If you have fitted out a new office any time in the last, say, 60 years, chances are you’ll have had a pretty reliable shopping list to work from. Desks and chairs. Storage units and desk caddies. Computer monitors – and perhaps even some executive toys if times are good.
The layouts, the styles and the design of the materials might have changed over time, but the dominant ideas around how the office needs to work have not. Ever since the 50s, when the office became the workplace of the masses, the ‘9 to 5’ ethos inherited from the industrial revolution has stuck – as has the idea that an office worker will remain in the same place all day.
But times are changing. Offices across the world, in almost every industry are switching to new ways of working – ways that will seriously impact the traditional ‘must haves’ when fitting out a new workplace.
Not everything will go. Desk and chair manufacturers can sleep well, safe in the knowledge that there will always be a need for a place to sit and ping off emails or crunch the numbers. But the other items on the list – the monitors and storage facilities – might be in more danger.
Why? Because the new working trends are far more mobile than ever before. Hybrid working, Activity Based Working and other flexible models have taken off in recent years, meaning that employees are far less likely to spend all their time at their desk. The upshot is that tools such as under desk storage units, which are built for a more fixed desk workplace strategy, might well become a thing of the past.
From the employers’ perspective, it makes sense not to outlay significant sums on furniture that won’t be used for much of the working week. By getting rid of the permanent desk culture and all the clutter this comes with, companies can free up a serious amount of space; it is estimated that most companies can reduce their real estate footprint by around 30% with hybrid working models.
This switch does pose a couple of questions: where can employees store their belongings when not in the office? And how can they create a feeling of ownership over a space, when they have no fixed place to work?
Both these questions were in the forefront of our minds when we designed Gustav. Having worked in the field of workplace strategy for several years, we saw the trend towards a more mobile way of working, and wanted to create something that would facilitate this in the most effective way. We created Gustav to be the perfect companion for the modern, flexible worker. Not only is it a practical, portable container that makes it easy to pack up and move location with your essential items, but it fits perfectly into a standard locker, making it easy to store items overnight. Open it up and it becomes an ergonomically designed laptop stand, making it just as easy to work from a kitchen table or café as from a hot desk in the office.
No fixed desk? No problem. With Gustav your office comes with you.
What’s more, for those that miss the ability to personalise an office space, Gustav’s minimalist design means it can easily be customised with pictures or notes, enabling flexible workers to feel at home wherever they set up their office.
There can be no doubt that the way we work is changing. Even if your office has a fixed desk policy now, chances are that in the next 5 – 10 years flexible working will increase to some degree. Buying tools based on the old way of doing things could well turn out to be a wasted expense. It might just be time to rewrite that shopping list.