The New Rule of Office Refurbishment? Form Follows Flexibility Follows Function
Ever heard the expression “form follows function?” It’s an old design adage which means that office interiors are not designed to show off the designer’s formidable skill. They are designed based on the function they are expected to perform.
It’s an aphorism that speaks a universal truth. It makes sense, doesn’t it, that a reception desk or a workstation or an entire office refurbishment should be created from a functional point of view, because what’s the point of a piece of office design that doesn’t do its job? Elegant looks might provoke an emotional reaction in the spectator, but the smile will rub off pretty quickly if the gorgeous new chair gives you back ache or you can’t make tea in the kitchen.
In reality, form versus function is an old debate. Office design has moved on to the point where functionality isn’t really an issue. We’ve perfected the functionality of the desk, the chair and the filing cabinet. There’s not a lot an office refurbishment team can do to make a locker or a coat rack or a paper clip holder work any better than they already do. And that’s OK, because there’s a new word vying for space in the office designer’s dictionary…
Enter flexibility, function on wheels
As employees spend more and more time working from home, working on the go, working through tech, working in collaboration and across all sorts of multi-disciplinary teams, making the office refurbishment worker-friendly has become increasingly important. Employers looking to boost productivity want a flexible office refurbishment where their employees will be motivated to perform their best work, no matter where they are in the office.
Worker mobility calls for furniture with mobility.
Perch and plug stations so workers can hook up to their platforms from any space within the office fit out. Partitions that slide out of sight. Desks, tables and lounge chairs on wheels that can be pushed from one end of the office refurbishment to another at a moment’s notice. Modular conference tables and workstations, so components can be added or taken away depending upon the work being done.
Everything about this office refurbishment screams versatility.
The foundations are the same, but designers have layered flexibility into the office design to support the changing nature of work.
Is flexibility the next evolution in function? Who knows. But if you’re considering an office refurbishment, it’s worth repeating a new mantra: that form follows flexibility follows function. Because you know how your people have to work, and accommodating the diverse needs of your employees is the crux of any successful office design.