Future Proofing Space

by Stephen Close

Modular Systems Bring On Multiple Personalities—and Help Future Proof Office Space

The workplace revolution is real and gaining speed. As companies seek to attract and retain top talent, they’re taking cues from technology and millennials—a dynamic duo if there ever was one—to create innovative workplaces that encourage employee satisfaction and support productivity. Even more important, companies are taking steps to future proof these environments, so they can quickly respond and adapt to whatever the industry, market or corporate culture demands.

One example of future proofing is the trend towards modular office space design. Movable and with interchangeable parts, modular systems such as walls, flooring, and furnishings are attractive to tenants and landlords alike, as they provide quick, cost-efficient ways to modernize older spaces, upgrade newer ones, and increase flexibility. They let you modify facilities without costly teardowns or time-consuming construction to support creativity, mobility and teamwork. All this makes for a positive, multi-use work environment—the perfect magnet for today’s up-and-coming workforce.

Cubicles and corner offices are no longer the lay of the land. Today’s workspaces are shrinking, eschew hierarchy and seniority, and encourage collaboration. As computers have gone smaller and lighter, documents have gone digital, and workers have gone offsite, individual workspaces are decreasing—from an average 300 square feet in 2001 to perhaps as low as 100 square feet in the next few years. They’re also giving way to mixed-use spaces that encourage workers to bump into one another, sit down spontaneously and go with the creative flow, or grab some privacy for focus work.

Modular office design gives you the flexibility to create the type of space you need when you need it. Moveable walls that are pre-fabricated, pre-finished and pre-wired let you reduce or maximize square footage depending on the layout, workspaces and features required. High-quality, “no rules” components from makers like Steelcase and Teknion include panel and desking systems, tables, and casegoods that can be mixed, stacked and combined—seamlessly—in infinite variations to create a dynamic work environment. Coupled with wireless technology and plug-and-play equipment, modular systems give you the ability to have a highly functional, efficient space that can be a multi-partitioned office one day and an open work area the next. And it’s all possible with minimal cost, time and environmental impact.

As the workplace continues to evolve, forward-thinking companies are taking control by doing all they can to be ahead of the curve. With versatile and innovative modular systems, companies can respond quickly to ever-changing needs, make the most of office space AND engage the best workers—today and in the future.


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Stephen Close is a senior vice president for KBS Realty Advisors and its affiliate KBS Capital Advisors, Mr. Close oversees and directs the origination, underwriting, financing and closing activities of acquisitions, dispositions and joint venture arrangements in the Mid-Atlantic United States. He also oversees over 3.2 million square feet of KBS’ portfolio in the Mid-Atlantic United States.