Smart Spaces…office fit-outs for flexibility and productivity

 In better by design

Life moves at an ever-changing pace. We’re now more in tune with the shifting dynamics of work versus play, home versus office, incorporating old and new and adapting to modern technologies. What then of the humble office space? No longer restrained to a few flimsy wall partitions, a coffee caddy and water cooler, today’s workspaces can maximise the wellbeing of employees, enhance productivity and promote positive culture.

So, what’s trending on the office fit-out front and what should you factor in when changing things up, moving things around or introducing new concepts?

Nature to Nurture . . . Biophilic Design

The innate relationship between people and nature is at the heart of this design consideration. Its focus is on introducing the experience of ‘a connection with nature’ into design. Biophilic design can reduce stress, promote creativity, healing and an over-all sense of well-being.

“The obvious solutions are to introduce planting into interiors, and design so that natural light and views to outside can be maximised,” explains Suzanne Chamberlain of Outline Design. “Visual references to nature, expressed in colour and/or pattern in carpets and textiles, and organic shapes in graphic features and furnishings can also help promote the sense of connection with nature.”

  • Thinking upon live greenery? Plants that boost – and grow well inside – include:  Golden Pothos, Philodendron, English Ivy, Jade Plant, Spider Plant and Asparagus Fern.
  • Want to get creative with nature? Moss graffiti for the walls or trees incorporated into desks – there are plenty of options to play around with.

Check out Outline’s Biophilia board on Pinterest for further inspiration!



Agile Workspaces . . . Unfixing the Fixed

What is an agile work environment? An agile work environment focuses on adopting a non-assigned seating model to optimise the use of space. It affords a transition from fixed workstations for each employee to shared spaces that workers use as needed.

According to space planning software specialists, Serraview, as much as 60 % of traditional office space is unused on any given day. “The agile work environment provides the means for an organisation to optimise the utilisation of workplace and reduce cost, often by as much as 20%.”

Shared Spaces . . . Bringing People Together

The trend for shared workspace is on the rise in New Zealand, not only for start-ups but for companies who have workers living far from the central office space. Take for example B:HIVE (Business Hive) at Smales Farm on Auckland’s North Shore. Featuring five-levels of office space, each floor is broken into two areas: dedicated and shared.

  • Dedicated spaces: For individual businesses and employees.
  • Shared spaces: For breakout, collaboration and meeting rooms. There is also a fully equipped kitchen and social spaces on each floor – for group lunches or after work drinks – options abound.

“Shared space can have offer benefits such as facilitating collaboration with people in your neighbourhood and outside of your usual work colleagues – a bonus for creativity and networking.”

Each floor at B:HIVE has a reception and concierge, and the ground floor is home to boutique eateries and facilities for events and conferences. B:HIVE’s key point-of-difference, setting it apart from other work space designs, is its flexible partition system, allowing businesses to expand and contract their work space as their needs change. For example, businesses can make changes to work spaces overnight or quarterly – when it suits them – no waiting around till the end of a lease term. This means businesses pay rent based on their exact space requirements, not for space that’s sitting idle.



Mind and Body . . . Spaces for Wellbeing

Today’s workspaces aren’t just designed around health and safety guidelines, we’re designing offices not just to prevent harm but to enhance health and wellness at work.

“Clever space planning encourages movement throughout the space, promoting interaction,” says Suzanne. “Spaces to allow for solitude to recharge or for mental clarity are equally as important as spaces that support collaboration and socialising.”

About Outline Design

Outline Design is an established commercial interior design firm based in Auckland, New Zealand offering the full range of interior design services. To find out more contact us.

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