Modular Walls: A Workspace Solution For Changing Construction Trends and Workforce Needs.

Office occupancy nationwide is at nearly 50% each week on average according to Kastle Systems, a leader in office keycard entry services. That figure represents a steady increase from a year ago, as more employees return to the office at least some of the time. But the return to in-person work doesn’t mean the same pre-pandemic office structure is ideal for these employees. Many have become accustomed to some aspects of remote work, and they prioritize different things from their office space than they did years ago.

According to a recent survey conducted by Fellowes Brands, employees prefer private spaces in the office over collaborative spaces: more than half (58%) of office workers surveyed said that private space was very important for them to do their best work, while only 32% said the same was true for collaborative spaces.

This data is a departure from the era of open concept offices that many businesses continue to use today, and is likely in part influenced by the era of remote work. Employees were given autonomy over their workspaces while working from home during the pandemic, and they have come to prioritize privacy and a level of control over their workspace.

With on-premises work back in the mix, businesses should align themselves with the changing priorities of their workforce to ensure that employees can perform their best work while in the office. Physical changes to the office must go beyond aesthetics to focus on the productivity and satisfaction of employees and the ability to adapt to their evolving needs.

The good news for businesses is that updating an office space does not require large-scale renovations or investing in new construction.

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturing Association’s (BIFMA) “S&P Global Industry Outlook” reported that commercial construction is expected to drop by 15% in 2023. Design work on existing structures is also at a record high of 52%, signaling that businesses are increasingly opting to adapt their current spaces instead of investing in new construction. Additionally, lease terms have increased over the last 12 months, growing to 9.1 years on average, according to JLL’s “Office Outlook Q3 2022”—keeping more businesses locked into their current office spaces for the long haul.

With these trends in mind, businesses should look to adapt their current office space to ensure it provides a functional workplace that helps employees do their best work, while remaining cost-effective and adaptable to changes in future workplace trends. Modular walls are an excellent solution for businesses to upgrade existing office space to meet the changing needs of the American workforce, without the need for major renovations or new construction.

With on-premises work back in the mix, businesses should align themselves with the changing priorities of their workforce to ensure that employees can perform their best work while in the office. Physical changes to the office must go beyond aesthetics to focus on the productivity and satisfaction of employees and the ability to adapt to their evolving needs.

Why modular walls?

Modular walls offer a variety of benefits without the high cost and long lead time of renovations or new construction. Modular walls can:

  • Quickly create private work areas to address the new priorities for employees. With quick installation, modular walls can transform open office space into more private offices or quiet rooms that employees prefer.
  • Make versatile spaces that are more useful to the hybrid workforce. As more businesses adopt a hybrid work model, modular walls can be used to restructure existing space to meet the specific needs of your team. They can be used to create coworking spaces, smaller meeting rooms for reduced numbers, or quiet areas where an employee without an office can take time to do focused individual work.
  • Easily update and modernize existing workspaces to avoid high cost of constructing new buildings or large scale renovation. Modular walls make impactful upgrades to an office while minimizing installation time, with no large-scale renovation needed. The time savings of modular 3 wall installation over constructing new walls or a completely new office space are significant, which can be critical to keeping your business running smoothly as you redesign.
  • Install with less labor and construction waste than building permanent walls. Without the need to hire a large construction crew that will spend days or weeks building permanent walls and offices, modular walls save a significant amount of labor costs, disruptions and downtime for your business. Plus, the simple installation significantly reduces traditional construction waste, making modular walls a much more sustainable option.
  • Flexibly change over time with the size and needs of your workforce. Businesses can remove and relocate modular walls without demolition and with minimal impact on floors and ceilings. And it’s easy to change the clear glass walls of a meeting room to the solid walls of a private office, add new offices as your workforce expands, and even install new walls with different colors or finishes to reflect changes in your company’s branding.

The pandemic made it clear that workplace trends can change significantly, and in ways we can’t always predict. Modular walls are an excellent way to effectively upgrade your office space and meet the needs of your employees as they change, without the high cost or permanence of renovation or new construction. To learn more about the modular wall solutions available and the benefits they can provide your office space, visit Fellowes Brands.

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