Posted inOpinion

How furniture is reimagining the workspace in 2024

Stacy Stewart, MEA Regional Director at MillerKnoll shares how innovative furniture solutions are prioritising employee well-being, fostering connection, and creating adaptable environments for optimal performance

How furniture is reimagining the workspace

In today’s ever-changing workplace, the way we use our workspaces is evolving alongside economic, geopolitical, and technological shifts. Furniture is keeping up with these changes too. Gone are the days of being stuck in traditional open-plan layouts—now, furniture is versatile and purposeful, designed to meet our different needs as we navigate the daily challenges of work life.

We believe that ‘work’ is best done when people feel connected, when their well-being is supported, and when organisations are ready to adapt to change as it happens.

Fostering connection

In a world where our workforce is becoming increasingly decentralised, including hybrid work arrangements, remote teams, and client interactions, it is crucial to recognise the innate human need for connections. Building a sense of community and promoting collaboration is essential for generating innovative ideas and enhancing productivity.

Additionally, feeling a sense of belonging is vital for our overall well-being. This is where adaptable furniture solutions play a key role. They facilitate the creation of spaces conducive to meaningful connections, whether through informal conversations, team gatherings, virtual meetings, or private discussions.

The Symbol seating range from British brand NaughtOne, a member of the MillerKnoll collective, does exactly this. It offers myriad opportunities for connection, such as inviting waiting areas, team meetings, or spontaneous ideation. Wrap’s blanket-like textile upholstery establishes deep comfort and offers the perfect backdrop for intimate conversations.

Prioritising well-being

Employee well-being is no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’—it’s a strategic imperative. It’s become clear that healthier teams work better, and that organisations flourish as a result. And this is where innovative furniture solutions prove to be the ultimate support team, naturally championing health.

Ergonomically designed chairs, adjustable desks, movable monitor arms like the Flo X Monitor Arm from Colebrook Bosson Saunders, and sit-to-stand workstations are all examples of innovative solutions in the workspace that support physical well-being. These are crafted specifically to alleviate physical strain and promote proper posture. Sit-to-stand desks also promote regular movement, such as Ratio by Herman Miller.

Well-being, however, isn’t just about physical support; it’s also about creating an environment that actively promotes a sustainable and environmentally friendly space. NaughtOne is known for its sustainable products, recently winning the SEAL Sustainable Product Award. Take the Pippin Chair, for example. It is built with longevity in mind, using natural materials, and can be easily disassembled and repurposed at the end of its life.

Embracing change

Adaptability is a cornerstone of success in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. After all, it’s much easier for humans to respond to changing circumstances—and to take risks—when the environment they work in is fully equipped for that change and ready to support it. This is where innovative furniture solutions are making their mark, shaping the future of work and workplace design by creating naturally versatile settings.

Let’s look first at movable walls and partitions. They facilitate the creation of discreet offices and meeting rooms in moments. The OE1 Agile Wall, part of the highly flexible OE1 Workspace Collection from Herman Miller, is one example. Set on casters or glides, it enables users to swiftly reconfigure spaces to accommodate evolving project needs, team structures, and organisational requirements.

Modular and flexible private offices such as Knoll’s Reff Profiles are also change-ready, made up of a range of components that can be configured to create private and shared office settings that are highly personalised to the needs of the people working there.

Furniture plays a pivotal role

Furniture plays a crucial role in transforming empty spaces into functional work environments. Just as people bring life to empty spaces, furniture that supports the needs of individuals is essential. Today’s innovative furniture solutions are creating workspaces that are visually captivating and promote well-being, connection, and adaptability. Hence, these furniture solutions are instrumental in helping individuals work at their best daily.