officers are scaling back on the size of their leases. Amid these developments, now may be a good time to take stock of your office furniture and swap out incompatible ones for new drawers, chairs, and tables.
Invest in your team's success. Rose Office Furniture is your one-stop shop for ergonomic solutions, sleek designs, and lasting value. Elevate your workspace today.