The modular office has its roots in the “action office” of the 1960s. That concept re-imagined what an office could be and proposed the use of modular components that would give managers the ability to quickly reconfigure open work spaces in order to optimize productivity. It turned out to be an idea that was ahead of its time and was largely ignored by the business community, although we’re reasonably certain you have heard of its unintended offspring: the cubicle.
While the cubicle was busy conquering the business world, convention centres and museums were leading the way in using prefabricated modular wall systems to repurpose space. They discovered what would soon become apparent to office managers: modular solutions made sense.
Today, the modular wall system has expanded beyond the grand galleries of the Met and the floor of your local convention centre to become an integral part of the contemporary business world. Advances in design and construction over the past 20 years have turned the puffy grey slabs of the 80s into architectural components that embrace the possibilities of your entire workspace: door to door, window to window, ceiling to floor.
Modular Wall Systems – Setting Trends, Responding to Your Needs
Today’s demountable wall systems both drive and respond to many of 2015’s most important business trends, such as…
- Integrating Senior Management Into the General Work Environment – Upper management has traditionally operated in a different world than the rest of the company. Today, however, the walls are literally coming down as more and more members of the senior staff join the rank and file in open plan spaces and find that regular interaction with the those who grease the wheels of the organization is both refreshing and vital to their company’s well-being.
- Revisiting And Adapting Concepts From the “Active Office” – When the architects of the active office suggested it would be good for employee health and morale to spend part of the day working in a standing position they were laughed at. Today we know they were on to something and the next generation of modular walls may well include the ability to transform your workstation from horizontal to vertical orientation at just the push of a button or flip of a switch.
- Incorporating Health and Fitness As Part of The Natural Workflow – The data indicating the detrimental effects of a sedentary work life has been piling up for several decades. In response, modular wall systems are increasingly being used to not only carve out effective work space but also to integrate exercise and relaxation areas into the natural flow of the office environment.
- Greater Integration of Natural Light – If you have ever worked in a cubicle yourself you have probably experienced their tendency to blot out the natural world. For a lot of people they say goodbye to the sun the minute they settle in at their desk and don’t see it again until they go out for lunch. To offset this unhappy reality modular wall systems increasingly incorporate glass panels in their design in order to ensure maximum penetration of sunlight into the office interior.
- Pink Noise – A common complaint of cubicle occupants for years has been noise drifting into their space from all directions. Not only does this noise affect concentration but studies have shown that the inability to determine where a certain voice or sound is coming from can increase your stress level and leave you feeling disoriented. “Pink noise” is composed of white noise calibrated to the frequencies of normal human speech. When introduced into your work environment it acts as a type of audio scrambler reducing both the amount and type of ambient noise you are subjected to and making it more difficult for others to hear your conversations. Modular wall designers are becoming increasingly adept at fashioning spaces that maximize the potential of this technology.
Above all else today’s architectural walls allow you to refine your space in a way that makes sense for your business. While in the past your office options consisted of whether you wanted a wood or metal desk today’s modular wall systems impact your business in a variety of ways, from more effective management of office traffic to mitigation of environmental noise to encouraging the cross-pollination of ideas.
As you continue to look for ways to take advantage of the possibilities presented by today’s modular walls you can do so knowing that they represent the leading edge of logistical office-solutions technology designed to be…
- Economical – Not only are demountable wall systems more affordable today than at any time in the past, due to ongoing advances in their design and construction they are also more flexible than ever before and will allow you to reconfigure and repurpose your space without worrying how you will accommodate technological advances or existing infrastructure.
- Sustainable – Each successive generation of modular walls incorporate the newest advances in green technology and construction methods. Your employees will appreciate the practical and aesthetic properties your architectural walls present them and the environment will no longer be saddled with tons of refuse every time you decide to rearrange your office.
- Adaptable – With ever increasing numbers of people moving to urban areas and working in offices few technological advances of the past half century have been as needed or as welcome as the modular wall system for workspaces. Where once there was rigidity, confinement and expense today there is flexibility, openness and savings. Where once there were limited possibilities today you are limited only by your imagination.
It has been clear for decades that cubicle farms are not the answer to the question: “How do I make my office operate more efficiently and effectively?” The emergence of the flexible workspace, driven by advances in modular wall technology has freed minds and released pent up creative possibilities in companies the world over. The newest trends in modular wall systems look to expand on the advances of the recent past by integrating third party technological advances as well as advances in knowledge regarding employee safety and health.