Posted by Andrew Crompton

Posted 1 February, 2017 OBI BLOG

Acoustics---urbanbubble,-Sevendale-House.jpg---blogOffice design continues to move on apace. For the professionals charged with creating workspaces worthy of top businesses, it’s a constant process of learning, critically appraising new developments and gathering new ideas, all with the end goal of integrating them into the process of creating workspaces that are a great place for people to do their jobs well.

Put like that, it’s simple, but of course there are a million and one questions lurking behind that single key goal. How you achieve your ideal workspace means taking a step back, working out what it is that your business needs and then making that happen. It might take a significant investment – it might not. It might be that technology could make it a radically different workspace – again, it might not.
For us, no two projects are the same. There is a constantly evolving blend of design techniques, technologies and materials that allow us to work with companies in tailoring the space they need that makes their business look good, feel good and work to the maximum effect. Here’s a few things that we think might rise to the fore in corporate thinking in 2017.

Acoustics
It goes without saying acoustics are important, and an increase in unwanted noise can be a consequence of the move to stripped-back workspaces with exposed services – there can be a lot of hard surfaces for sound to bounce around. There are lots of good-looking design solutions, including sound-baffles in all shapes and sizes. A growing area is moveable acoustic walls – effectively lightweight bricks – which can be shifted around, creating a meeting space, or working pod, within a matter of minutes.
We are continually finding that the majority of our clients are aware of the benefits that acoustic solutions can bring to improve their offices, making a massive difference to the ability of their staff to concentrate and ultimately improve effectiveness and productivity. We make sure we work with them to provide the best solution.

Chargeable surfaces
How often do you see in your office people charging their devices? Phones on tables, iPads in the kitchen, wires dangling everywhere? It looks untidy, and may throw up security issues if they’re unattended. More and more modern office furniture is including charging devices, using the growth of wireless technology to make working life more efficient and hassle-free. Advances in technology more recently have seen remote wireless charging come to the market. Your phone can be continually charged while you walk around your office. This will become as important as Wi-Fi internet connections in the near future. Watch this space!

The growth of greenThe-Growth-of-Green---Queens-House.jpg---blog-pic
It’s well established now that a bit of green life in the office needn’t be just about people – the general wellbeing of your team is improved with a bit of planting in the workspace, with better air quality being one measurable benefit. It’s especially important in places that don’t have views of anything green outside. The green wall we installed at Queens House, and tranquil green spaces for Rentalcars at Sunlight House show what can be done.

The floor in the plan
One of the smartest new developments we’ve seen comes from Desso, working with Dutch technology powerhouse Philips. The two have combined to develop light-transmitting carpets, where a carpet controller can select between images to display in carpet surfaces using super-thin LED panels – this can be used for functions such as directions, branding, or anything you please.
Smart glass
Not exactly a new phenomenon, but another feature that shows the increasing flexibility of the workspace – smart glass is becoming more mainstream and crucially more cost effective. At the flick of a switch, opaque glass becomes clear and you’ve opened out a meeting room being used for something discreet into an open, light space.
None of this is out of reach to the average business – the technology is there. Let’s be clear – these touches in themselves won’t transform your business. Implementing them won’t double turnover or land you a whopping new contract. But it’s about moving forward, checking what’s going on, adding things that work for you. Interesting people respond to interesting locations. And who doesn’t want to work with interesting people?
For any business mulling a tweak to their property, a refurb or of course a full-scale move – these ideas and others might breathe new life into things and help your brand evolve.