When considering the process involved in designing a workspace, at Studio Eagle we find Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment to be key. From considering budget, to understanding employee retention, to meeting the various needs of the employees, there’s more to space planning than meets the eye.
We sat down with part of our team – Aneta Stepien and Jay Glenn our Furniture Specialists to understand further the role of FF&E in the design of our spaces.
STUDIO EAGLE: ARE THERE ANY CHALLENGES YOU FACE WHEN TRYING TO INCORPORATE FURNITURE INTO A WORKSPACE? IF SO, WHAT ARE THEY?
Aneta: Budget is what first comes to my mind. It provides a challenge in the extent of the design. The other main guiding factors are the size of the space, and the timeline we have to meet. As furniture specialists we might have a particular vision for the space, but when working with various client requirements, we may have to alter our original concept. Some of our clients prefer to be more involved in making the design decisions, whereas others would rather rely on our recommendations. Understanding how to satisfy our diverse clientele is an important part of our job.
Recently, we’ve noticed a change with newer generations. There’s a shift towards working flexible hours, and as a result many clients are requiring additional amenities to be included in space designs to accommodate the needs of their employees.
Jay: We have to understand the different needs of the employees. For example, there’s a vast difference in the requirements of a tech business versus a law firm. Fitting furniture is specific to each company. Our goal is to make sure our client has everything they need in their space to be successful.
Extensive communication with our clients helps us understand what image they want to portray in their workplace, as well as the extent at which they are looking to maximize employee retention. We work closely to determine what is most important to our clients; whether it be the appearance or the functionality of the space.
What we see is this continuous shift towards a smaller footprint. Our industry is creating new, innovative furniture designs that assist in making better use of space. Moveable dividers provide a way of visually telling your colleagues you’re in task mode, and the need for filing and storage has been significantly reduced. With the evolution of unassigned seating, there’s more provision for open collaboration areas.
STUDIO EAGLE: What role does adjustable office furniture play in workplace wellness?
Jay: A very significant role. Ten years ago, the thought process was simply to understand how adjustable a desk chair could be. The chair had to fit you perfectly and keep you in the correct posture. Today, the scene has changed and we are moving towards more height adjustable workstations. Workplace wellness encourages employees to get on their feet even if for ten minutes out of the hour. We help our clients by designing comfortable focus areas, and an opportunity for their employees to have a change of scenery. It’s about getting you out of your realm.
Aneta: When you move, your energy level increases. When we sit for too long in the same position, we tend to get tense. With adjustable desks, people have an option to stand and reposition. As an alternative solution in considering budget restrictions, clients will opt instead to have spaces with higher tables for their employees to work.
STUDIO EAGLE: How does furniture, fixtures, and equipment assist with space planning?
Aneta: We have seen this demand of using different types of furniture to create different spaces. For example, clients will inquire if they can reduce costs by using furniture instead of millwork to divide their space. Our team has challenged the traditional and found new ways to create private areas using writing, or glass boards and felt panels.
When presenting these new innovative ideas, images from vendors, and renderings are so important. The client has to be able to envision the new space in order to embrace the idea.
Jay: Ultimately Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment are assisting with cost saving in construction. We no longer need to be locked into a solution, we can use furniture to create collaborative meeting areas, or white noise to allow for less walls. Collaborative areas also have the option to be relocated when considering an onboarding process. It all comes back to what our client is most comfortable with. In using our industry expertise, we are able to help each client make a more informed decision.