Workspace Trends #1 – Pop-Up Teams

Over the next few months we are going to post a series of blogs on some of the trends that we are seeing in workspace design and the world of work. This week, we start with pop-up teams.

For many organisations, the layout and space planning of their workspace is a constraint. It involves lots of heavy, single-purpose furniture and built-in IT infrastructure…none of which is very movable or flexible. But increasingly, many organisations are wanting to pull together multi-disciplinary teams for short projects or programmes.

The challenge is how to design spaces, furniture and infrastructure that is flexible, mobile and can be just as quickly formed as it is broken-up for the next use.

Furniture manufacturers have responded strongly over recent years to provide collaborative furniture. Many of these products integrate technology together with working areas and provide a great space for teams to come together.

Steelcase Media:Scape Furniture

For example, the media:scape furniture from Steelcase

However, these still don’t enable a more dynamic movement of people and teams in a working environment.

There seem to be some moves to address this trend.  So there are furniture systems like Hack from Vitra.  These desks not only respond to a more of a ‘pop-up’ aesthetic but also give flexibility and reconfigurability of use. The desks can be folded-up and packed away in storage if not needed. They can be configured for a variety of uses from sitting or standing work to a meeting area to storage.

Vitra Hack

Hack by Vitra

The other design issue is around acoustic screening and demarkation of space. Again, there are a range of products on the market providing mobile and flexible screens.


Tres sound absorbing workstation screens

The final part of the challenge is IT and infrastructure. Wifi has already given significant mobility but the current trend is around content sharing. Technologies like Enzo and Clickshare are all about being able to quickly share content in groups.

So many of the products to help increase flexibility and mobility are there which can allow pop-up teams to be created. The next step is probably organisational to make these teams come together and work quickly, effectively and collaboratively.  That is more of a people-problem but the platform can be created.



David Watts

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