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The redistributed office; working through the new normal

06 . 07 . 2020

Over the last couple of months, the design industry has been busy evaluating the altered landscape of our workplace and the results are still somewhat incomplete as we manage the return to work under the ever-present shadow of a COVID-19 second wave.

What we do know is that many businesses are using this as an opportunity to explore workplace models that consider a more flexible and responsive environment. Surprisingly many businesses have surveyed their staff and found that over 75% would prefer to work from home or have a number of designated days working from home. Businesses have found that productivity hasn’t dropped as expected and therefore this is prompting a major rethink of the office environment. 

Recently Woods Bagot’s director Amanda Stanaway posted a research article on LinkedIn entitled ‘Where do we work from here’, which proposed new ways of working and behavioural and cultural opportunities and changes. A critical factor for most businesses is to remain flexible giving people choices within their work environment. Woods Bagot has imagined a range of different cultural workplace typologies that their clients could consider.

1. The Culture Club - A collaborative space where people come together with the specific intention of sharing ideas and interacting.

2. Agile workplaces that have different start times flexible days shared workspaces and working from home.

3. Community nodes or satellite workspaces where the office is decentralised and smaller hubs closer to where people live is created.

4. Collectives, discrete teams working within smaller studio spaces in order to reduce the footprint of large office spaces.

The new models change current design thinking around large open plan offices and shared workspaces. In the short-term, workplaces are introducing floor stickers and rather unattractive acrylic screens attached to desks and retail counters but the longer-term planning opens up opportunities for creatively reconfiguring the workplace.

At Planex we thought about this long before COVID-19 hit as re-use and re-purpose are integral to the remit for the xLocker2 design. This Australian designed and manufactured locker system allows you to disassemble and re-locate your lockers to another area on the floor or another building or another state - a paradigm shift whereby an architecturally refined product becomes a valuable asset rather than an immovable piece for joinery; a distressed asset.

Recently Deloittes commissioned Planex to move their xLocker2 system from Melbourne to a satellite office in Sydney as they prepare for new return to work arrangements as restrictions ease post the first wave of COVID-19.

The xLocker2 system has been designed to be free-standing and does not require an alcove or a wall. In fact, you can use the system to divide the office space and provide secure storage for your staff. Recently KHID nailed this concept by using the lockers within a corporate Melbourne fit out to create privacy and anchor points in an open plan office.  This reduced the number of people having to access locker banks in central areas thus maintaining social distancing.

We have also developed mobile locker systems that can be used to divide spaces and increase social distancing by alternating locker doors back/front. This system is flexible, reconfigurable and able to adapt to the evolving workplace.

Planex has, for many years, been the go-to manufacturer of storage systems for agile workplaces. We are here to help you reconfigure your workplace of the future. Our products can move and adapt with you. In this time of reappraisal of the workplace, we need to think about the future - less churn, less landfill, select products that can work with you. Let’s use this opportunity to put sustainability first, choose quality products that are locally designed and manufactured and have peace of mind with guaranteed supply.