Thursday, 19 December 2019 15:00

Designing for your client

    An unproductive employee who is not happy with their work environment can have a financial impact on any organisation. We are also seeing from the latest research undertaken in Europe that the number of people on ‘stress-related’ leave has skyrocketed to 30% in some countries, at a huge cost to the company and the individual. Here, Planet Partitioning looks at the way specifiers can work with their clients to ensure an office design is fit-for-purpose.

    When you consider that people spend an average of over 82,000 hours at work during their lifetime, it is essential that employers get the best out of their workforce. Part of this is ensuring these workers have the right environment in which to operate. For an office to be a great place for people to come to work, it should not only reflect the ethos of a company, but it must also enhance employee wellbeing, creativity and engagement.

    From the outset, it’s important to work with the client to ensure spaces are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. It’s important to have a briefing process, or possibly one-to-one meetings with staff to get under the skin of a company and understand their working culture. When designing the layout of an office, it’s imperative to get the balance right between the collaborative and open, agile spaces, and the more enclosed quieter areas which give people their own territory.

    If the focus is on gathering places rather than areas for quiet work, staff can think their privacy is compromised, especially if their work requires focus and a great deal of concentration. It’s about creating spaces that provide a diversity of impact.

    Acoustically-sound glass partitions

    The advent of videoconferencing has seen rapid growth, but in the modern open office environment, this has a knock-on effect with acoustical challenges for the designer. Glass, drywall, wood and concrete surfaces only exacerbate the issue. There is a need for these spaces to be soundproof so that confidential discussions can be held. Therefore, it is a case of keeping noise out, as well as in. However, there is also the need for these spaces to feel open and airy rather than claustrophobic and enclosed. This is why the acoustic performance of glazed partitions is so important. When an office’s acoustic performance is below par, it can have negative repercussions on employees, affecting concentration, productivity and health.

    In many office layouts, there is now a need for focus zones and telephone booths. Glass office partitioning enables a designer to create these small rooms as an alternative to a member of staff using and monopolising a conference room designed for six or more people simply to make a call on their mobile. These rooms will often feature a sliding door to save space without compromising on acoustic performance. With a soft, soundless open-and-close function which maintains acoustic comfort, glass sliding doors are elegant, effortless design solutions; perfect for agile working environments where user comfort and maximising usable space is fundamental. Conversations can, therefore, take place behind acoustic partitions whether it is a confidential discussion, client meeting or simply for private working.

    The benefits of daylight

    According to research, daylight is now the most desired natural element in workplace design, surpassing other features such as plants and foliage. Not only is it good for employee stress and happiness levels, but natural daylight also boosts productivity and work rates. It’s why designers are turning to other design possibilities to maximise the stream of natural light in modern offices. But designing a workspace which utilises natural light takes careful planning, research and conscientious thought, especially in open-plan spaces where natural light and privacy are high priorities for occupants.

    Glass partitions and doors are an excellent design solution to ensure both daylight and privacy are not compromised. Overall, this design solution ensures the open-plan aesthetic is not compromised by practical necessities, such as privacy and acoustics.

    Open to change

    Moving forward, office design needs to not only reflect the current climate of a business, but it must also be flexible and designed for adaptability. Offering more versatility, demountable glass partitions are great solutions which ensure designers create spaces that can adapt to the changing needs of the workforce. This cost-effective design assures partitions can be moved instead of replaced, all the while utilising natural light within office spaces.

    Office design has moved on considerably from the 1950s where co-workers sat side-by-side using typewriters. Ensuring office spaces are fit for purpose has never been more important in such a competitively driven world. Good design must always be there in order to support people who occupy the space to be the best they can be.

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