Why we need to create connected spaces

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Jason Holmes, Head of Textile Design at Forbo Flooring Systems

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With growing interest in the way physical spaces influence workers’ ability to collaborate, office design is increasingly emphasising informal environments that encourage effective communication. When it comes to workspace design, many researchers seem to agree on the positive impact of face-to-face and informal interactions – and it’s not hard to understand why. Face-to-face interactions can provide distinct connections and opportunities for information exchange, collaboration, networking and problem-solving.

But that’s not all, studies also show that the interior of a working environment can influence employee’s concentration, privacy and creativity, which directly affects their health, mental well-being and cognitive performance.

With this in mind, it is important to design offices from a holistic point of view. And while there are many different layouts that can be adopted for a collaborative workspace, open plan offices remain the most popular. However, even the open plan format continues to evolve; taking on a new style, which is similar to those found at home, where people connect and spend time with family and friends. Within these new open plan spaces, we are finding break out areas, kitchens, meeting spaces and working stations, all of which have their own unique identity, yet need to be connected seamlessly.

For example, in the kitchen areas, companies are trying to establish them as the ‘heart of the office’ where people can connect with one another and in break out areas, they are morphing into living room like styles, where people can go to relax, unwind and speak more openly with their colleagues.

In fact, the trend of de-formalising an office is now key to ensuring stress free environments and less structured areas with softer designs and non-corporate styles, which can blur the boundaries between work and life.

Relaxed environments can be created by using eclectic mixes of non-traditional office furnishing, allowing choice and freedom in a variety of working areas. What’s more, providing employees with choices of where to work and/or relax is crucial for increased employee engagement and this can not be done with traditional static desk arrangements. Soft partitioning and movable furniture are increasing in popularity as these items can be adapted by the users to create engaging and desirable destination workspaces, that will retain productivity whilst increase the levels of collaboration and innovation.

In addition to exploring the actual layout of an office space, careful flooring specification can also help to deliver a multipurpose space that encourages connected working. There are floor coverings available on the market that have been designed to work alongside each other, in order to develop fully integrated flooring schemes.

For example, throughout walkways, breakout areas or even kitchen facilities, where a practical and durable product is required, floorcoverings such as loose lay luxury vinyl tiles can withstand the heavy footfall and can be cleaned easily, all while having the ability to be installed alongside carpet tiles, which might be required in the adjoining working areas or meeting rooms, where a warmer, comfortable floor covering is needed.

Carpet tiles are actually one of the most effective office solutions, as the modular format lends itself to a quicker installation time and allows office plans to be easily adapted for future requirements, to aid the ever-evolving workspace.

What’s more, the design of carpet tiles is evolving constantly too, to not only reflect interior trends, but also the trend of encouraging effective communication. In fact, Forbo’s new Tessera Nexus collection has been conceived as a flexible tool to help unite multi-purpose spaces into one interconnected whole.

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Featuring a subtle linear base overlaid with a soft kinetic silhouette, Tessera Nexus reflects the changing focus of the workplace. Drawing together simple colours, elements and tones, the collection gives designers the freedom to create connections across the interior – subtly linking spaces for quiet reflection or group collaboration.

For more information on the Tessera Nexus, Click Here