Better office design can improve people’s lives. This should be a given but it’s often surprising how many businesses don’t consider workplace design a good business investment. One thing is for sure, technology can play a huge role in the future of our office environment to meet our needs and ensure it is truly a productive space. For designers, it’s never been more important to get the balance right to ensure technology and office design integrates seamlessly. What tools are at the designer’s disposal to make the design and operation of offices appealing to employees so they want to come to work and interact with others?
Technology will always play a big part in the way we work. It enables us to work from almost anywhere. This flexibility may well improve the health and wellbeing of the employee but we still have a long way to go in terms of the way in which we communicate how spaces should and need to be used. It’s vitally important employees have better structured and designed rooms and be able to utilise technology to maximise productivity.
The advent of videoconferencing has seen rapid growth, but in the modern open office environment this has a knock-on effect with acoustical challenges for the designer. Glass, drywall, wood and concrete surfaces only exacerbate the issue. There is a need for these spaces to be soundproof so that confidential discussions can be held. Therefore, it is a case of keeping noise out, as well as in. However, there is also the need for these spaces to feel open and airy rather than claustrophobic and closed in. This is why the acoustic performance of glazed partitions is so important.
Furthermore, with the invention of special LCD privacy films on glass partitions, people can see through the film both ways, resulting in total screen privacy from the outside whilst being able to see through the film on the inside.
Security is a concern for any business, but old fashioned and inconvenient security methods are a thing of the past in the 21st century office. Remote control operated locks have had a huge uptake within co-working spaces because people don’t want to issue keys, as they may be misplaced or go missing. Partition and door systems need to be designed in a way so they can incorporate new and improved smart locks that can be operated by card keys or are Wi-Fi enabled, dispensing with keys altogether. There are no additional costs for duplicate keys or the associated servicing costs for key-operated locks. Both Planet’s IsoPro doors and EclipseTec top hung acoustic sliding glass doors have options to include innovative electronic access control devices.
With the modern workplace becoming increasingly mobile, there are greater demands on designers to ensure the agile office worker has access to a wide variety of work settings along with the right tools and technology. Ultimately, a shiny new workplace may well have all the bells and whistles but it will only ever work if it accurately reflects the needs of its habitants.