Our idea of space is evolving. From social distancing protocols to the bifurcated workforce, we’ve been asked a question: what do we need from our workplace? The answer, according to furniture design firm Corporate Concepts, is flexibility. We spoke with Corporate Concepts’ Catie Kill, Director of Market Strategy to unpack why flexibility is vital, and the role of design in achieving it.
Designing for Togetherness
“Our industry is reimagining the workplace as a whole, and furniture is just one piece of that,” says Kill. “We’re hearing that working from home isn’t as effective as going into the office — we’ve gotten a healthy dose of reality that we are social beings, and we want to collaborate with others — so people are looking at the workplace as a gathering space.”
“On that note,” Kill goes on to say, “we’re starting to see people offering their workforce a place to come together just as they had before, playing around with how space can be flexible, shared and used for collaboration. Overall, people want an office they feel safe in, but they’re also going into the office for that social interaction. That’s why we’re seeing a push to explore how flexible design can enable these solutions.”
Coming Back with Confidence
Flexible solutions are necessary because as the saying goes, one size doesn’t fit all. “With any design project, each company will have highly unique needs, and this rings evermore true when planning a space in the COVID-19 age. Right now, companies are utilizing surveys to gather responses from their employees asking what they need to feel comfortable and happy in the workplace — and this is a great way to remind employees that they have influence on how their workspace can best serve them, from how they want to collaborate to how they want to take client meetings,” says Kill.
This flexibility in choice is essential. Irvine Company is also making sure our building customers can Come Back With Confidence by providing the necessary resources and information needed to feel supported and successful, no matter how and when customers choose to return.
Meanwhile, for those reimagining their office, Irvine Company offers Flex Workspace+, highly adaptable, HQ-quality space with short-term lease options. Each suite is equipped with ancillary furnishing, which provides an essential design foundation while still leaving room for customers to curate the space to their unique needs.
“Helping customers imagine themselves in that space is important, and that’s something Irvine Company does well,” says Kill. “Emily Kream [Director, Construction and Design] and Emily Fairfield [Assistant Construction Manager] are both incredibly talented at what they do, and work with a variety of architects to create designs solutions that make the space feel unique, without making it feel too specific to any type of client. This leaves room for flexibility in design that really resonates with customers.”
From there, customers can work with furniture vendors like Corporate Concepts to add the finishing touches that create a truly custom space. “And here’s where the notion of flexibility and choice comes back into play,” says Kill. “Manufacturers such as Knoll offer kit-of-parts solutions, which allow customers to install modules that are easy to reconfigure down the road, whether that’s adding or removing screen dividers, or creating a variety of work stations to meet customers’ (and their employees’) unique needs.”
As the world around us changes, the design world is keeping pace, staying ready to provide solutions that are adaptive, personal and — above all else — flexible. And Irvine Company is here along the way to help guide our customers through the process, ensuring we navigate this time together with ease and success.