There are many indications that the pandemic has severely “remodelled” the office work market. The largest open spaces will soon change into something far more intimate, and we will only come to work occasionally. How to furnish an office in this new reality?
Even when the pandemic is over, the “epidemiological caution” and the habits acquired over the past several months will remain with us. The hygiene restrictions in place in offices today will mean that these spaces will change their character for longer, and the work being done because of the coronavirus in home office mode will likely evolve into hybrid work, as office workers become more comfortable with performing professional duties remotely than they did before COVID-19. Offices will not simply be a collection of workstations for people employed by a company. They will primarily become meeting places (for projects, business, training, recruitment and other purposes) and special zones (such as the deep work zone). Thoughtful reorganisation and the use of innovative, versatile solutions, such as the multifunctional Hush booths, is the right direction – for now and for the near future.
What office workers missed the most during the period of forced remote working was not having to wake up in the morning, face traffic jams or fight uneasily against the distracting noise of open space. The home office is an imperfect system primarily because of limited contact with people and the difficulty of meeting them. Hybrid working exploits the advantages of a “home office” where professional duties are performed on a daily basis, enriching this with regular company meetings that satisfy project needs, move work forward, integrate the team, etc. The office space must be adapted to this situation. Employees who show up there from time to time will not come to sit at their desks. They will need a comfortable meeting place – of varying nature and numbers. One meeting room is not enough. A comfortable and practical solution is office acoustic enclosures.
HUSH booths successfully host intimate informal meetings as well as official, multi-person corporate gatherings. They can be used for professional videoconferencing, internal training, recruitment interviews, brainstorming sessions, project meetings… Even a small office equipped with such booths gains a lot of comfortable meeting space. These are ergonomic solutions that take up little space, but are designed for maximum comfort inside. Each booth is like a separate, independent room (mobile in the case of many models) – with power, its own lighting, ventilation, Internet access, friendly finishes and comfortable furnishings. The individual models have their own purpose, but offer plenty of flexibility in application. The booths can be arranged as you wish, so for example the largest one can be a conference room as well as an office or let’s say a chillout room.
In addition to this largest option, offices should also have smaller booths – for meetings in smaller groups (even two people). After all, there is not always a need to discuss things with the whole team. Both soundproof closed booths and open variants, which do not completely isolate acoustically from the surroundings, but provide a “cosy” space for non-confidential conversations, are ideal for this purpose.
Space for deep work
As part of the hybrid working model, in addition to comfortable meeting spaces, it’s worth providing special zones in the office – ones that can be difficult for employees to find when they work from home. These include ideal conditions for the most difficult tasks which require the so-called deep work (i.e. maximum undisturbed concentration and very high intellectual effort, uninterrupted by the surroundings). The best place for this is in an acoustic booth for individual, concentrated work. They offer great ergonomic comfort and complete silence inside. They make it easy to disengage from distractions of all kinds and take on the most demanding tasks. They can allow access to the Internet or remain a digital dead zone which is necessary for some workers to undertake deep work.
Booths of this type do not take up much more space than standard office workstations, which is why some desks in open space can easily be replaced with such booths – in a single version (slightly larger and designed for long hours of work, with an ergonomic desk and a comfortable office chair) or a double version (smaller, designed for shorter periods of work, equipped with a couch and a tabletop).
Hush – in the office and at home
With the hybrid working system staying with us for longer, if not forever, it’s worth thinking about rearranging offices, but also thinking about “office equipment” at home. Before the pandemic, a piece of table in the kitchen was enough to send a quick e-mail, for example. For longer work, most of us would spread out on the couch – with the laptop on our laps. Now it’ s necessary to take care of a real “working corner” at home. If you don’t have a study where you can disconnect from family matters for the duration of your professional work, a Hush booth may be the optimal solution. A desk and chair placed in the living room or bedroom do not usually prove successful.