Exploring Malleability as a Catalyst for Change

Internationally recognised design publication, Design Milk, explored three key functions of the malleable workplace.

Diverse Workplace Hero / Malleable Workplace

Focus Booths, Aire Table and Palomino Chair

You’ve likely heard it said that change is the only constant in this world. No matter what we’re dealing with – the pandemic, technology, societal trends – there it is. Unpredictable and fast-paced change makes it difficult for architects and designers to determine what will work best for the longest period of time. In the case of workspace design, there is an answer: malleability. Workplace furniture specialist Schiavello explores the importance and value of creating an environment that’s future-focused and versatile from the start.

The continuous disruptions of today’s world have put new and existing business challenges under a magnifying glass. Operations and performance, individual and organizational values and culture, wellness and identity, digital transformation, real estate efficiency and community development. This has led to workplace change at a breakneck speed – one that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Most of us are used to a “fixed”, non-responsive place of work, but it’s no longer a solution that works.

Any level of malleability can help create a sense of place, accommodate various work rhythms and give people easy access to what they need and the technology that supports them. Here, we touch on the three key aspects of the malleable office, simply scraping the surface of the latest evolution of the transformative workplace.

Three Floorplans / Malleable Workplace

The Highly Malleable Team Zone

Malleability Throughout the Office: Offer a Variety of Work Environments

Hybrid working environments are here to stay, so it’s time to give employees the ability to seamlessly work across multiple locations inside and outside the office. Offering a variety of individual and team workspaces provides necessary support and flexibility. If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ll recognize the daily need for quiet concentration, private meetings, phone calls, collaboration and casual conversation. It’s empowering to have access to this level of fluidity, and will help keep the office working at its best – in terms of both productivity and well-being.

Schiavello’s aptly named Focus Booth and range of Focus Quiet Rooms were designed to offer concentration in open plan working, each offering different levels of audio and visual privacy. In contrast, the Toku Collection, which means ‘talk’ in Japanese, invites conversation and coming together through a range of benches, ottomans and tables. Somewhere in the middle, the Kayt Collection of powered lounges and sofas, provides comfort for away from desk casual work styles.

Toku Workstyles / Malleable Workplace

Toku Bench, Ottoman, Table and Screen

Malleability with Those Outside the Office: Physical and Digital Connection

While it’s ideal to create inviting spaces for people and teams to come together, the reality is that not everyone is always going to be in the same place at the same time. The unification of the physical and digital worlds is paramount to the future workplace. Purposefully designed spaces with connectivity in mind is the leading way to enable high-tech integration, while portable power allows for fluidity and digital connection. People moving between not just zones but entire locations day to day calls for unique management, and this too must be considered.

The fully powered and ventilated Focus Quiet Room Collection offers specialized lighting and acoustics for video conferencing. Entirely portable furniture, like OTM laptop tables and Charge Tower enable digital connection from anywhere. To manage the integration of these two worlds, Schiavello offers a unified working platform, Nura Space. The IoT software system gives users flexibility of place and time to remotely book desks and team work zones.

Storming Table / Malleable Workplace

Storming Table

Malleability into the Future: Easily Transform Furniture + Floor Plans

The concept of fluidity and flexibility is most powerful when considering how the furniture itself can be reshaped. Team zones should be created to be reconfigured for independent or collaborative activities with minimal time or effort, while entire floor plans can be adapted to accommodate activities such as collaboration, training, workshops and presentations. The pinnacle of malleable environments is when every element adjusts to you.

That’s why Schiavello’s furniture is lightweight, portable and reconfigurable – ready to quickly and easily adapt to multiple day-to-day needs. Portable items, such as the Henge Whiteboard, Aire Fold Table or Aire Media Stand, easily glide around on wheels or can be repositioned by team members into whatever configuration suits. The Climate System of desks can be reconfigured or expanded on a whim.

More Desks Floorplan / Malleable Workplace

Temporary Transformations

Portable items and Climate channels can be stored and then unpacked to recreate a workspace from one configuration – i.e. group training – to individual work stations.

As leaders in workplace furniture solutions, Schiavello urges designers, architects and businesses to discover how malleability supports not only the efficiency, performance and well-being of your teams now, but the longevity and reusability of the workplace furniture. The hidden value of malleability lies within the environmental sustainability value: multi-purpose adaptability for every item significantly reduces the risk of obsolescence.

Workplace design directly influences the culture and values communicated to teams – intrinsic to a positive and productive working environment. Schiavello understands the value and benefits of this approach, and knows it’s crucial to maintaining good business, no matter what changes. So much so that it informs continual innovation of Schiavello’s furniture and technology solutions. This is only the beginning.