Peace in a Pod

In the aftermath of Covid-19, when a major refit isn’t an option, how do you plan for the new office future?

The pandemic has changed the workspace for good. Returning to a pre-Covid normal is not an option and the number of businesses that can start again and completely refit sites are few and far between. So how do we adapt workspaces to meet post-pandemic requirements? The answer is going to lie in modularity and flexibility: furniture and spaces that can adapt by task, time, venue and user.

Make use of every corner

Meeting pods – also referred to as huddle spaces, hubs, reflection spaces – are semi-enclosed spaces to seat an individual or small groups. These pods that can play a critical role as businesses adapt to a post-Covid reality.

Having the option to use all areas of a building will be important. Social distancing places pressure on the capacity of any space. Workspaces won’t immediately return to full capacity and, as the flow of employees gradually increases, businesses will be challenged to provide spaces that work in terms of social distancing and everyday productivity.

Provide psychological and physical comfort

The immediate post-Covid office will be as much about psychological comfort as physical comfort. Health and safety concerns will be front of mind and business must ensure that hygiene measures are visible and clearly communicated. Most people have been working from home for months. They will have developed new working routines and be used to home comforts. Returning to an open office that is sterile and functional will not be appealing.

Creating areas for calm reflection and re-energising will help individuals to transition to the office environment. This does not mean designating valuable space to become ‘chill out’ zones. Instead, acoustic, semi-enclosed pods can be positioned where they are most of value so people can step away from the busy office to relax for a moment.

Meeting Pods

As greater numbers opt to work remotely, the role of the workspace will evolve toward collaboration and social functions. We will also need personal spaces that offer enough privacy but sufficient openness to not feel claustrophobic or unhygienic.

Meeting pods are specifically designed to address these modern working practices by offering that essential private area in any busy workplace to accommodate working groups with exceptional comfort and practicality. High back sofas add a new level to office and breakout seating, offering a private place for employees to sit and relax, or for teams to meet in seclusion. With optional tables and power supply, meeting pods are perfect for open space environments in offices, whilst at the same time reflecting the latest in contemporary design.

In the Social Spaces portfolio there are 3 meeting pod options available to suit all office designs and layouts. Kastaway is ideal for employees and small groups to relax or meet informally, with ribbed seating for a more homely feel and somewhere tranquil and relaxing opposed to a high-pressure environment. Alban pods can be used for team meetings, collaborative tasks or as a base for the day, and are perfect for creating a private space in modern open plan office environments. And last but not least, Encore meeting pods offer an enclosed visual and acoustic space to accommodate working groups and teams, with a choice of medium or large footprint sizes and 2, 4 or 6 seater pods.

If those same spaces double as convenient hubs for socialising so much the better. What’s needed are acoustically designed pods for the use of private calls with no interference from office noise.

Flexibility for the future

As more becomes known about coronavirus, advice to businesses is likely to change so building flexibility into any return-to-office planning is key. Space that might one day serve as a quiet area for video-conferencing can become extra seating in reception to enable guests to be managed through the building. Equally, space can be made for people to relax and take a break without having to dedicate entire rooms to such comforts.

Businesses are challenged with striking the balance between safety of employees and providing a productive environment. Cleverly designed meeting pods can provide some immediate solutions.