Focus on Multipurpose: How to Promote a Flexible Office Space

September 1, 2022

Whilst open and flexible workspaces promote creativity, collaboration and more personal freedom, also creates acoustic challenges. In this article, we discuss this evolved trend and how Rockfon® Hub can help.

Rockfon Hub

Rockfon® Hub with Rockfon Color-all® tiles in colour "Fresh"

Why Do We Need a Flexible Office Place?

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated demand for open and flexible offices, as more companies have recognised the benefits of a more creative and collaborative environment. Rows of identical desks squeezed together, at a time of super-charged awareness of hygiene and respiratory transmission is not an attractive proposition for workers.

Whether large or small, offices are destination venues, whose success is determined by the in-office culture and physical environment.  Commuting to work five days a week to sit at a desk all day makes little sense to many people. If organisations want their offices to provide a feel-good factor, a place to carry out individual tasks in their safe corners, a place to meet co-workers, exchange ideas and to drive the business forward, they need to adopt the flexible office.

Today’s multipurpose building interiors are vibrant, fluid spaces designed to change their form and function to suit the occupants — one minute a zone for focus, the next an open space for collaboration.

Jesper Wolff

Product Design Manager at Rockfon

What Is A Flexible Workplace?

A flexible office layout provides office workers with a variety of choices regarding where and how they get their work done. Whether you need to work privately, require group collaboration, need a formal or informal meeting, flexible workspaces can adapt to your requirements. Rather than permanent desks, people can reserve a hot desk and come into the office and plug in when they need to.

A concurrent trend of the “hotelisation” of office spaces—where more home comforts like soft furnishing and real planting have been imported into the interior design to make spaces feel more comfortable and homely—is helpful in a post-pandemic world. Interior fittings such as suspended room dividers, desk dividers, shelving and other furniture subtly creates a physical separation between people.

What Are The Benefits Of A Flexible Workspace?

An Opportunity To Increase Productivity

A shocking statistic from McKinsey’s in its recent research showed that 45% of employees reported working more productively when working remotely during the pandemic than when in the office. There will be many reasons for this, but we know for a fact that excessive noise in an open plan office is one of them. Excessive noise increases stress levels by 27% and decreases employee focus by 48%. Alongside controlled lighting and temperature, a flexible workplace has controlled noise levels and privacy to optimise the atmosphere for comfort and productivity. 

A Way To Facilitate Hybrid Working

For many companies, hybrid working is here to stay. At the beginning of 2020, only 5% of work hours in America were spent at home. By spring 2020 this had risen to 60% and as at October 2021, that figure was still at 40%. A study across six countries shows that whilst 44% of senior executives want to get back to the office full time, only 17% of their staff wanted to. It is clear that companies are going to have do more to entice their workers back in.

Fostering A Culture of Sustainability

Companies who adopt flexible offices and accommodate hybrid working are provided with an opportunity to downsize, saving money with a smaller real estate footprint and requiring less energy for lighting, heating, and cooling.

‘Today’s multipurpose building interiors are vibrant, fluid spaces designed to change their form and function to suit the occupants — one minute a zone for focus, the next an open space for collaboration. With this kind of fluidity in mind, Rockfon set out to design solutions for today’s multipurpose interiors. Taking a holistic design approach, we wanted to incorporate future flexibility so that our solutions could be continually updated to address new trends, functionality or occupant needs,’ said Jesper Wolff, Product Design Manager at Rockfon.

Introducing Rockfon Hub: A Unique Space-In-Space Platform

First of its kind, Rockfon Hub is an innovative acoustic ceiling island designed to meet the demands of open, fluid spaces. The flexible design allows you to create different acoustic zones or hubs suitable for different purposes — from productive workstations to meeting areas, or lounges for relaxed conversations. 

Instead of hard walls, Rockfon Hub suspended islands can be curtained off to bring visual privacy when needed. It comes in a selective palette of designer colours — from biophilic greens to deep blue, cool grey or crisp white. You can style the frames with a felt cover and integrate lighting and your choice of curtains to complement your design. Rockfon Hub comes as a plug-and-play kit so is simple to install and it comes with onsite support from Rockfon.

‘Rockfon Hub brings re-usable, multipurpose flexibility to your interiors by creating breakout spaces where people can think, work or talk to suit their needs. Rockfon Hub is also budget competitive and offers scope for companies to invest in additional measures to optimize the room for well-being and design,’ said Jörg Kaufung, Product Manager at Rockfon

Learn more about Rockfon® Hub