As more businesses look to adopt an agile working model, employees have been left wondering how they’ll be able to personalise their workspace if they no longer have a fixed desk. Here are our predictions for how personalisation in the office will evolve in the months and years ahead.
For those new to agile working, the thought of losing your own desk can seem scary at first. But this doesn’t have to mean an end to personalisation in the office. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Rather than just having a small corner to call your own, the entire office is your oyster. And it can be personalised in a much more meaningful way.
In the world of desk sharing, furniture needs to flexible. As (in most cases) anyone can sit anywhere, each desk must be able to meet everyone’s needs. In the past, height adjustable desks, laptop stands, and high-spec ergonomic chairs were often only available on request and required an occupational health or DSE assessment to be completed. Now, many companies are opting for this type of furniture at every workspace.
Ergonomics might not seem like a particularly personal thing. However, they are actually one of the most unique aspects of your work setup (and really important for your health and wellbeing!). By providing flexible furniture as standard, you are able to adjust your desk to your exact specifications. This offers a much more personalised experience than your old, fixed height desk and computer monitor!
Much like ergonomics, the temperature you feel most comfortable at is an incredibly personal thing. It’s also one of the things that causes the most disharmony in the office with two out of five office workers admit to falling out with colleagues over workplace temperature! With desk sharing, the option to bag a desk next to the window or under the air con is gone. So, with the harmony of the office at stake, many companies are looking at personalised temperature controls for each desk to enable employees to manage their own environment.
Lighting should not be overlooked either, particularly given that it has been shown to significantly affect productivity, creativity and wellbeing. With so many kinds of light colours and fixtures, it can be tough to determine what light will work for everyone. This is why many office redesigns now include the option to customise your lighting experience by area. This can be determined by who will be using the space and what it will be used for. With sustainability being a key concern for businesses in 2021, lighting is also a relatively simple way of reducing your business’s carbon footprint.
The move to hybrid working and desk sharing presents a unique opportunity to reconsider the way your office is designed and used. The reduced need for fixed desks means that many companies have a bit of extra space to play with. And this can be used in exciting and innovate ways.
We’re seeing a rise in the popularity of many different workspace configurations, from desks and standing tables to conference rooms and quiet zones. Want a quick catch-up with a colleague? Move to the sofas. Need to make a Zoom call? Nip into a quiet pod. The future of the office isn’t going to be about working from one space all day. It’s about moving around the office, using the space that meets your particular needs that hour (or minute!).
Despite the benefits that desk sharing can bring, it will still be a big adjustment for some people. To counteract this, we predict that some companies will look to make trade-offs in other areas to help employees feel more at home in different ways.
Expect to see the relaxation of certain policies such as dress code, with more casual work attire becoming more commonplace. And, while many companies have been encouraging and celebrating their staff’s individuality for decades, it’s likely that we’ll start to see many more follow suit. As a general rule, offices will become much less ‘corporate’. Instead, they will focus on the unique elements of the business and the people that make up the workforce.
And on that note, we expect to see office decor become less corporate too. And we only expect office design to become more expressive. Your office should be a reflection of your company culture. If that’s creative and quirky, your workplace should be too!
Staff will also have greater ownership of how the office is decorated and used. That could be as simple as consulting more with employees about where furniture is positioned, right through to a team project to create art for the walls! Staff no longer ‘own’ just a desk. The whole office is yours to play with – and that’s exciting stuff!
For help adding those personal touches to your office, get in touch. We specialise in people-focused workplace design and office fit out, with your company culture at the heart.