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MIXOLOGIST FINALIST // LEAF

MIXOLOGIST FINALIST // LEAF

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The Best Furniture For A Hybrid Working Model

Workplace Insights

November 12, 2021

Almost overnight, the way we used to work stopped. Desk workers found a new desk (their laps or kitchen tables), new colleagues (families, friends, and pets), and a new office when they began working from home. Almost 18 months later and the world of the workplace is mostly talking about how to implement hybrid working models.

If you’re wondering ‘what is hybrid working?’ then hybrid working is when a company allows its staff to work from home or in the office. On a deeper level, hybrid working is really about offering workers choice, flexibility, and autonomy to decide which environment will enable them to work most effectively on a day-to-day basis. To explore a more in-depth hybrid working meaning, then you can read more about it in What Is Hybrid Working.

Workers want a hybrid working model

According to an April 2021 study by Accenture, most employees want the future of work to be hybrid, with the ability to work remotely between 25% and 75% of the time. In fact, 83% of workers in the study said a hybrid model would be preferred.

In response to this, 66 percent of business decision-makers are considering redesigning physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments. As Microsoft said, “The data is clear: extreme flexibility and hybrid work will define the post-pandemic workplace”. With all the evidence pointing towards redesigning workspaces, then it’s important that designers and facilities managers have access to the best furniture for a hybrid working model.

What furniture to use for a hybrid working model

A truly enriching workspace that can accommodate a variety of tasks will offer a variety of zones to work from including the following:

  • Collaboration spaces
  • Quiet areas
  • Quick meeting spots
  • Tech touchdown areas
  • Focus zones

Here’s how furniture can subtly indicate what each space is best used for.

Collaboration spaces

When a software company did a survey asking, ‘what’s your biggest struggle with working remotely?’, 16% of people said ‘difficulties with collaboration and communication. When workers are in the office and want to connect with colleagues face to face, it’s important that you can accommodate lots of people in that space.

For those ‘everyone gather round!’ brainstorming sessions, you can’t beat a simple, comfortable, easy-to-move Cube pouffe stool. Cube doesn’t take up much space yet offers additional seating whenever it’s needed.

1000X1000 Toothepicnic Cube

An essential item in every office, yet so often poorly made and cheap looking, the Owl offers a modern, minimalist, and sleek upgrade to the classic whiteboard and flip chart combo. A paper roller can be fitted and flipped over the top of the whiteboard, or simply grab an drywipe pen and start scribbling ideas as colleagues shout them out.

UIL Scrumboard (2)

Having an open and equal eyeline is a helpful way to ensure that everyone feels included when sharing ideas. Slim is a comfortable upholstered bench, inviting anyone to sit. To support the hybrid working model, Harvard Business Review confirmed that studies have long shown that frequent in-person interactions lead to commitment, support, and cooperation among people on teams.

1000X1000 Toothepicnic Slim 2 (1)

For those smaller collaboration spaces, Connected is a 4-person meeting booth with a central table. It gives each worker their own seat, yet the ability to unite over sharing the same table. You can specify different heights for Connected too, depending on how private you want the space to be.

1000X1000 Tooapicnic Connecting Table + Chill+

Quiet areas

According to Oscar Acoustics, only 22% of us seem to think that our workplace is well designed to help mitigate noise levels. Whilst employees may head into the office to catch up with colleagues, it’s essential that they’re equipped with quiet, private spaces to take a phone call, video conference, or simply focus on work, in peace.

Spacious, ventilated, acoustic, and sustainably made out of 800 recycled plastic bottles, Persy One is an office must-have. The recycled plastic bottles offer exceptional soundproof qualities; the 4 fans power cold air in and 3 fans pull warm air out of the booth; and for every booth sold, 10 trees get planted in the Amazon rainforest.

Persy One (6) (1)

Ideal for one person, Niche offers subtle privacy by being enclosed on 3 sides yet doesn’t separate you from the rest of the office. Complete with your own personal lamp, plug sockets, lumbar support, padded sound-absorbing sides, and personal desk, all workers will need is their laptop.

1000X1000 Niche 130 Lamp (1)

Rather than having to step outside to take a quick phone call, TOOthePHONE encourages employees to simply step away from their desk and take have a quick chat in this booth. And at less than 90cm wide, it doesn’t take up much room wherever it’s placed.

1000X1000 Toothephone

To minimise distractions and unwanted noise, Only is a compact work pod with 3 enclosed sides as well as a soundproof ceiling. It’s modular, providing the option of a whole row of quiet work pods, or placed back to back. Only offers a modest depth of 72cm, so it makes a great accompaniment to a variety of other work zones, without being too obtrusive.

1000X1000 Toothebooth (1)

Quick meeting spots

Employees miss seeing their colleagues in person, and the opportunity for social interaction is a key driver for people’s decision to go into the office when guidelines allow. For the majority, 65%, socialising is what they miss most when they work remotely (source: Workplace Insight, February 2021).

For a quick meeting that doesn’t require a whole meeting room, Hide offers the perfect solution. Space for two, private yet not fully enclosed, acoustic sides and a small desk for a cup of coffee, it

1000X1000 Toothepicnic Hide 160

When absolute privacy is required, then Persy Four is the meeting booth to use. Ideal for hybrid working models as it has space for a television and camera screen, so that employees can speak with those working away from the office. Comfortably seating four people, the 5 layers of soundproofing materials – including recycled plastic bottles - are nestled amongst 8cm thick walls. With 8 fans powering in cold air and 6 fans removing warmer air, employees will feel comfortable for the duration of their meeting.

Persy Four (2) (1)

The workspace provides the opportunity for employees to bump into one another and catch up with colleagues they’ve possibly not seen for over a year. Chat is a two-person meeting pod, perfect for grabbing a quick coffee and sharing updates.

1000X1000 Toothebooth Chat 2

Tech touchdown areas

In an April 2021 study, Accenture found technology drives 27% of people to want to work onsite, closely followed by 25% of people saying they want to see their colleagues in person.

Adaptable furniture is a great way to support hybrid working models. With Solo, you can adjust the table height and depth, offering better flexibility and personalisation for employees. What’s more the booth has a plug power socket and USB port, so that laptops and phones can remain fully charged at all times.

1000X1000 Solo 135 (1)

Working in a pair? Face to Face is an upgrade from Solo, in that it’s two booths opposite each other. It’s another piece of modular furniture, ideal for hybrid working models as it can be pushed back to back with other tech-enabled booths, or side by side to create space for larger groups to work together.

1000X1000 Toothelounge Face To Face 135 100 (1)

Focus zones

For many workers, having to work from home proved incredibly difficult. Either their location was too noisy, there were too many distractions, or the environment just wasn’t suitable for producing work. According to Amplivox, when in the office 20% of European workers are exposed to noise that’s so loud they need to raise their voice to talk to others. Not just occasionally, but for 50% or more of their time at work, so it’s imperative that there are dedicated focus zones in the office too.

Throne is a one-person acoustic seat that clearly signals ‘I’m focusing on my work’. These soft seating units have 9 different height and width options, to offer varying levels of privacy.

1000X1000 Tooapicnic Hide 160 Cozy (1)

The side screens of Booth offer a private working spot, with an adjustable table (both height and depth) plug sockets and USB ports, so anyone working here can charge their laptops and phones. The back support is angled to provide comfort whilst working for longer periods of time too.

1000X1000 Booth Toothelounge (2) (1)

There’s been a huge emphasis on wellbeing in the workplace recently, especially as mental health charity Mind confirmed that at least 1 in 6 workers experience common mental health problems including anxiety and depression. As workers navigate hybrid working models, it’s worth providing quiet areas for people to work in, take a moment to relax and recharge, or simply spend ten minutes away from their desk.

Providing a zen space, Relax is considered a relaxation pod due to its informal layout and lack of desk. The enclosed space protects employees from the surrounding hustle and bustle, whilst the padded walls and ceiling soundproof the pod to enable quiet work if needed.

1000X1000 Toothebooth Relax 2

It may take a bit of creative thinking, but with the right furniture, it’s easy to adapt offices for hybrid working models. For more information on any of the products listed above, get in touch with us at design@agilita.co.uk or give us a ring on 020 3948 9349.

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