2013 Trends

Great looking and affordable movable wall solutions

The popularity of open office designs notwithstanding; clearly there are instances where they do not add value. For example, research has indicated that there is an idea that openness feeds interaction, but where that happens is in the hallways and coffee bar, exactly where it should happen.

There is no doubt that open office designs prove their worth in workspaces that require teamwork and collaboration. But studies show privacy can improve productivity for task-intensive knowledge workers. Because of this and other reasons, leading edge companies are blending open plans with private offices. This trend is expected to accelerate as menial office tasks are automated. Moreover, companies are increasingly aware that skilled knowledge workers are not in unlimited supply. Companies viewing skilled personnel as a valued resource provide the facilities that attract the right people, and then support their contribution to the success of the organization.

Movable wall systems are a key element to knowledge worker satisfaction and productivity. They solve the privacy issues necessary for thinking, but without imparting a feeling of isolation. They enable employees to add their own touches to the workplace and create a home away from home. Structural elements liberally enhanced with colors, textures, coordinated work surfaces, cabinetry, shelving and technology support typify the worker-friendly approach to movable full-wall office systems. Supplementing these features is the flexibility to reconfigure the office space to accommodate moves, add-ons and changes.

In our discussions with new projects, movable floor-to-ceiling wall systems are based on a modular design and we at M/W International provide guidelines to help office managers and planners make educated purchasing decisions. Our strategic discussions include detailing first costs and lifetime costs, cable management, construction details, privacy and other concerns impacting the purchasing decision. Clients and designers are looking at the big picture over time and coming to the conclusion that demountable and movable walls offer long-term solutions with added flexibility.

THE EVOLUTION OF THE WALL

Office privacy was synonymous with inflexibility. Private offices were largely constructed of drywall or sheet rock over metal studding and firmly attached to floor and ceiling structural members. Construction and subsequent remodeling created dust, paint fumes, aggravations, lost productivity, missed opportunities and work disruptions as employees moved to a temporary location. New drywall construction or rebuilds are costly and difficult to manage because they can involve as many as six or seven trades ranging from common labor through painting, plastering, electrical and communications workers. Moreover, as landfills close, disposal costs are increasing for old plasterboard and studding.

Trendy & Stylish Movable Wall Solution

Wall systems are more than walls. They provide beauty, function and versatility while complimenting the entire work area including those built on the open office plan. Because they are installed primarily to meet the privacy and productivity needs of task-intensive knowledge workers, they incorporate standards-compliant cable management systems for voice, data, Internet and video requirements, as well as for electrical requirements. Work surfaces, computers, printers, storage bins, shelving, AV components and other interior elements can be positioned at will by the occupant. As needs change these offices can easily be reconfigured as conference or special  purpose rooms or moved completely to another location.

Modern full height, movable wall systems provide privacy without isolation. Optional clear or frosted glass panel segments and doors provide ambient lighting and a window to the outside world while minimizing noise transmission. Overall, while increasing the productivity of task intensive knowledge workers, today’s movable systems provide several other measurable benefits to the bottom line:

  • They can be moved or reconfigured overnight at one-third the cost of drywall systems
  • Modern production techniques substantially lower initial purchase costs
  • They qualify for furniture depreciation schedules and lower a company’s real estate taxes because they are not part of the building structure
  • Solid construction, coupled with cable management facilitate moves, adds and changes meaning lower lifetime costs