A Cure for the Cookie-Cutter Office Interior Blues

A Cure for the Cookie-Cutter Office Interior Blues on compass-office.com

A modular approach to office interior construction doesn’t mean prefab cheap and tacky.

There’s only one thing about which you can be sure in the world of business. It’s unpredictable. Your company can have exponential growth, followed by crazy contraction. There used to be only two kinds of office interior design and construction in the world of business. Permanent and expensive. Or, temporary modular approaches that were, well… cheap and ugly.

The temporary modular approach often won. It’s not because business owners didn’t want to create attractive office spaces. Conventional office design and construction costs a lot to put up. Ditto to take down. Office managers everywhere dreamed of the day when modular design and construction finally found a way to shed the reputation of prefab cheap and tacky. It finally has.

The great turn-around

Nobody argues the benefits of interior office construction using prefabricated modules. You can use it to beat the odds of an unknowable future by staying flexible and agile. There are additional benefits. Today’s most innovative companies have realized that office design must support collaborative group environments. Gone are the days of one person per cubicle.

The need for companies to continually reconfigure office areas has pushed the modular office systems industry to reinvent themselves. They’ve pushed style and functionality to the front. Now you can get designs that rival those of permanent and far more expensive office environments.

Millennials and mobility

The way offices operate has changed our need for interior design and construction. Remember the days when the average office was more like a fortress? Executives had big, private spaces around the perimeter. Everybody else lived in “cubicle-ville” in the middle. It was as far away as possible from actual windows and natural light. Views? Collaborative open spaces? Flexibility? No way.

The Millennials are putting an end to that draconian layout. The C-suite perimeter offices are disappearing. Walls are coming down. Rigid layouts duplicated through a building are banished. Millennials aren’t going away. In less than a decade, they’ll make up 75% of the workforce.

It’s no surprise that Millennials are having a huge impact on how offices are designed. They want sustainable materials crafted to create a laid back environment. The furniture has to be adaptable and portable. And, it has to be high quality. They want these things because it makes them more productive and innovative. Millennials prefer to hang out in café-like settings or lounge areas. You won’t catch them in workstations unless they’ve been glued to their seats. They need an office design that works with the mobile technology they’ve been using since they were children.

Mobility is shrinking the average office. A study by Gartner Group (a global technology research firm) shows that today’s office employee spends just 40% of their time at a desk. They’re spending even more time collaborating with others. Tasks they’d do alone have decreased by 20%.

Less is more

Today’s office workers don’t need big workspaces. Most, especially Millennials, don’t even want a big workspace. Another contribution to the workspace size contraction rate is the acceleration of smaller office equipment. Remember those big computer monitors with tubes in them? Often, that was the reason for the depth of a cubicle. File cabinets filled with manila folders and paper? Hold it down…Millennials everywhere are starting to laugh.

When you take all of these changing needs into consideration, it’s no wonder that the concept of modular office interior design found itself recycled and repositioned for prime time. Modular interior construction helps companies stay nimble. Expansion or contraction is easy. Interchangeable parts make fast work of migrating a group to a different floor. Or, maybe even a different building.

Much of the makeup of these modular parts has become simplified. There’s far less need for wiring. You’ll need power to charge your mobile devices, but you probably don’t need to worry about all the rest of those computer cables that used to snake out of the dropped ceiling and down into each cubicle.

There’s a diminished need to make “boss-size” versus “employee-size” versions of things. Combining modules can create offices and conference rooms. Spaces now serve several uses. Flexibility helps companies keep the upper hand. That’s the beauty of modular interior construction. Companies can now use it to create workplaces that facilitate movement and collaboration.

Who would have thought you could accomplish this with prefab? Maybe we should banish that word. It may never get over its bad rep. From now on, it’s modular thinking.