Adaptability VS Uncertainty: Why Modular Workplace Design Is Now or Never

April 8, 2021 | Technology

Every year we see the appearance and disappearance of a variety of novel trends; office designs are no different. How we design our workplaces has a significant effect on how our teams perform, so it makes sense that advances in technology and new work styles influence design trends. But cost discourages many organizations from following workplace design trends.

Others eventually do but always seem behind because they don’t go the distance. Perhaps the perception is that redesigning office space every few years is impractical, time-consuming, and a nuisance. But what if the ability to redesign on demand according to the needs of your workforce was optimized on day one? If that sounds interesting, then a modular workplace design may be what you’re looking for.

What Is a Modular Office Design and Its Benefits?

The modular workplace design concept unifies the assemblage of assorted interior components to construct a workplace that is cohesive and multifaceted. Components such as seating, tables, partition walls, or acoustic products should be able to facilitate flexibility. Office designers like to compare the modular workplace design to Legos: connect them; disconnect them; repurpose them, and mix-and-match them. You can use and reuse an infinite number of times. Each modular office design component should form a congruous whole. If any part requires changing or customization for any reason, it’s a quick, simple, and affordable task.

Modular workplace designs offer an exceptional level of flexibility, making it a perfect solution for organizations planning to expand. Rather than renovating constantly, simply shift components around as required. If something needs to be added that isn’t in the inventory, it will most likely be much more affordable. A modular workplace design affords individuals the freedom to work how they wish; it allows them to take ownership of their spaces as well. However, adaptability is the most significant benefit; one that brings with it countless advantages.

If you’re planning on renovating or building a new workplace, you should know the benefits of a modular workplace design. Below are several considerations.

  • It costs much less than most other designs. To keep up with workplace design trends, a full fit-out including new furniture may be required. On the other hand, if you’ve postponed changes for longer than suggested and equipment becomes outdated, an office refurbishment might be necessary. Either way, the project can end up being fairly expensive and time-consuming. And that is what prevents things from getting done year after year.
  • You can refresh workplace aesthetics more freely. Modular designs provide opportunities for your organization to refresh its look while upgrading workspace functionality. Best of all, it can get done without breaking the budget or disrupting operations. Your workspace will become more eco-friendly since a modular workplace design involves repurposing existing components and other design aspects.
  • Create a collaborative work environment. The modular workplace design better facilitates employee interaction and co-working habits. This improves employee productivity and the quality of their work. With the combination of all those things, a genuine bond can be created between employees.
  • Facilitating ergonomics improvements more effectively. By replacing a rigid workplace design with a modular one, you’re afforded an array of settings that provide various work styles, and positions.

How to Apply Modular Workplace Design

What makes the modular workplace design so attractive is the capability of having a diverse workplace assemblage: private spaces for focused work, training rooms, social spaces for collaboration, et cetera. With the barriers of the traditionally structured workspace removed, team members are able to be their most productive within a multifluid design. When traditionally designed workspaces are broken down and their barriers removed, people have more room to be innovative and productive. It’s important to avoid off-center design choices and office gimmicks; such things aren’t conducive to a modular workplace design.

How to Help Employees Deal With Unwanted Noise

Despite the numerous benefits offered by open floor plans and modular workplace designs, increased noise levels are a recurrent problem. Unfortunately, when it comes to a modular workplace design, it’s virtually impossible to design away noise. A study conducted by ScienceDirect found that while acoustic design helped decrease the Speech Transmission Index (STI) coming from distant desks, it didn’t decrease the STI for adjacent desks. Furthermore, not only did the presence of background speech have a detrimental effect on people in the room, but the minimal reduction of STI by acoustic design had little effect.

The best one can hope is to manage the sources of excess noise while implementing acoustic solutions. In addition to that, use of audiovisual (AV) enhancements such as Google Jamboard (interactive business whiteboard), M/Connect by Humanscale (dual-video docking station), or media:scape® (a product that integrates technology and furniture). These workstation “enhancements” apparently activate a circuit in our prefrontal cortex (PFC) responsible for “filtering out unwanted background noise or other distracting sensory stimuli.” In other words, it helps them “zone out” on work.

In stark contrast to these types of sensory technologies, there are systems that can deaden noise at its source. The Gridd® Low-Profile Raised Floor by FreeAxez has recently undergone acoustic testing and it was found that its superior design dampens footfall noise by 4 decibels. Widely recognized across the broadcast industry for its superior acoustics, this globally recognized solution appears in well-known studios in New York City—CBS, ABC, NBC, NPR, and ESPN.

The Importance of Staying Adaptable

One of the biggest lessons of 2020 is that business challenges can arise when least expected and the ability to adapt quickly helps operations retain momentum. A new awareness of this strategy is at least one argument for the further development of modular design.

Modularity takes aspects of the built environment and designs them to reconfigure and “mold” to the needs of the people working in that space. It leaves room for unknown priorities to emerge without disrupting the productivity and growth of your business.

For information about how Gridd40 or Gridd70 raised flooring can improve the acoustics of your workplace, speak with one of our advisors today!

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