Reconfigurable Workspaces

June 8, 2021

In our last blog, we explored how employers should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a hybrid work environment. We also touched on how companies might approach striking a balance between employees’ desire for more flexible work schedules while retaining staff cohesiveness and the creativity that often comes from the spontaneous nature of onsite team interaction. Options might include allowing some employees to work from home part of the week and in the office the rest of the week, or a mix of office-based and fully remote staff.

There are also technology/online work platforms and applications that could improve hybrid team collaboration such as:

  • Shared online calendars
  • VoIP services
  • Zoom check-in meetings
  • Automation tools
  • Apps that control office occupancy and allow employees to book desks in advance
  • Apps that show when an individual is online or offline

If choosing to allow a more flexible work environment, employers should look at making the hybrid workplace a desired location for employees to be. This might include reconfigurable office spaces that meet the needs of the organization as a whole. The COVID-19 pandemic has pointed to a need for reconfigurable workspace whether working at home or in the office, and new design thinking has inspired more product options that allow employers to rethink the use of space.

Whereas traditional office spaces are designed for a static purpose, reconfigurable workspaces are meant for multiple purposes and to change physically in order to meet needs. For example, reconfigured workspaces might include common areas and hubs that encourage collaboration as well as quiet spaces for focused collaboration. They might employ modular furniture, movable partitions, swappable objects and flexible floorplates. In conference or hospitality settings, reconfigurable spaces might include:

  • Conference rooms with removable dividers
  • Breakout spaces and multi-purpose areas
  • Dining spaces convertible to town hall spaces

Other reconfigurable strategies include decentralizing offices with coordination among employees who work at home and de-densifying spaces who work in-office. For further information about how Vanguard can assist you in building design strategies, please visit our website or call 1-800-211-8848.