workplace design

Creating Spaces Without Walls

New design solutions for the modern office

One of the significant challenges in office design is to create the right balance between aesthetics and the need for a highly practical and functional workspace.

In every office, there’s a prerequisite to create different zones – desk areas, breakout zones, formal meeting rooms, public reception spaces - and the traditional way to do this has been through the use of walls and partitions to divide up and compartmentalise different areas.

However, recent developments by flooring manufacturers have now opened up new opportunities - to create spaces without walls, by using carpet and flooring colours, finishes and textures that seamlessly transition between the different areas of an office. It’s new, it’s exciting, and it may be the perfect solution to make the best use of your office space.

Standardisation has fostered innovation

Traditionally, flooring manufacturers viewed carpet and vinyl as apples and pears; two different surfaces, with two different uses, always separated by an abrupt trim. Recently manufacturers have wised up - why not create the option of having both carpet and vinyl surfaces in a standard 500 x 500mm tile.

Sounds pretty simple, but for office designers, it’s quite revolutionary, and opens up the opportunity to design spaces without the need for partitioned walls, in a way that wasn’t possible before.

And here’s the even better news - because all flooring surfaces can now coalesce around a standardised tile, your designer can create innovative combinations of colour, finish and texture at standard prices. In other words, you can get an imaginative and practical floor design, without additional costs to your flooring budget.    

How it works

The design concept of creating spaces without walls is to combine different flooring finishes and textures that transition seamlessly from one office area to the next. Workstation areas can be separately zoned, with walkways and thoroughfares demarcated.

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HCPproject.png

For the transition to more formal meeting areas, colour and texture can be used to create a different feel for the zone and, within meeting rooms, different colour tiles can be combined to create a distinct feeling from the rest of the office.

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When partitioning is being used for more private areas, these zones can be accentuated by floor colour. For hallways and office walls, a colour mixture can be used to make them feel more extensive and luxurious.

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HCP Project

If you would like to find out more about how creating spaces without walls could work in your office, please contact the Cityspace team on info@cityspacemanagement.co.uk.

Your three most important office decisions for 2019

It’s the beginning of the year, and a time to think ahead on the office decisions you may need to make in 2019. To help you better plan how to make your office an efficient, happy and productive environment, we’ve compiled a list of the three most essential office decisions management teams should be thinking about in the coming year.

#1 Can I fit more people into my existing office space?

The short answer is yes. You can always squeeze more people in, subject of course to any restrictions on occupational density imposed by your fire officer or landlord, or limitations on building infrastructure. However, if you want to increase your headcount without your staff starting to feel like sardines, you need to do it in the right way.

The best way to successfully increase headcount in an office is not by looking for specific gaps in your existing space where you could fit additional people in, but by thinking about the whole office space and how to use it more effectively.

This involves considering the way individuals and teams work and collaborate, or by making more intelligent use of meeting areas. For example, formal meeting rooms which are used infrequently take up a lot of floor area, space that could be used much more effectively by moving to smaller, informal meeting sites, and freeing up space for extra desks.

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The key to success is, therefore, to think about your office holistically, and make sure that the practical way you’re using the space is keeping pace with your growing headcount. If you need to increase your headcount, the team at Cityspace is here to help. All we need is your existing office floor plan, and we’re happy to meet and come up with the most practical and cost-efficient solutions for your particular circumstances.

#2 Can I change my office layout?

At the heart of every successful office is a productive workforce, in a motivational environment, designed in a way that fits the culture of the company. So a critical factor in driving this success is an office layout that brings the best out of your teams and makes the most efficient use of your office space.

The best way to increase productivity is to look at both the layout and the way that people work. For design planning, it’s looking at things like the suitability of the workstation environment, whether this workstation layout is conducive to collaboration with others, and whether both formal and informal meeting spaces are laid out and utilised most efficiently.

Regarding the way people work, more and more of our clients have been looking to increase the flexibility and productivity of their workplace through Activity Based Working (ABW). This approach explores office design in line with work culture and practices and suggests ways to improve your workspace to increase efficiency and staff wellbeing.

#3 Should I consider a new office space?

For any businesses approaching a lease expiry in 2019, a fundamental decision is whether to stay put and remodel or consider a new office space elsewhere. Before you commit to the significant expense of relocation, it may be worthwhile reviewing how your existing office space is being used.

Photo by  Fred Mouniguet  on  Unsplash

It’s worth remembering that most businesses will have occupied their current space for 5 or 10 years. While the original office design may have been perfect when you first moved in, there have been considerable advances in technology - such as smartphones, follow me printing and cloud-based file storage - all of which have impacted the way that people now work. This, in turn, creates an opportunity to rethink how you could re-use your existing space more effectively.

To help you make the right decision on how best to remodel your existing space, we can provide you with three occupational scenarios:

  1. A short-term plan offering a simple layout with minimum changes and expenditure;

  2. A maximum efficiency plan that uses space more efficiently without changing working practices and culture, and;

  3. A blue-sky thinking solution of how you could work in your current space, applying the latest thinking in office design and without any budget constraints.

If you’ve decided to move, it’s essential when evaluating potential new premises to assess whether the space suits your company’s organisational structure and working style, has flexibility for the future, and allows for any envisaged expansion. Crucially, it would be best if you also took into account the financial aspects of the building, to gauge any long-term costs associated with premises under consideration, to avoid any unpleasant (and costly) surprises down the track.

At Cityspace, we’re getting an increasing number of inquiries from clients asking us to research potential sites and costs. Using our database of over 10,000 property records, we can identify upstream opportunities of people who may be moving but have not yet told their landlord or agent. In addition to these off-market opportunities, we also have close relationships with property surveyors, who can provide details of current properties available for let or sale. To find out more, please get in touch with the Cityspace team at info@cityspacemanagement.co.uk.