Designing Flexibility into Your Office Layout with Moveable Glass Walls
March 9, 2021
Flexibility, and the ability to quickly respond to changing needs, has always been important for businesses. In the tech age, an agile approach has become even more critical. Yet even as leaders acknowledge this, often their office layouts remain fundamentally rigid and otherwise forward-thinking businesses ignore the very rooms where their workers invest a third (or more) of their lives.
From cubicles to corner offices, people get used to these suffocating spaces, only pausing to think about what they’re missing when they step outside. We’ll look at why and how you can design your office to encourage productivity and promote well-being. Learn how moveable glass walls, whether sliding or folding, can be a source of comfort for employees and a critical source of revenue for employers.
(Re)Moving the Walls
Traditionally, a major component of office configurations is their priority to enforce hierarchy. Yet this structure often prevents people from talking to one another. Tech teams create programs they’ll never use, the sales department misinterprets the marketers, and leaders make decisions for customers or clients they’ve never even spoken to. Moveable glass walls can go a long way toward opening communication between teams to help eliminate these silos, with the added benefit that the space can also be enclosed when needed.
Panda’s movable glass walls are built into place with glass panels that can easily be slid or folded out of the way as needed. These glass walls work well as interior divider, and can also be a way to bridge the gap between the indoors and outdoors. From the first floor to the 50th, there’s a lot of value in being able to see what lies beyond the front doors. In fact, the concept of connecting interior spaces to nature, known as biophilic design, has been known to reduce stress and improve productivity. Moveable glass walls also deliver the added benefit of being able to open to improve ventilation and indoor air quality – or even to provide employees access to outdoor spaces such as patios.
The Coveted Third Space
The term ‘third space’ was coined in the 1980s, but it’s gained more traction in recent years. For offices, it’s not just another meeting room, but a public space where anyone can come to work, create, or hash out their differences.
There are plenty of ways to make this space work without much effort. Couches, whiteboards, tables: there’s nothing particularly ostentatious about this space. Installing moveable glass walls can be a way to validate the area in the minds of the workers though.
This gives those working alone the best kind of privacy: they can still see what’s going on outside so they don’t feel isolated, but they don’t have to worry about excess noise or intrusions when they’re trying to concentrate. It can also be an inviting place where people can meet and connect.
Sometimes leaders find that when they remove certain physical barriers, the internal walls come down too. These effects are subtle and sometimes elusive, but the elements are usually the same. When your employees are free to be themselves, they’re more confident when it comes to their ideas and their work.
A New Culture
The point of the third space is to eschew labels in the name of a more collaborative culture. When employees have choice, they’re often perceived as innovative. Employees have better things to say about the business not only to one another, but to their family, friends, and customers. It’s the best kind of word-of-mouth — one that isn’t bolstered by marketing jargon. Instead of saying that your employees are highly valued, you show them that they’re highly valued by giving them room to breathe.
As an added bonus, furniture has grown far more adaptable for offices today. Desks and tables can be set up with ease and then taken down to make room for new initiatives. For instance, you might move a team into a third space for a week or two for a big project, bringing in extra furniture to accommodate everyone. Moveable glass walls make it possible to expand the space if need be, or partition the team off from the rest of the office for a while.
Design Flexibility with Panda Windows & Doors
Let’s face it: it’s rare when a company isn’t trying to save on overhead costs. Moveable glass walls are essentially an investment in the comfort on your team, one that should pay off in less turnover, higher employee satisfaction, and better collaborations.
Moveable glass walls can be a literal window into a new way of working. Moveable glass walls can be used to enclose and separate employees in all areas of the building, including conference, training rooms, and open offices. Conversely doors can be opened to increase square footage and total airflow.
A flexible office layout starts with assessing what you already have. If you have some open space, Horizontal Sliding Walls make it possible to divide the room without detracting from the open layout. These walls come with a frameless panel option, creating an enclosure that doesn’t obstruct the view. Panels stack perfectly together, clearing the way for anyone who wants to drop by. So if you wanted to ‘hide’ the walls just around the corner, there are customized solutions that make this possible.
Or our Panda Select series offers modestly priced versions of our popular door systems. Cost-effective and convenient, Panda Select Lift-and-Slide systems can defend against nasty weather and vandalism alike. Panda Select Multi-Slide options make it possible to change up configurations on any day of the week. Or install Panda Select French Doors to add some dimension to the office.
When you open up a room and reimagine its purpose, it can serve as a reprieve from pressure when employees need it the most. Panda can help you find a fit that will fit everyone’s needs.
To help make the commercial glass door selection process easier, we’ve covered several applications and door styles in this helpful guide, Expansive Opening Considerations for Commercial Spaces. Or if you’d like to speak to someone about your plans, you can find your account rep here.
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