Flexibility the Key to Future-proof Office Interior Design

Changing work patterns and new ways of working in a hybrid world place new demands on the office. A work environment that will last over time must be able to evolve in respons to changing needs. These can be small changes that happen every day, but it can also be bigger shifts and transformations that occur with less frequency. Achieving this relies on an interior design solution that has been carefully planned and designed on the basis of the organisation’s way of working and identified needs. The interior needs to be equipped with flexible and multifunctional furniture, whose functions can be used or updated in different ways to support various activities.

Flexibility can feel like a buzzword people use to show how important it is to change with time. “We need to be flexible” – but what does that actually mean? In order to sort out the concept and its meaning, we’ve divided it into three levels: daily, short-term and long-term flexibility.

Daily flexibility

Some things you like to change from day to day, or even several times a day. This may involve adding extra chairs or screens to a meeting space, or moving a chair for collaborative working at a colleague’s desk. Other examples include individual adjustment of the office chairs for the best ergonomics, or changing your working position at a sit-stand desk. Daily flexibility needs to be simple and self-explanatory. Furniture with castors, for instance, are ideal, as they can easily be moved to where you need them at any given time. Daily flexibility is also supported by multifunctional products such as freestanding screens with whiteboards, which not only improve the acoustic environment and screen off an area but also offer writing options. Other examples include storage units that also provide seating or stackable stools that are easy to bring out for presentations.

Short-term flexibility

The needs of an office may change. A work team may need a dedicated project space for a fixed period of time, or (as we saw during the pandemic) desks may need to be screened off in the interests of increased hygiene. This type of short-term flexibility may involve the ability to transform individual workstations into a project space, to move furniture between different areas without spoiling the harmonious overall look, or to combine lounge furniture in different constellations to change the dynamics in a space. By choosing interior design solutions and timeless products that are inherently changeable, you can create a flexibility that makes the interior design adaptable and can support different activities as the need arises.

Long-term flexibility

An interior design solution that is ideal right now may not be exactly what you need in two years’ time, or after a move to new premises. This may involve major adjustments to adapt the spaces to changed working methods or varying number of employees. Here it’s important that changes and additions can be made without having to replace furniture. Long-term flexibility is thus a question of making conscious choices from the beginning, in order to be able to scale the interior design up or down more easily, while retaining a harmonious overall look. Furniture belonging to a family in the same design, as well as modular systems allowing furniture parts to be added or removed to create new constellations, are some solutions that facilitate long-term flexibility. While this may not be obvious to employees in their everyday lives, it’s something that senior managers and purchasers know about. Long-term flexibility and the choice of high-quality furniture in a solution designed to meet identified needs and ways of working provide a futureproof office with a low life cycle cost. This type of solution makes it possible to use the interior design for a long time, which is both economically and environmentally sustainable!

Kinnarps stand at Orgatec Hall 9 Stand A010.

About Kinnarps

Kinnarps is Europe’s leading supplier of total interior solutions and workplace design for offices, schools and care facilities. The furniture is characterised by high quality, innovative design, low environmental impact and long lifecycles. The company has been family-owned since the start in 1942, with manufacturing in Sweden and operations in over 40 countries.


Editorial queries:

Kristina Hjalmarsson
Press contact Kinnarps AB
Industrigatan 14, SE-52188 KINNARP
T: +46 (0) 706 38 52 87
Email: kristina.hjalmarsson@kinnarps.se