The growing popularity of open plan offices has led to a shift in the approach of workplace interior design. Whilst these fluid spaces are more affordable they still require thoughtful layout planning, and without the presence of walls to separate working areas there is now a demand to reimagine how we differentiate between these zones. This includes the utilisation of ceiling space to enhance the change in purpose and atmosphere.
Both managers and designers are now recognising the benefits of an inspiring workplace interior to the well-being of workers. Not only does thoughtful office design have an impact on staff retention, it also increases productivity and the general health of the space’s users. Particularly in recent years, designers have been developing this thought process and approaching office design in a new and exciting way. The focus has shifted slightly so that a balance between office culture and productivity levels can be achieved. They are also recognising the needs of the individual, and understand that whether you are an extrovert or an introvert a workplace should enable all employees to thrive.
The idea of creating a ‘palette of places’ is becoming increasingly popular, in other words splitting up the workplace into zones that each has a different mood and purpose. In the past office design was geared more towards one way of working, but now more and more companies are acknowledging the need for catering to diverse working styles. Introducing ‘zones’ allows each team member to choose and move between areas depending on their personality and task. Even within an entirely open-plan space, interior design can be used to split up the workplace in an extremely effective way.
There are four main areas to address when choosing the kinds of ‘zones’ to incorporate in a workspace. These are collaboration, quiet, fun and private. For example, managers and designers should consider a quiet area for focused working, open workspace to support communication, meeting rooms, breakout areas, space for flexible working, and a sanctuary for confidential conversations. These zones work across a spectrum of different working styles and address the importance of staff well-being.
It’s important that the atmosphere of each zone links with its purpose. This can be achieved through the use of key design elements to differentiate and enhance particular areas within an interior. Utilising ceiling space is perhaps the most space-efficient and striking method, with the option of incorporating feature panels and feature beams that have the visual and acoustic impact needed to signal that shift in purpose.
Introducing feature ceilings in the workspace allows you to maintain that light, open, freeing feel of an open-plan design and makes use of space that would otherwise have no interest or character. With no need for walls or partitions to dictate where a new space has begun, you’re left with more space to play with at ground level plus a stunning feature that both staff and guests will enjoy.
The Maxibeam system lends itself superbly to this application, with an array of standard heights and an almost limitless number of combinations of spacings and finishes available. You can use Maxibeam to create a huge impact in specific areas or you can mix between spacings and finishes in order to identify when a new zone has begun – or simply add interest and an element of fun. These lightweight beams can also benefit from great acoustic performance by adding absorbent backing, making them ideal for spaces where collaboration and interaction are encouraged.