By Kim Kowalski, Director, Formfunc Studio
WHAT ROLE DOES THE DESIGN OF WORKSPACES PLAY IN THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF COMPANIES?
Technology must integrate everywhere today. From a BYO attitude toward devices, to providing people with choice of where to work, people need to be able to plug in and work anywhere, anytime. Technology is also allowing us to be more agile in the workplace. Companies are creating workspaces that allow us to move and reformat furniture into temporary teaming stations where groups can collaborate on a project and then reconfigure to support the next team effort. Technology must be equally nimble in such environments.
WHAT TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS ARE BEING INCORPORATED INTO OFFICE FURNITURE?
We are not far from a completely wireless workspace, but right now we need to be able to plug our device into anything and work from it. Humanscale offers monitor arms that take the place of docking stations. This lets you plug your device right in and start working without the clutter and confusion of cords and wires everywhere. The resulting workstations are tidy and much easier to work from.
HOW DOES THE DESIGN OF WORKSPACES HELP NEW COLLABORATION MODELS SUCH AS CO-WORKING AND HOT-DESKING?
The co-working model is evolving and increasing in size. This means companies are able to move into a serviced space that accommodates everyone. Everything is simplified – there are no more long term leases and all you have to do is move in. Your space is not agile if you have assigned seating. We are seeing companies make better use of their workspace by not giving everyone an office. Getting rid of perimeter offices shares the daylight, making the rest of the space healthier and more productive. Additionally, people find that the ‘buzz’ of the office helps them concentrate, and in fact, isn’t a distraction at all. Younger employees can benefit by seeing and hearing more experienced employees conduct their business. This kind of passive mentoring helps new employees catch on much faster.
WHAT ARE THE PARAMETERS THAT A COMPANY MUST TAKE INTO ACCOUNT TO CHOOSE THE FURNITURE SOLUTION IN THE MODERNISATION OF THE WORKPLACE?
Furniture that allows movement, freely, whether you want to stand up and work or lean back. If you have to adjust knobs or find electricity, you’re inhibited. Furniture must be able to move throughout the office to accommodate those agile work teams, and must be flexible enough to accommodate all users. Humanscale sit-stand desks, for instance, move easily without power and chairs that fit everyone, without a lot of knobs and leavers make workspace more flexible than ever.
Most importantly, companies must insist on transparency from their furniture makers. It’s time for manufacturers to show their ingredients. We are working hard to create healthy and comfortable places to work, but we aren’t careful about the materials that we are exposing our employees to. There are so many toxic chemicals in our furniture today. Work with companies that are reducing the use of toxic chemicals, not hiding them.
Humanscales uses the declare label to show all of the ingredients – informing and educating customers about the contents of our products, so they can make the best decisions possible.
Business Essentials is Africa’s premium networking and business directory.
Read more from our Pressroom: