Now more than ever it is important to have flexibility in the workspace. Whether the need for flexibility comes in the form of areas for staff to collaborative or the ability to efficiently socially distance, workspace proxemics are an important element to consider when designing an office space that can adapt to the demands of its users.
Proxemics is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behaviour, communication, and social interaction. It goes without saying that a loud overcrowded office isn’t the ideal environment for communication and productivity! Since the outbreak of COVID-19 back in March many of us have seen the way we work drastically change, and with social distancing measures becoming mandatory we have all had to adjust. For many organisations, the number of employees safely allowed in their office drastically reduced overnight leading to staff working remotely from home. But global pandemic or not, the priority of a space should always remain the same, the people who work there.
At Chameleon we believe in designing for people, not a pandemic, and have been designing flexible people inspired workspaces for over 20 years. Each space we design takes proxemics into account and is tailored around our clients’ company culture and the well-being of the employees that work within it. By working to this mantra, we have created spaces that have enabled our clients to successfully adapt to the ever-changing guidelines relating to COVID-19 and allow for vital human interaction to continue safely.
Our designers Kev and Fiona have shared some top tips for designing a flexible space:
By introducing multi-purpose furniture you’re able to give a space a variety of uses, booths are a great example of this. Booths not only provide the perfect space for a meeting or to take a break but they can also be used as an alternative working area should desk space become limited. Booths also permit a natural, physical separation for social distancing providing the short-term solution for social distancing instead of acrylic screens. Our designers recently used the JDD Bob booth in a project we completed in Sheffield for First Group to add flexibility to their workspace, check it out…
Modern technology to provide better connectivity
Providing ample connection points throughout the space allows staff to work from a variety of locations, rather than just their nominated desk. By including sockets, USB points, server connections and additional WAP points in communal areas, staff can move freely and you can get more use out of the space. This also applies to AV hook-ups, providing these in areas other than your designated meeting areas you can create more space appropriate for presentations or larger meetings. having the right connections and technology available such as a Smart TV or Apple AirPlay for your staff enables you to transform breakout areas or communal spaces into flexible spaces perfect for collaboration and increased productivity.
Separate space with moveable dividers
Space dividers such as moveable walls and screens on wheels enable a space to be transformed. These are a particularly great addition to meeting rooms so that they can be divided into smaller areas or opened to create a large area for staff to collaborate. In July of this year, we handed over Victory Leisure’s new customer experience centre. Their team were looking for somewhere they could bring clients to impress, but also somewhere their team could collaborate and brainstorm ideas. Check out the flexible space we created for them…
Utilise all your space – even if it’s outdoors
Outdoor areas can not only be a great way to boost staff morale (especially on a sunny day when no one wants to be stuck indoors!) but also allow staff to effectively social distance due to being able to maintain closer working proximity in open-air. Whether you have land around your building or an unused roof space there are so many options for transforming it into a brilliant extension to your workspace. Check out this space we created for Hugh Rice…
If you’re interested in transforming your workspace into a flexible hub for collaboration and productivity – get in touch with our team here