How to Repurpose Dead Space in Public / Office Areas
In the world of interior design, there's an issue that often goes unnoticed – the presence of dead space. Although these underutilised nooks and crannies might seem inconspicuous, they hold untapped potential, but perhaps more of an incentive to repurpose them is the impact of not doing so.
Every square foot of commercial space matters — those that go unused still cost money, and neither businesses nor their employees get anything in return!
Recognising the significance of these spaces is the first step to finding uses for them, and that’s precisely what we’ll be helping you with in this article. Read on to learn how to repurpose these overlooked areas.
The Toll of Dead Space: Is It a Problem?
Next to employee salaries, real estate is the most significant business expense, meaning the importance of efficient use of space in commercial areas cannot be overstated.
Research published by Abintra in the fourth quarter of 2018 revealed that businesses across Wales and England were collectively squandering an astonishing £10 billion annually on unused office space.
In London alone, businesses were found to be letting a staggering £4 billion slip through the cracks each year due to the presence of dead space, a stark reminder that underutilised commercial zones are a BIG problem.
In the wake of the global pandemic and the rise of remote and hybrid working, this issue is becoming more costly, making it crucial that businesses address dead space sooner rather than later.
How to Make the Most of Dead Space
Meeting pods are a highly versatile and effective solution to dead space. These compact, self-contained structures offer a myriad of benefits that breathe new life into underutilised areas.
Take the Hush Hybrid, for instance. Measuring only 223 (H) x 90 (D) x 124.4 (L), it can fit into the smallest of spaces, which would otherwise seem unusable. Thanks to a VESA mount and a power module, it can serve as a standalone video conferencing unit, connecting your team to colleagues wherever they are working.
The pod enclosure is made using sound dampening materials so meetings stay private and exterior noise doesn’t cause disruption, and ergonomic furnishings and efficient ventilation ensure your people can attend lengthy conferences in comfort. This, in turn, leads to enhanced focus, clearer communication, greater overall productivity and enhanced profitability.
Meeting pods can serve as hubs for mind-mapping sessions, private discussions, or focused work — and can contribute to improved employee morale and creativity.
They can also be quite expansive, like the Senator Cell Pod, or optimised to withstand the elements, much like The Meeting Pod Company’s enclosed outdoor design, making them a viable solution to underutilised exterior space too.
Modular furniture is designed to maximise functionality and make the most of every available inch, offering a host of advantages for businesses seeking to repurpose neglected corners of work or customer space.
Whether it's a cosy nook or an awkwardly shaped alcove, bespoke modular furniture can transform them into functional, purposeful areas.
This adaptability not only enhances space efficiency but also allows businesses to evolve with changing needs and trends — in a fast-paced business world, the ability to reorganise space quickly is invaluable.
There are excellent products on the market that can be used to create well-defined zones within an open-plan office.
By strategically placing dividers, such as Morph Partitions, in dead spaces or unused corners, businesses can introduce new workstations, private offices, or collaboration zones. This flexibility allows for a more efficient allocation of space, catering to the evolving needs of employees and work processes.
Zoning furniture can contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the workspace too. Tailored to match the existing design, it can create a cohesive and visually appealing environment. Alternatively, bold designs like the award-winning Cone can serve as stylish statement pieces.
Dividers offer a cost-effective means of repurposing dead space quickly without any drawn-out and disruptive renovations. This not only reduces expenses but also minimises downtime during the transformation process, ensuring that your workspace remains productive.
Innovative designs like Movisi’s LINK can be shaped to form rounded borders, allowing even more flexibility in awkward spaces.
Some more traditionally shaped options, like the double-sided Hush Wall, include storage compartments and television or whiteboard mounts, bringing additional functionality to otherwise dead spaces.
Others are designed to tackle specific challenges associated with dividing open spaces. Fabricks blocks, for instance, are specialised acoustic baffles that not only bring a new style to the office but dampen sound travel, creating quiet workspaces.
Taking modularity to a whole new level, Morph Midi Walls are easy to assemble, fully recyclable and can be reimagined to suit the needs of multipurpose spaces. One moment Morph Midi blocks can take the form of typical zoning wall, and the next, they can be serving as stools or even table bases.
See how quickly and easily a Morph Midi Wall can be disassembled in the clip below:
Side Note: Find more videos like this on the Morph Bricks YouTube channel.
Uses for Dead Spaces
Repurposing dead zones as dedicated meeting spaces can improve working environments in several ways:
- Enhance collaboration: Well-designed meeting spaces can significantly enhance collaboration among employees. These areas offer a space where team members can gather for discussions or project meetings. The seclusion and focus that meeting spaces provide allows for more productive and meaningful interactions, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose. Even in open-plan spaces, larger meeting pods - such as the Hush Meet L - or modular partition sets like Morph Rooms can be utilised to establish quiet, contained spaces for teams to put their heads together and focus on the task at hand.
- Boosting creativity: The change in scenery from traditional workstations or cubicles to a specialised environment can stimulate fresh ideas and innovative thinking.
- Employee satisfaction: A well-designed meeting space can contribute to improved employee satisfaction. Providing dedicated areas for collaboration and discussions demonstrates that you value your team's needs and recognise the importance of their work environment. This, in turn, can lead to a more content and engaged workforce.
The creation of meeting areas geared for quiet working isn’t just a fantastic option for making use of dead space; it can lead to:
- Improved productivity: The availability of quiet working spaces can significantly enhance employee productivity. These areas cater to tasks that demand deep concentration, such as data analysis, writing or complex problem-solving.
- Flexible workspace: Dead space repurposed into quiet working areas also adds a layer of flexibility to your workspace. Employees can choose the environment that suits their task or working style.
The creation of wellbeing areas can greatly enhance your employees’ job satisfaction and quality of life, all while improving staff retention and reducing the fees associated with hiring and training new workers.
Specific benefits of transforming dead space into wellbeing areas are as follows:
- Stress reduction: These spaces offer a retreat from the demands and pressures of the job, allowing employees to momentarily disconnect and unwind. Stress reduction is a crucial element of overall wellbeing and job satisfaction.
- Mental clarity: Wellbeing areas also promote mental clarity and improved focus. They provide an ideal setting for meditation, mindfulness, or simply a moment of quiet contemplation. Employees can return to their tasks with a clearer mind and a refreshed perspective.
- Physical health: Creating wellbeing areas within dead spaces can also encourage physical activity and better health. These areas can incorporate exercise equipment, yoga mats or space for stretching and relaxation. Promoting physical wellbeing contributes to overall health, which can result in reduced absenteeism and increased productivity.
- Community and connection: Wellbeing spaces can serve as hubs for socialisation and group activities, allowing employees to bond and strengthen their relationships, which contributes to a positive work environment.
- Employee retention: The availability of wellbeing areas demonstrates a commitment to employee health and happiness, which can help to improve retention rates and attract new talent.
Note that effective wellbeing spaces require a two-pronged approach. It’s not just essential to cultivate a relaxing atmosphere but also to provide adequate furniture, such as the comfort-oriented Zinta Lounge Seating System, to facilitate physical relaxation.
Businesses across the UK waste billions on unused office space annually. Repurposing these areas into well-designed meeting areas, quiet working spaces, or wellbeing zones can unlock a wealth of benefits, putting what’s already paid for to good use.
At Working Environments Furniture, we specialise in helping you transform dead space into vibrant, purposeful areas. Contact us today for tailored solutions that maximise the functionality and aesthetics of your office and public spaces.