As the world of work evolves, offices are becoming more representative of the diversity, technology and shifting timescales of modern working life. In the past, traditional offices made provision for 100% occupancy, providing a desk for each individual. The introduction of mobile devices and the culture of working flexibly and remotely has led to the traditional office structure becoming ineffective. Instead, pioneering organisations have embraced agile working, the practise of allowing employees to work with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints.

The trend for agile working is here to stay and organisations are now modernising their workspaces to utilise the space available. As leaders in the agile working trend, Chameleon Business Interiors have shown how upgrading your workspace no longer requires uplifting your business to larger premises. Casting aside lack-lustre rows of desks and partitions and refurbishing your office with relaxed break out spaces can be a more effective use of space and encourage conversation and collaboration.

With an expanding workforce, Airco, the Yorkshire-based air conditioning specialists, commissioned Chameleon to provide a full interior design and office fit out service for their Hull HQ. Airco House is a 16,000 sq ft building overlooking the A63 which needed refurbishing to suit Airco’s brand and culture.

Neil Fisher, Managing Director of Airco, said, “Having worked with Chameleon on many joint projects we had confidence that their team could deliver the quality we required within our agreed budget, to provide a head office of which we are proud. The finance package proposed by Chameleon meant a prompt start on site, was tax efficient and allowed for effective future finance planning.”

The design makes the most of the large open spaces, incorporating many collaborative working spaces to keep up with the latest trends and allowing agile working for their employees. The first-floor offices now feature state of the art intelligent building management including the latest thinking in climate control and LED low energy lighting.

With the fewer cellular desk layouts and the creation of collaborative zones and informal meeting areas, employers can optimise the available space, reducing costs and improving employee relations. Staff are encouraged to step away from their desks and, with the mobility afforded by digital technology, given the freedom to work in an environment which best suits their task.

The new digital office combines elements of domestic, retail and commercial architecture and design. The distinction between working and socialising spaces is becoming increasingly blurred as office design takes cues from lounges and cafes in an effort to create more enticing environments for workers. It is not just the appearance and the structure of the office that is changing, but the nature of the work itself. Scarlettabbott’s office design is a testament to this. Requiring a space for ideas, creations and conversations, Scarlettabbott’s former Methodist chapel needed an experienced commercial interior design team to transform The Old Chapel into a well-designed, stimulating workplace for their internal communications agency.

Chameleon’s full interior design and fit out brief required specialist skills such as fitting mezzanine floors, stained glass windows and specialist lighting in addition to exterior restoration works to bring the period building back to life.

Jonathan Abbott, Scarlettabbott’s Managing Director, said, “Our clients’ response has been amazing, they love the building. I am sure we are getting more work because of our new office. We are in a stage of growth at the moment, and we wanted to show our industry, clients and team that we are good at what we do and are growing.”

Office design that is more reflective of its people can have a much bigger impact on productivity and performance than training and development. In a business climate that has become increasingly competitive, redesigning and refurbishing commercial workspaces to nurture creativity and collaboration should be at the heart of any business plan and is the key to influencing a business’ success and future development.

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